How to live stream the 2016 presidential debates

From Twitter to Sling TV, there are lots of options.

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Our news feeds have been clogged with talk of Trump and Clinton for so long it’s hard to remember what it was like before the two announced their presidential runs. But with the first presidential debate scheduled to occur on Monday, September 26 at 9pm ET, we’re ready to finally watch the candidates duke it out live on screens everywhere.

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If you’re as excited as we are, chances are you’re wondering how you can watch the debates. Folks with cable can tune into any number of channels, but cord-cutters are no doubt pondering the best way to live stream.

Not to worry, fellow Americans! Here’s how you can watch the future of our country hang in the balance:

How to watch on your laptop or tablet

If you’re planning to huddle around your laptop or tablet, there are a few good options at your disposal.

Twitter is teaming up with Bloomberg Television to stream the media company’s live broadcast of the debates. The video will be paired with a scrolling list of relevant tweets, as well as Bloomberg Politics programming that will run for 30 minutes before and after the debates. To access the stream, go to debates.twitter.com, Twitter Moments, or Bloomberg’s @bpolitics account.

Facebook, on the other hand, has an exclusive deal to live stream ABC News’ debate broadcast. The stream will run ad-free, and coverage begins two hours before the debate, kicking off on Facebook Live with original commentary. You can access the stream on ABC News’ Facebook page.

Youtube provides more debate-watching options through deals with PBS, Telemundo, Fox News, Bloomberg, and the Washington Post. It’s a pretty impressive array to choose from! Find them on Youtube’s Live page.

How to watch on your phone

If you're going to be on the go, but still want to tune in, the same options for your laptop also apply.

You'll be able to watch Bloomberg's broadcast inside the Twitter app (you'll find it under the Moments tab), ABC News' broadcast on their Facebook page in the Facebook app, and various streams from NBC News, PBS, Telemundo, and more from their account pages in the YouTube app.

Finally, Sling TV is offering a free 18-hour preview on Monday, which means anyone can use the Sling TV app to catch the first debate.


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How to watch on your TV

Want to watch a debate live stream on your TV? There are a bunch of ways to accomplish this, depending on the tools you have at your disposal.


If you want to watch Twitter’s debate coverage from Bloomberg on a bigger screen, you can use the Twitter app on Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, or Xbox One to stream it on your television.

You can also watch live streams from Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube using streaming devices like Roku and Google Chromecast.

Finally, Sling TV is a great option if you want to watch streaming coverage of the debates. With its free 18-hour preview, you can watch the debate through the Sling TV app on Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Roku.

How to watch in virtual reality

If you’ve got an HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, or Samsung Gear VR headset, then we’ve got good news for you. NBC has teamed up with Altspace VR to host debate-watching parties, political Q&A sessions, and more in virtual reality. It may not be quite as readily accessible as streaming the debate on Twitter, but it is far, far cooler.

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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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