The election is coming, and prior to that, the three presidential debates and one vice presidential debate that will likely help decide the winner. If you have cable, watching the debates will be as simple as turning on the TV and picking the channel you want to watch them on. For cord cutters with an antenna, it’s also that simple.
However, if you’re a cord cutter without an antenna (Mohu can fix that for you) or if you prefer cable news networks, you might have to put a little more thought into how you’ll be watching the debates. The good news is, there isn’t a reason you should have to miss the debates. There are plenty of ways cord cutters can watch each debate. Here are the best ways to do it!
The complete presidential debate schedule:
- Presidential Debate – September 26, 2016: Hofstra University in Hampstead, NY
- Vice Presidential Debate – October 4, 2016: Longwood University in Farmville, VA
- Presidential Debate – October 9, 2016: Washington University in St. Louis, MO
- Presidential Debate – October 19, 2016: University of Nevada in Las Vegas, NV
Each debate will air at 9 p.m. ET and last 90 minutes.
Free Ways to Watch
1. Watch Live on Your TV with a Digital Antenna
Even if you’ve cut the cord, the easiest way to watch the debates is still on your TV. A digital antenna should be a cord cutter’s first line of defense where television entertainment is concerned. This will give you the chance to watch the debate on nearly all of the local channels (ABC, CBS, NBC, Univision, and more), and it will save you the money of having to pay for any streaming services.
2. Stream for Free on Facebook
Everyone (or almost everyone) already has Facebook, so when the debates are on, you can watch through Facebook Live. Facebook is partnering with ABC News who will be offering the full debate along with before and after coverage with a variety of correspondents including Dan Harris, Amna Nawaz, Matthew Dowd, and LZ Granderson.
3. Stream for Free on Twitter
Not to be outdone by Facebook, Twitter has partnered with Bloomberg to also offer live streaming of each debate. Basically, the same rules apply here. Sign on to Twitter the night of the debates, and you can watch before and after commentary with the debate in between.
Bonus: Stream for Free on PlutoTV
Free streaming service PlutoTV will also feature live debate coverage on its Bloomberg TV and Newsy channels. You can watch from your computer browser or on the PlutoTV app available on Mac, Windows, Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, select smart TVs, Android, and iOS.
Paid Streaming Services
4. Stream on Sling TV
UPDATE: Sling is offering a 100% free preview of their Sling Orange package for one day only, Monday, September 26 without having to enter any credit card information. You can watch the debate on CNN or the Falcons vs. Saints Monday Night Football match-up on ESPN for free. Now, back to your regularly scheduled paid subscription to catch the rest of the debates:
If you want to watch CNN, the best option for that will be Sling TV. The Sling TV Orange package will allow you to watch the debates on CNN. If you want other news channels, you can up your package or add on the channels you are interested in. The Orange package starts at $20, but they have a free trial that will allow you to watch at least one debate for free. Sling is nice because you can watch either at home or using any number of mobile devices. And if you’re in the one of a select few locations, you can get locals like FOX.
5. Stream on PlayStation Vue
The upside to PlayStation Vue is that you can watch FOX News in addition to CNN, MSNBC, which are on Sling TV, and in some cities you can even watch some local channels. Packages start with 60 channels and at $30/month, so you’ll be able to take your pick of channels where you can watch the debate. They also offer a free trial. The downside is that mobile restrictions only allow you to watch in your home. One workaround for this is the use of the TV Everywhere app. You need a cable or PlayStation Vue login to use TV Everywhere, and once you sign in you can watch on a variety of streaming devices.
6. Stream on CBS All Access
If you’re not already a CBS All Access member or you have a digital antenna you won’t really need to consider this option because obviously, you can watch CBS on your TV. The benefits to CBS All Access is that it’s inexpensive ($5.99/month), they offer a free trial, and that at least 80% of the country can watch the debates in live stream if they don’t have another way to do it.
That’s all there is to it. All of these ways will allow you to watch the debates in live stream without cable! Enjoy the debates when you watch them, and don’t forget to vote!