How to watch the inauguration of Joe Biden live on CNN, PBS, or elsewhere without cable

Get ready for President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.

How to watch the inauguration of Joe Biden live on CNN, PBS, or elsewhere without cable
The U.S. Capitol building is prepared for the inaugural ceremonies for President-elect Joe Biden as American flags are placed in the ground on the National Mall on January 18, 2021, in Washington, D.C. The approximately 191,500 U.S. flags will cover part of the National Mall and will represent the American people who are unable to travel to Washington, D.C., for the inauguration. [Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images]

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be sworn in as the president and vice president of the United States in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, ushering in a much-anticipated new era for the country and filling a leadership void left by an outgoing president who refused to accept that he lost the election. Inauguration proceedings begin around 11 a.m. ET, with the swearing-in slated to begin sometime before noon.


Expect former presidents, most of Congress, celebrities, a national anthem sung by Lady Gaga, and a gargantuan security presence, but don’t expect to see the large maskless crowds you would typically find on Inauguration Day in the nation’s capital.

The good news? If you’re a cord cutter who wants to stream the inauguration and celebrations on your computer, phone, or smart TV, you’ll have more choices than ever before. In fact, we challenge you to find a channel or streaming service that won’t be broadcasting this event. In the interest of curation and convenience, we’ve rounded up some easy streaming choices below.

Stream coverage from a TV network

  • PBS NewsHour will stream the inauguration for free on its YouTube page (also embedded below), with coverage beginning at 9 a.m. ET. Find it here.
  • CBSN, the streaming service operated by CBS News, will stream coverage of the inauguration beginning at 7 a.m. ET and continuing through the evening. Find it here.
  • ABC News live, a free streaming service available on most devices, will stream coverage of the inauguration. Find it here.
  • Ditto for NBC News Now. Find it here.

If you live in one of the 26 markets served by Locast, a free streaming service for broadcast networks, you might also try streaming network TV coverage that way.

Stream coverage from a cable network

All three major cable networks (CNN, MSNBC, Fox News) will stream wall-to-wall coverage of the inaugurations on their websites and mobile apps.

CNN says its coverage will not require a login from a cable provider, meaning cord-cutters should be able to stream inauguration coverage for free on its homepage or via CNNgo.


If you want to stream coverage from other pay-TV networks, you can try watching through a subscription-based streaming service. The following offer lots of choices in their bundles:

Other ways to watch

Note that Sling TV also offers a free version that carries ABC News Live and doesn’t require a paid subscription. Similarly, The Roku Channel offers free news streaming options, such as NBC News Now and Newsy.

Finally, if you want to skip the TV coverage and just stream the event, go right to the source: The Biden Inaugural Committee will stream it on its YouTube page.

Still need more ways to watch? YouTube has a full playlist of inauguration live streams here. Have fun!

About the author

Christopher Zara is a senior staff news editor for Fast Company and obsessed with media, technology, business, culture, and theater. Before coming to FastCo News, he was a deputy editor at International Business Times, a theater critic for Newsweek, and managing editor of Show Business magazine