Rio 2016 Olympic opening ceremony
Americans saw it late. Marko Djurica/Reuters

It turned out to be not such a small world after all for the American market when it came to a live viewing of the opening Olympic ceremonies. NBC, which is the exclusive American broadcaster for the event, hijacked live streaming for online users to release playback later, more solidly in prime time where commercials cost more because there are more viewers and the network is happier.

For the East Coast that meant a delay of an hour after the event began, but for the stunned Silicon Valley-savvy West Coast, NBC held it back a full 4 hours later. It was the same for TV viewers forced to rely on a tape delay of the event.

NBC claimed at a July press conference that it needed the time to "curate" the event, adding "context" and presumably editing it into a trimmer package, Mashable reports.

"This opening ceremony will be a celebration of Brazilian culture, of Rio, of the pageantry, the excitement, of the flare that this beautiful nation has. We think it's important that we're able to put that in context for the viewer so it's not just a flash of color," said NBC Sports Group Chairman Mark Lazarus.

Consumer-friendly reporters scrambled to find alternatives. Quartz suggested that those close to the Canadian border could likely get the Canadian Broadcast Corporation's streaming.

Or it suggested dodging Internet "geoblockers" by using a VPN (virtual private network) so US users could make it appear they actually live somewhere else to gain access to overseas outlets that were actually streaming the event live (like the BBC ).

Most Americans just had to wait it out because NBC wasn't going to budge. When it came down to it, and NBC's Lazarus dropped the "context" explanation, he finally spelled out what's what:

"We are a for-profit organization, and we spend a lot of money to put on the Olympics, and I think [have] the right — and duty to our shareholders — to make some revenue from that."