When it comes to the Oscars, there's a lot of prep involved. There are names to be engraved, menus to finalize, speeches to write, and fittings to squeeze into.
As a member of the viewing audience, you have a totally different type of prep; all you really need to do is figure out how and where you're going to watch Hollywood's biggest night of the year.
The deets if you have cable
If you have cable or satellite, just tune into your local ABC affiliate on February 26, starting at 7:00 p.m. ET (or 4:00 p.m. for PT viewers). If you don't have a pay TV subscription, things can get a bit trickier. Being able to stream the Oscars is almost as difficult as getting into the actual event.
Of course, just because you've ditched a monthly TV bill doesn't mean you can't enjoy the glam of the Academy Awards. Looking to watch the Oscars without cable? Here are a few ways to tune into the festivities.
Get an antenna
If you want to cut the cord and have even the slightest interest in watching live TV ever, the first thing you should do is get an antenna. As long as you live in range of a transmission tower, hooking up an antenna can deliver all sorts of TV channels absolutely free—and many of them are in high-definition, which is perfect for peeking at those gowns, hairstyles, and all of the other accouterments at the Oscars.
Outdoor antennas typically work best, but there are plenty of indoor models if that's not an option. Even better, antennas are available at a variety of price points, starting as low as $10. Antennas Direct and Mohu are popular antenna makers, but even Amazon has its own brand.
Read several antenna reviews before making a purchase. And be sure to check sites like TVFool.com and AntennaWeb.org to see if you'll be able to tune into ABC in your area. These sites will give you an idea of what channels broadcast nearby, as well as how and where to point your antenna to get them. (Also, plan to have a compass handy.)
Just start streaming
There are several ways to stream the telecast via the web, but there's a bit of a catch. None of them are absolutely free. To view the live event through ABC, the Watch ABC app, or the official Oscars website, you'll need to have credentials—not the press kind, but ones from your pay TV subscription.
In other words, you will need cable. That said, if you're away from home for the night, this will allow you to catch the entire show on any smartphone, tablet, or other device with a web browser.
Just know that even with pay TV, you may not be able to view these three streams. The live event is limited to certain areas, so plan accordingly.
There are plenty of ways to hoard Oscars night all to yourself, using your favorite mobile device. Sling TV is more affordable than your average cable bill and works with Android, Amazon, and iOS devices, as well as Macs and PCs. The basic Sling Orange package offers over 30 channels for $20. However, if you want ABC, you need to opt for the Broadcast Extra add-on, which is another $5 per month. Just know that ABC is only available in select areas at this time, so do a search on the Sling TV website before signing up.
Similar to Sling TV, PlayStation Vue offers live and on-demand viewing of ABC, but to limited markets. It's also limited in where you can take it on a mobile device. So while you can stream PlayStation Vue using Android, Amazon, and iOS portables, just know that ABC will be limited to your home market. In other words, viewing the Oscars across town should be fine, but across the country or the world will be a problem.
Tap into a media streamer
Hollywood's biggest night really deserves to be viewed on a big screen. There are too many sparkly details to restrict yourself to a smartphone. Thankfully, many of the aforementioned streaming options can be run through your favorite media player.
For instance, ABC.com is available through Android TV, the Apple TV, and Roku devices. Just remember that to watch the live broadcast, this method needs to be combined with a pay TV subscription.
The PlayStation Vue is an inexpensive alternative, available through the Amazon Fire TV, Google's Chromecast, and Roku devices. That said, the most affordable, most diverse option for streaming media players is Sling TV. It has the lowest monthly cost (starts at $25, if you want the package with ABC) and can play through the Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Roku boxes, Chromecast, Android TV, and several other media players.
Get a game console
Of course, you already knew that your gaming console is good for other things besides video games, right? Many of today's consoles can also stream live TV—including the Oscars broadcast.
Although you will need a paid TV subscription, ABC.com is available through the Xbox One. However, that same device can also tap into Sling TV. As mentioned, just make sure that a live ABC feed is available in your area before you commit to this method (and the monthly fee).
As you'd expect, PlayStation Vue can stream on both the PlayStation 3 and the PS4. As with some of the other streaming options on our list, just make sure that your affiliate is available for live streaming before you make party plans. Enjoy!