New Year’s Eve live stream: How to watch the ball drop and Times Square performances online

New Year’s Eve live stream: How to watch the ball drop and Times Square performances online
[Photo: Cem Ozdel/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images]

Hold on to your hats and giant glasses, folks! The 2020s are about to begin with a roar, and unlike the Roaring Twenties from a century ago, this time around you can enjoy the world’s biggest New Year’s Eve celebration from the comfort of your sofa.


New York City’s Times Square will ring in the New Year just like it has for the last 114 years, with the ceremonial dropping of the ball. An estimated 100,000 people will cram into the Midtown Manhattan neighborhood to see the festivities in person (far less than the exaggerated crowd sizes the city likes to tout, as NY1 dutifully reminds us each year), but if you’re like most people, you’ll be content to watch it on a screen. And these days, you don’t even need a TV.

Stream the Ball Drop on Your Desktop

If you’re looking for a fast-and-easy way to stream the event with no frills, we’ll start with that: The Times Square District Management Association is presenting a live stream of the ball drop and performances on its website, beginning today (Tuesday, December 31), at 6 p.m. ET and going until 12:15 a.m. ET.

Find the live webcast here or via the embedded video below:

X Ambassadors will perform a rendition of John Lennon’s “Imagine” shortly before midnight, the organizers say.

Stream the Ball Drop on your Phone or iPad

According to the Times Square Alliance and Countdown Entertainment, which co-organize the event, you can watch a commercial-free NYE webcast on your mobile device at the following links:

Live Stream TV Coverage Without Cable

If you’re a cord cutter who wants to catch all the coverage from a particular television network, you have a few ways to do that. First, here’s the lineup:

  • ABC: Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest (start time: 8 p.m. ET)
  • NBC: New Year’s Eve with Carson Daly (start time: 10 p.m. all times zones)
  • Fox: New Year’s Eve with Steve Harvey (starts at 8 p.m. ET, delayed out west)
  • CNN: New Year’s Eve with Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen (start time: 8 p.m. ET)

You can stream the above TV coverage from the networks’ websites or mobile apps, but you will probably need to authenticate with a pay-TV provider first. If you don’t have a pay-TV login, your next best bet is to sign up for a streaming service. (These are easy to cancel and you can usually get a free week.) I’ve listed some of the popular ones below.

Note that local broadcast networks are not available in all areas, so check your zip code first before signing up. If you live in one of the 16 cities covered by Locast, you can access the broadcast networks from that free service here.

Finally, a friendly reminder: ABC, Fox, and NBC are available for free if you have an over-the-air antenna—maybe something to think about for next year!