Spoiler alert

As an avid television fan who follows entertainment news regularly, there’s nothing worse than “spoilers.” With DVRs and streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, time-shifted viewing of television shows has greatly increased. If you’re not watching a show live and are on social media sites when it airs, prepare for a stream full of spoilers that could ruin a huge plot development for you.

The amount of time you have to remain spoiler-free decreases as the popularity of the show increases. Some events of a larger scale make this especially difficult. Take for example, the Winter Olympics airing on NBC this month. Because they take place in a different time zone but are still aired in the U.S. at primetime, the Olympics are easily ruined for those who can’t stay away from certain websites.

It’s impossible for NBC to please everyone because of the location of the Games and the time differences in the U.S. alone. However, it’s a shame that finding out who won the gold medal can be so easy. If you visit NBC’s official website for the Olympics, the first headline you’ll see is the latest result to come out of Sochi. Or look back to the London Olympics in 2012, when NBC apologized for an error it made during the primetime coverage. In a promo for the Today Show, U.S. Olympic swimmer Missy Franklin was shown seeing her parents for the first time since winning the gold medal in one of her events. Except, that race hadn’t aired yet! Viewers who were watching the Games that night saw that promo during the commercials before her event was aired.

A few days ago, I turned on a local news channel around midday only to find Olympics spoilers scrolling across the bottom of the screen. I understand the events in Sochi are big news stories, especially when they relate to a U.S. athlete. But those events had only happened a few hours earlier and NBC wasn’t going to air them until almost ten hours later during primetime.

NBC has provided live streams on its website and multiple cable networks. However, not everyone can watch the programs live. I’m not sure what the best option is, but it makes it hard to enjoy something when you already know how it ends.

The simple solution to this problem is to just avoid all news and social media websites until you can watch a show live. But, hopefully you can avoid spoilers in the meantime.