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NBCUniversal’s Peacock will let you watch four live streams at once for 2024 Paris Olympics

Today, during NBCUniversal’s annual technology conference, One24, the company revealed a slew of features coming to its streaming service Peacock ahead of the 2024 Paris Olympics in July.

The most notable feature to launch on Peacock is multiview, which allows subscribers to view up to four simultaneous matches at once. Next to picture-in-picture mode, many sports fans agree that multiview has been one of the greatest advancements to sports streaming tech in years, since it offers a more convenient way to follow multiple games simultaneously instead of constantly switching streams.

The company also announced a new interactive “Live Actions” button to let fans choose which events they want to follow, a new way to search for specific athletes, and other features designed to help subscribers navigate over 5,000 hours of live coverage for the upcoming Summer Olympics.

Some subscribers have complained about the way Peacock has broadcast the Olympics in the past, so it’s critical that the streamer provides an adequate viewing experience this year. For instance, during the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, Peacock made a questionable choice of revealing some of the winners in the Highlights rail. This will be the first time the service has done a ful live stream of all Summer Olympic events, so we bet Peacock is feeling the pressure ot get it right.

Peacock reported 31 million subscribers as of the fourth quarter of 2023.

Image Credits: Peacock

Two multiview options

Although YouTube TV and Apple both offer multiview features, Peacock told TechCrunch during a briefing on Tuesday that it’s the first standalone streaming service to offer web support for multiview. Google-owned YouTube TV rolled out a multiview feature last year that’s only available on smart TVs. In May 2023, Apple began offering multiview on the Apple TV 4K for select sports content, such as Major League Soccer and Major League Baseball streams.

Peacock also hopes to stand out amongst its competitors by offering two multiview options: “Discovery Multiview,” which gives fans a four-screen overview of the live events currently happening, and a more traditional multiview experience where viewers can choose which four matches they want to watch (this second option is only available for Olympic sports with multiple simultaneous streams, such as soccer, wrestling and track & field.) Both options are customizable, meaning viewers can move around the screens and seamlessly switch between audio feeds.

Since up to 40 Olympic events will be happening simultaneously, the unique offering helps viewers determine which four events are the most important. Plus, the feature will showcase tags and descriptions for each match to inform fans which ones have a first-time Olympian or defending champion or if there’s an elimination risk.

“With up to 40 events happening at the same time, we want to avoid users having decision paralysis… [Peacock Discovery Multiview is] the perfect option for fans who want to lean back and let Peacock be their guide to the best of the Olympic Games,” Jelley adds.

Peacock’s multiview feature is not only available on the web, but also on smart TVs, streaming devices, and tablets. However, the company explained to us that it isn’t rolling out multiview to mobile devices because the smaller screen size makes it difficult to navigate between events.

“It ultimately comes down to the screen size, and we’ve found that multiview on mobile doesn’t deliver the best viewing experience,” Peacock SVP of Product John Jelley tells TechCrunch. “For users who want to watch on the go, multiview is available on tablets, and of course across all other platforms.”

YouTube TV recently confirmed to 9to5Google that it’s launching support on iOS devices, but it’s likely the feature will be less advanced compared to the TV version.

Peacock will begin testing multiview during select events this spring.

Image Credits: Peacock

In addition to multiview, the streaming service is adding “Live Actions,” which prompts fans to select a “Keep Watching” button if they want to continue viewing live coverage or switch to whip-around coverage. They can also add events to their “My Stuff” list to watch later.

A new “Search by Star Athlete” feature allows viewers to narrow down their search to their favorite athletes. Previously, they could only search by sport, event, team and country.

Peacock is also expanding its “Catch Up with Key Plays” feature to basketball, golf and soccer. The feature lets fans watch highlights of a game to quickly catch up without having to exit out of the main screen. It initially launched as a feature for Premier League games.

The company noted that multiview and Live Actions will extend to other live sporting events after the Olympics.

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