How to watch the first US presidential debate on TV and online

No pressure.
No pressure.
Image: Left: AP/Carolyn Kaster. Right: AP/Wilfredo Lee
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After more than a year of campaigning, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will finally share the stage Monday night in Hempstead, New York for the first of three US presidential debates. NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt will moderate.

Media observers expect the highly anticipated showdown to break ratings records, perhaps topping 100 million viewers. It will be broadcast on a multitude of television networks and streamed for free on news sites and social media platforms.

It will begin at 9pm eastern time, last about 90 minutes, and will run commercial free.

There’s no escape.

How to watch on TV

The debate will be broadcast on the following channels in the US:

  • ABC
  • CBS
  • NBC
  • Fox
  • C-SPAN
  • CNN
  • Fox News
  • Univision

If you subscribe to a standard cable-TV package, you probably get all of these channels, so just pick your favorite. Most networks will begin coverage hours before the debate and continue long into the night, hours after the debate ends.

How to watch online

Those without TV have plenty of options, too. These social media platforms will stream the debate:

  • Facebook (with ABC News coverage)
  • Twitter (with Bloomberg coverage)
  • YouTube (with coverage from PBS, Fox News, Telemundo, Bloomberg, and Washington Post)

Also, Snapchat will host a live “Live Story.”

But wait, there’s more. A number of news organizations and websites will stream the debate as well. Here’s a list:

  • BuzzFeed
  • CBS News
  • CNN
  • C-SPAN
  • Daily Caller
  • Fox News
  • Huffington Post
  • NBC
  • PBS
  • Politico
  • Telemundo
  • Wall Street Journal
  • Univision
  • Yahoo

Monday’s presidential debate might be the most widely accessible televised event in history. Whether you’re a cord-cutter, a cord-never, or a cable loyalist, you’ll have several options. Check out for an even longer list.

Still, there’s one more alternative.

How to watch in virtual reality

NBC is partnering with AltspaceVR to broadcast the debate in virtual reality. Anyone with the Altspace VR app on Occulus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, or HTC Vive can watch and pretend they’re in the room with Clinton and Trump. Be careful—it could get ugly in there.

Update: A previous version of this story stated that the debate will begin at 8pm eastern time. The debate will, in fact, begin at 9pm eastern time, not 8pm. Also, Hulu will not stream the debate live, but will have it available for replay on Tuesday (Sept. 27).