How to Watch the Presidential Inauguration Online for Free

At noon ET, Donald J. Trump will become the 45th president of the United States of America. Watch live.

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Features Editor
5 min read
This story originally appeared on PCMag

At a ceremony scheduled to begin at noon ET, Donald J. Trump on Friday will take the oath and become the 45th president of the United States of America.

We all knew this day would come. And, when I say "we all knew," I don't mean we knew that this constitutionally preordained day would eventually arrive. I'm alluding to the fact that we all knew this was a thing that was going to happen in America one day. Long before Trump even announced a run for office, the zeitgeist had an understanding that one day Donald Trump would convince enough of his fellow countrymen that he should be president.

And he managed to do it by running the most unprecedented campaign imaginable, dodging numerous scandals with Neo-like dexterity. (Thereweresomanyscandals!) Throwing all the old playbooks out the window worked for Trump -- to an inexplicable degree. So, you know his inauguration speech, which he wrote himself, is gonna be super crazy!

The pre-inauguration festivities featuring top-tier entertainment is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. ET. Watching live in the audience, probably not far from the swearing-in ceremony on center stage, you should expect to find all the former living presidents (except H.W., who has taken ill) including Bill Clinton and his wife, former Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton (who, if you'll remember, Trump has threatened to jail).

Anyways, it will be -- if nothing else -- a memorable affair.

In addition to the usual televised coverage, most major media outlets will be offering a live stream on their respective websites, mobile apps and OTT platforms. If you are one of the millions of Americans out there who can't wait to see this thing, but won't happen to be near a TV, here are some platforms that will be streaming the ceremony for free (i.e. no paywall or cable authentication necessary).


Twitter has partnered with PBS NewsHour to live stream the day's proceedings for free at or directly on the @NewsHour account. Coverage will run from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET and will be anchored by managing editor Judy Woodruff. The broadcast will be available regardless of whether the viewer is logged in to Twitter or not.

And if you need an additional reminder:


Numerous official YouTube channels will be offering live streams of the day's events, including:

If you just got a fancy VR headset for the holidays and want to go extra crazy, USA Today's coverage will be broadcast in fully immersive 360 on its official YT channel.


Donald Trump's favorite cable news channel, CNN, will offer live coverage via and its mobile apps from 6 a.m. ET through midnight. A rep from the channel says these streams will not require the usual cable authentication.


For the modern American cord cutter, a must-have video news source is CBSN, the 24-hour digital news channel from CBS News. CBSN offers a streaming mix of live event coverage, original analysis and re-broadcasts of other CBS News properties (CBS Evening News, 60 Minutes, Sunday Morning) and it's available for free on numerous platforms (Roku, Apple TV, PlayStation) including the web.

NBC News

As mentioned above, NBC News's live event feed will be available via its YouTube channel, but viewers can also watch directly on or via the NBC News apps on mobile, Roku, FireTV and Apple TV.

Fox News Channel

A rep from Fox News Channel says its coverage, anchored by Shepard Smith, begins at 11 a.m. ET and will be available on without the usual cable authentication.


You can also watch the inauguration live on Reuters's live video site,, as well as on its official mobile apps or Roku.


NewsOn provides live and on-demand local newscasts from stations all around the country. So, if you want coverage with a bit local flavor, you can watch on the services various media-streaming platforms, on its mobile apps, or on their website,

Need a cushy bubble?

If your politics lean leftward, perhaps the past election has left you reeling and you've retreated into a bubble of likemindedness. If you don't appreciate having your assumptions questioned, Democracy Now will stream coverage on its site beginning at 8 a.m. ET.

Conversely, you could tune into a celebrity-studded "Love-a-thon" during the inauguration, which will include appearances by Judd Apatow, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jane Fonda, llana Glazer and Edward James Olmos. That event will be raising funds for the ACLU, Planned Parenthood and Earthjustice.

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