The best of the Games - and the stories behind the action - may be a tweet or click away as social and online media join the networks in the starting blocks.
Illustration: Rocco Fazzari
London 2012 is shaping up to be the biggest Olympic Games in history, thanks in no small part to new technology. The city will play host to 10,500 athletes and 11 million visitors later this month, but many more viewers than ever before will be watching, sharing, blogging and tweeting from around the world. From digital radio to Twitter, Facebook, tablets and 3D TV, there are no obstacles to enjoying the Olympic action.
Who needs results and coverage when the world is your commentator?
TV sales usually spike before the Games, and this year is no different. Smart and 3D TVs are set to make the experience a rich one. The Games will be shown in Australia by both Channel Nine and Foxtel.
Social media ban ... the offending photo of swimmers Nick D'Arcy and Kendrick Monk.
Nine will broadcast 14½ hours of live coverage a day, as well as highlights and replays. This will be simulcast in HD on the network's digital channel, Gem, and selected events will be shown in 3D (for those with 3DTVs) on Australia's first free-to-air 3D channel, digital channel 95.
Foxtel will broadcast 24/7 throughout the Games via eight HD channels (channels 184 to 191), divided by different sports and events. All gold medal events will be shown live.
While broadcast rights prevent events being streamed live on the internet in Australia, there are still plenty of websites for an Olympic fix.
These Games have been dubbed the ''socialympics'', with social media use expected to exceed that of any sporting event in history. At the Beijing Olympics four years ago, Twitter had 6 million users while Facebook had 100 million. Today, Twitter has more than 140 million users and Facebook a whopping 900 million.
''Social and online are changing everything,'' says Jennifer Wilson, a director at multiplatform digital production company the Project Factory.
''From international events such as the Olympics to local sporting events, sports can be covered in a really interesting way through digital media, particularly social.''
The IOC's official Facebook page, which has 2.9 million fans, will host live video chats with athletes from within the Olympic village. The IOC has also partnered Facebook for Explore London 2012, an official page that presents the Facebook pages of athletes, teams and sports. ''We want to bring discovery to the Olympics,'' Facebook's Joanna Shields says.
There are also official Olympics pages on Twitter, Google+, Foursquare, Tumblr, Instagram and YouTube (though YouTube's streams are not viewable in Australia due to broadcasting rights).
Ninemsn has also capitalised on the rise of social media with Social Games, an online game in which cash is awarded to fans who share the most articles, photos and videos via social media.
But there are some rules around social media for both spectators and athletes. Due to broadcasting rights, viewers can take video for personal use but not share it on social media. You can post photos on social media, as long as you don't earn money from them.
As we have already seen, social media can be a can of worms for athletes. Aussie swimmers Nick D'Arcy and Kendrick Monk are under a social media ban after posting a Facebook photo posing with guns. The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) has warned that other athletes who misbehave online will face similar penalties. The media boss of the AOC, Mike Tancred, said that ''athletes are on notice - do not vilify anyone on social media''.
Mobile and tablet
Arguably the biggest growth since the last Games has been in mobile and tablet devices. Both Nine and Foxtel will use the Olympics as a launch pad for apps.
''We're aiming to kill two birds with one app,'' says Rebecca Haagsma, the director of product innovation at ninemsn, whose new Jump-in iPad app will be linked to social media and present Olympic tweets into one stream. The app also features a medal tally, TV guide, news, photos and videos.
Foxtel sports subscribers will be able to watch the action on their iPad or Android tablets. All eight Games channels will be available live in the Foxtel app, as well as catch-up sessions, results and a TV guide.
''It's amazing what two years does in terms of technology jumps,'' says the director of Sports & Olympics at Foxtel, Peter Campbell. ''This has become interactive television.''
The apps will not be available on smartphones, but both the Herald and ninemsn have mobile-optimised Olympics sites.
With many events taking place during peak commuter times in Australia (6-9am and 6-9pm), radio is well suited to the London Games. The rights belong to the ABC and Macquarie (2GB in Sydney). The ABC will stream commentary online - though it will be accessible only in Australia because of broadcasting rights - while Macquarie will not. The ABC will also create a dedicated digital station, ABC London 2012, which will broadcast continuously.
Regardless of how you choose to keep up, there is something for everyone. But Jennifer Wilson believes it is the people who have the power this time around: ''Who needs results and coverage when the world is your commentator?''