Why the opening ceremony for the 2016 Rio Olympics won't be aired live

Usually the Olympics are delayed because of extreme time zone differences. For instance, the Eastern time zone is 12 hours behind Beijing and five hours behind London.

But fortunately for American viewers, the time zone in Rio de Janeiro is just an hour ahead of Eastern time, meaning most events can be aired live without a problem.

So why is the opening ceremony delayed?

The 2016 Rio Olympics opening ceremony will start Friday in Rio at 7 p.m. ET, but will not be aired until 8 p.m. ET/PT on NBC. Viewers in Mountain time will see the broadcast at 7 p.m.

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The Rio Olympics opening ceremony will be delayed in the U.S. Getty Images

NBC is delaying the opening ceremony to have time to "curate" the coverage in order to provide proper context.

"We think it's important to give context to the show," said NBC Sports chair Mark Lazarus. "These opening ceremonies will be a celebration of Brazilian culture, of Rio, of the pageantry, of the excitement, of the flair this beautiful nation has. We think it's important that we are able to put that in context for the viewer so that it's not just a flash of color."

More skeptical critics, however, think the network's main motivation is to have the broadcast fall entirely within prime time viewing hours.

Either way, you won't be seeing Friday's opening ceremony live.

If you want to see the opening ceremony in real time, there are a few workarounds worth exploring.

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