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How to watch the 2022 Winter Olympics opening ceremony — date, time and channel

Torchbearers transfer the Olympic flame from a lantern to a torch during the Welcome Ceremony for the Flame of Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022
(Image credit: VCG / Getty)

We're a day away from being able to watch the 2022 Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics opening ceremony live online. While many Olympic events grade on style, the official start of the event is always your destination for the glamorous moments. 

2022 Winter Olympics opening ceremony date and time

• Opening Ceremony date: Friday (Feb. 4)
• Opening Ceremony time: 6:30 a.m. ET / 3:30 a.m. PT / 11:30 a.m. GMT
• Rebroadcast time: 8 p.m. ET (on NBC, Peacock)
Free streams: BBC iPlayer, Peacock, 7Plus
Watch anywhere: Try ExpressVPN risk-free
US: NBC via Peacock, Sling and Fubo
UK: Discovery+, BBC iPlayer

The 2022 Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony will require a strong cup of caffeine, as the games are being held in Beijing with a local start time of 7:30 p.m.. The east coast only has to wake up by 6:30 a.m., while those out west may just decide to watch the rebroadcast, as that's 3:30 a.m. PT. 

The Beijing Olympics will feature a cauldron lighting that will be "unprecedented in the over 100-year history of the Olympic Games," or so said chief director Zhang Yimou in an interview with Xinhua (via China Daily). He also directed the 2008 Beijing Games opening and closing ceremonies. After that, we've got our eyes on the Winter Olympics 2022 figure skating and the Olympic ice hockey too, and a full schedule is available.

But unlike 2008's event, this year's games are being held under the now-familiar restrictions needed to continue to fight the Covid-19 pandemic. Foreign fans will not be allowed in the venue, and local spectators will be at a minimum.

Check out our complete guide on watching the Opening Ceremony for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. Plus, the specter of diplomatic boycotts and potential athlete protests will be present due to China's human rights abuses. 

For more sports, here's what you need to watch the Tom Brady documentary series Man in the Arena online.

How to watch the Opening Ceremony for free

Gold, silver and bronze medals in front of the Olympics rings logo

(Image credit: kovop58/Shutterstock)

It's not hard to watch the Opening Ceremony for free, as you don't need to pay to root for your nation's athletes take the big stage.  Australia has the best way to watch the Olympics without paying, as 7Plus has most of the events (up to 16 live streams!) without paying. Australians who are vacationing abroad can use a VPN, such ExpressVPN (our #1 pick) to evade the geo-blocking walls that would stop them from watching abroad. More on how to do that below.

In the U.S., you can watch some Winter Olympics coverage for free on NBC if you get the local channel with one of the best TV antennas

For those in the U.K., BBC iPlayer is the way to watch the Olympics for free, it will have up to two live events at the same time. Canada's CBC and New Zealand's TVNZ also offer free Olympics coverage.

How to watch the Opening Ceremony from anywhere in the world

The Olympics is a global event and can be viewed in almost every country on Earth. However, if you're not in your home country and can't watch the Opening Ceremony live stream with your usual services — or you want to watch in your native language — you're not out of luck. With a virtual private network, or VPN, you can appear to be surfing the web from your home town (or somewhere that blackouts won't hit), and access the same streaming services you already paid for. 

Not sure which VPN is right for you? We've tested many different services and our pick for the best VPN overall is ExpressVPN. It offers superb speeds and excellent customer service. But you've got other VPN options as well. Here are our top picks.

ExpressVPN

We think speed, security and simplicity make ExpressVPN second to none. During our tests, we saw fast connection times, and we're impressed by the service's ability to access more than 3,000 services spread out across 160 locations in 94 countries. Its 30-day money-back guarantee is another perk.

Using a VPN is incredibly simple.

1. Install the VPN of your choice. As we've said, ExpressVPN is our favorite.

2. Choose the location you wish to connect to in the VPN app. For instance if you're in the U.S. and want to view a U.K. service, you'd select U.K. from the list.

