The inauguration for President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris takes place just after noon ET on Wednesday. The pomp and circumstance around it, however, will be dramatically different from previous years. The combination of a pandemic and security concerns in D.C. will result in the usual parade and balls being replaced with something more virtual. But there will be Biden and Harris-related events to stream throughout Inauguration Day. Here’s what you need to know.
How to stream Inauguration Day
What is the Inauguration Day schedule?
There’s a full day of events around the inauguration. Here’s a rundown of the inauguration schedule, themed “America United” despite the recent discord at the Capitol punctuating a tumultuous interregnum.
Our White House: An Inaugural Celebration for Young Americans will present a kids-eye view of the festivities. The program, hosted by Keke Palmer and streamable via BidenInaugural.org/youth, will include appearances by Jill Biden, historians Doris Kearns Goodwin and Erica Armstrong Dunbar, second gentleman-to-be Doug Emhoff (participating in a trivia segments question produced by the Library of Congress).
It will also include a segment on presidential pets produced by Nickelodeon and excerpts of student voices from PBS NewsHour Student Reporting Labs’ “We the Young People” programming.
Expect official festivities to start an hour prior to the actual swearing-in. These will include the national anthem being sung by Lady Gaga, a poem by 22-year-old Los Angeles-based poet Amanda Gorman, and a musical performance by Jennifer Lopez.
Though the times for specific post-ceremony events aren’t officially posted, the Biden-Harris schedule includes the traditional Pass in Review troop inspection, a wreath laying at Arlington National Ceremony, and a military escort for the new president to the White House.
The “Virtual Parade Across America” will involve performances from representatives from all 56 U.S. states and territories, hosted by actor Tony Goldwyn.
Celebrating America, a 90-minute special hosted by Tom Hanks, with Eva Longoria and Kerry Washington introducing some segments, promises a big musical lineup including Bruce Springsteen, Foo Fighters, John Legend, Jon Bon Jovi, Justin Timberlake, Demi Lovato, and Lin-Manuel Miranda, performing from locations throughout the U.S. Biden and Harris are also scheduled to speak as part of the event.
What channels will be streaming the inauguration?
Here’s a rundown of which channels will be showing inauguration coverage:
- ABC: Though the network won’t carry inauguration events, it will run a special at 8pm ET and then jump in for Celebrating America.
- BBC World News: The news channel’s inauguration coverage begins at 9am ET.
- BET: The BET News team starts up at 10am ET.
- CBS: The network will begin its coverage at 9am ET, and will also air a half-hour Norah O’Donnell-hosted special at 8pm ET leading into Celebrating America.
- Cheddar: Coverage here begins at 8am ET.
- CNN: CNN goes long, starting its inauguration coverage at 6am ET, and airing Celebrating America.
- Fox News Channel: The right-leaning news channel kicks off its coverage at 10am ET.
- MSNBC: The left-leaning news channel starts up officially at 9am ET, but will start special coverage at 6am ET tied to Morning Joe. It will also carry Celebrating America.
- NBC: Starting at 10am ET, you can follow events leading up to the inauguration here. NBC will also carry Celebrating America, with a half-hour lead-in show.
- Newsy: If you’re looking for wall-to-wall coverage, Newsy has you covered from 7am ET on.
- PBS: The public station begins its inauguration broadcasting at 10:30am ET, and will carry Celebrating America coverage from 8pm ET on.
- Peacock: The streaming service will feature coverage starting at 8am via its The Choice channel.
What channels will be streaming Celebrating America?
You can find Celebrating America on ABC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, NBC, and PBS. (Fox will counter-program with The Masked Dancer and Name That Tune.)
How to watch the inauguration: Inauguration Day 2021 live stream
Here’s a guide to the streaming services carrying the inauguration.
Hulu Live TV
Hulu Live TV is a great way to stream live TV, as it comes with access to Hulu’s massive library of on-demand content. You’ll be able to choose from movies, shows, and Hulu’s original programming, and keep up with what’s new each month. Hulu plans even include a bundle option where you can access Disney+ and ESPN+ along with Hulu.
Hulu Live TV sets you up with local channels and has a broad spectrum of entertainment and sports channels to review, including the full suite of ESPN channels, Cartoon Network, FX, HGTV, and even deep cuts like National Geographic and Syfy. The service will get you where you need to go to stream the inauguration.
|Hulu Live TV
|Hulu Live TV
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If you’re looking for a streamlined, cost-effective streaming package, check out Sling TV. It offers two basic cable packages, Sling Orange and Sling Blue, each of which costs $30 per month. There’s also the third option of getting Sling Orange + Blue for just $45 per month. You’ll get more Sling TV channels by choosing Sling Blue, with its 40 channels including sports favorites like FS1 and NBCSN and cable mainstays like Food Network and Discovery Channel. But Sling Orange brings must-haves Disney Channel and ESPN as part of its package.
|Orange + Blue
FuboTV started as a streaming service geared toward sports fans, but it’s evolved into a broadly-appealing option with entertainment and news options alongside its robust sports choices. Depending on the package, you can access as many as 180+ FuboTV channels. If you’re looking to be entertained, Bravo, IFC, MTV, and VH1 are options even at Fubo’s most basic tier. The Fubo channel list still includes plenty of sports, including the Fubo Sports Network, which has original programming mixing sports and humor. The FuboTV cost starts at $54.99 a month, and with Disney Media favorites like ABC, ESPN, and the Disney Channel now on board, some who were on the fence about Fubo are giving it another look.
AT&T TV Now
If you’re already looking to AT&T for your wireless needs, you might consider AT&T TV Now to cover streaming for you. AT&T TV Now channels start with Plus and Max, which even include HBO. Then, AT&T plans expand from there, approaching cable selection and pricing with AT&T TV Now’s biggest packages. AT&T streaming also comes with Cloud DVR, letting you record up to 20 hours of TV per month. If you’re looking for inauguration coverage, you can find it even at the most basic tiers.
Vidgo offers a package for under $40 a month that pulls together more than 60 English-language channels into its National English Package. Vidgo channels include ABC, Fox, the ESPN family of channels (including ESPN Deportes), and it’s one of the few streaming services that carries BeIN Sports. But it’s like Fubo in that, even though it started out for streaming sports, it carries a lot more now. You might be surprised to know that Vidgo’s an option to stream the inauguration—and then you chat about it online via Vidgo’s Social TV platform.
|English Premium Package
|$66.33/ 3 months
|English Plus Package
|$53/ 3 months
|Spanish Mas Package
|$25/ 3 months
The YouTube TV channel list includes local channels, sports options including ESPN, ESPN2, FS1, FS2, and NBA TV, and plenty to keep kids (and kids at heart) occupied, including Disney Channel and its companion channels, Nickelodeon, and Cartoon Network—all in one easy-to-access package. It even comes with a few Spanish-language channels like Telemundo and NBC Universo. YouTube add-ons include HBO Max, Showtime, and Starz. YouTube TV packages have some advantages over their competitors, including a generous DVR and multiple screens package. From one account, each user can create an individual profile to track favorite shows.
If you’re looking for inauguration coverage, know that you can stream it on YouTube TV.
Peacock is the relatively new streaming service from NBCUniversal.You can find NBC shows and sports programming as well as Universal movies on PeacoIt’s similar to HBO Max, Disney Plus, and CBS All Access, with shows, movies, and even original programming under one corporate umbrella.