CTV Olympics 2012 review - why Canadians are cheering at their phones

With the Olympics in full swing, Canadians will likely want to check out CTV’s app since they’ve got the lock-down on coverage. Luckily it's free, you'll just have to put up with a bunch of pre-roll ads. 

CTV Olympics London 2012 for Android has the full spread of coverage that you could want - medal counts, tons of video, articles, and lots of social options for sharing content. Of course, since this is CTV, only Canadians will be able to get in on the app, but that’s alright - Americans have an NBC Olympics app that looks like it should offer roughly the same coverage.


CTV Olympics on Android is really cleanly laid out. Along the top there are tabs for Latest News, Watch Now (for video highlights), and Today to see what’s up. You can’t swipe between tabs since some tabs have more than one page-worth of content. The menu button in the top-left offers access to a viewer’s guide to see what’s being televised when, medals tracking (including a dedicated page for Team Canada), results and schedule, and some links to external sites for contests and social networking.

Loading times are a little slower than I would like, but not unbearable. Every video has a pre-roll ad (usually from Bell), plus there are banner ads just about everywhere. For a free app, it’s hard to complain.


There’s a live video feed available showing what’s currently on TV, though it’s often time-delayed. I caught the women’s 8 rowing about 3 hours after they won the silver.  That may be close enough to live for most people, plus there’s a wealth of replays and highlights available, so you’ll never run out of Olympic action to watch. The viewer’s guide provides an especially handy section to browse by sport with quick links to replays of individual events.

Articles are pulled from CTV, the Associated Press, the Canadian Press, and other respectable sources. Text size can be bumped up or down for readability, and shared easily to whatever social networks or apps you like. Notifications are available for breaking news, but unfortunately there aren’t any notifications for reminders of when events are starting, which could be a deal-breaker if you want to catch the action as soon as possible.


  • Great live and replay video
  • Plenty of options for sharing content


  • Pre-roll video ads and banners
  • Not ideally suited for watching events live


I’m perfectly happy with what CTV Olympics London 2012 has to offer by way of mobile coverage; so much so that I’m not quite sure what Bell has to offer that would be worth $5/month for their live mobile TV add-on.  If you’re in Canada and want to watch Olympics action, CTV’s Android app is a great place to start.

To be honest, I’ve only been marginally interested in following the Olympics until playing around with this app; catching some of the live-ish video can be pretty exhilerating especially if you’ve got a device with a larger screen and the sport isn’t completely ridiculous (see equestrian dressage).

Simon Sage
Simon has been covering mobile since before the first iPhone came out. After producing news articles, podcasts, review videos, and everything in between, he's now helping industry partners get the word about their latest products. Get in touch with him at simon@futurenet.com.