3. Sit back and enjoy the action. Head to your website or streaming service of choice and tune in.

How to watch the Opening Ceremony in the US

US flag

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

In the U.S. the Olympics Opening Ceremony is airing on NBC, as well as the NBC Sports app (login usually required).

If you've cut the cord and don't get NBC, USA and CNBC through your cable package, you can access those channels through Sling TV and Fubo TV, two of the picks on our best streaming services list. 

Sling TV

Sling TV: You can get NBCSN and NBC in the Sling Blue package, which is $35/month. The 30-plus channels in the lineup include AMC, CNN, Food Network, AMC, Comedy Central, HGTV and many more. Right now, Sling is offering a three-day free trial.

Fubo.TV

Fubo.TV: The Starter Plan ($65/month) comes with over 115 channels include local networks like NBC, as well as NBCSN. And you get 250 hours of Cloud DVR. Get the 7-day free trial so you can see everything Fubo has to offer.

Is the 2022 Opening Ceremony streaming on Peacock?

The answer is yes! The Beijing Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony will be streaming live on Peacock at 6:30 a.m. ET / 3:30 a.m. PT on Friday (Feb. 4). It will rebroadcast on Peacock at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT.

And if you were disappointed with Peacock's coverage of the 2021 Tokyo Summer Olympics, there's good news. Peacock will stream every minute of every live event that airs on broadcast and cable TV.

While Peacock has a free tier, Olympics coverage will only be available with Peacock Premium, which costs $4.99 per month or the ad-supported plan or $9.99 for the ad-limited plan.

Peacock

Peacock boasts a great library, including the entirety of The Office. It's also home to a ton of sports beyond the Olympics, like WWE wrestling, the Premier League, golf and rugby. Peacock Free costs nothing, while the Premium tiers offer access to originals and more movies.

How to watch the Opening Ceremony in the UK

UK flag

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Brits have probably the easiest time watching 2022 Opening Ceremony — they can just tune into BBC One or watch on BBC iPlayer at 11:30 a.m. GMT. It will be rebroadcast on Red Button One at 9:30 p.m. GMT.

However, BBC doesn't have a monopoly on Olympics coverage in the U.K. and it won't broadcast all events.

To watch every event live, you'll instead want to subscribe to Discovery Plus UK, which is offering coverage of every event in Beijing. Subscriptions are available for £6.99/month or £29.99/year. The service is available to stream through a multitude of devices include Chromecast, Apple TV, Android TV and apps for iOS and Android.

If you're traveling outside of the U.K. and have a valid U.K. TV license, you can still follow the Winter Olympics by using one of the best VPN services, such as ExpressVPN

How to watch the Opening Ceremony in Canada

Canada flag

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Canadians can get stream the Opening Ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympics on CBC, the CBC website and the CBC app.

You can also sign up for the streaming service CBC Gem, which has a 1-month free trial. After that, a subscription costs $4.99 CAD per month.

If you're traveling out of the country, you can use ExpressVPN to access your paid-for services.

How to watch the Opening Ceremony in Australia

Tokyo Olympics live stream - Australia

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Down Under, Aussies can watch the Tokyo Olympics Opening Ceremony for free on or stream it on the network’s 7Plus streaming service. It begins at 10:30 p.m. AEDT.

Currently out of the country? Use ExpressVPN to access your paid-for services.

Can you watch the Opening Ceremony in 4K?

NBC is broadcasting select Winter Olympics events in 4K UHD, but it's unclear if the Opening Ceremony is one of them. We will update this story if and when we learn more. 

While Peacock does not stream in 4K, some 2022 Winter Olympics will be in 4K on YouTube TV

YouTube TV is one of the best cable TV alternatives for cord cutters. You'll need the 4K Plus add-on to access ultra high-def coverage. 

Currently, YouTube TV is the only live TV service that has announced that it's streaming the Winter Olympic Games in 4K. That could change; during the Tokyo Summer Olympics, fuboTV streamed 4K content.

Henry T. Casey
Henry T. Casey

Henry is a senior editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.