The State of the Union is an annual event (with some exceptions) in which the President of the United States addresses a joint session of Congress to highlight his achievements in the past year and propose his legislative agenda for the coming year. All the major TV networks broadcast the event, and it’s easy to stream the State of the Union live.
The exception is when a new president is elected. His first address to a joint session of Congress is not called The State of the Union, although it has a similar purpose.
Hour: 6 p.m. PT/ 9 p.m. ET
Place: US House of Representatives (joint session of Congress)
Channels: ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, Fox News, CNN, MSNBC
Stream: YouTube, ABC.com, NBC.com, CBS.com, Fox.com, FoxNews.com, CNN.com, MSNBC.com
How to watch the State of the Union live
The State of the Union is one of the rare cases where major television and cable news networks drop what they’re doing to broadcast the exact same event. Each one provides its own context and commentary, but you really do have a lot of different options when it comes to deciding where to watch the State of the Union live stream.
Here are your top options for broadcasting the State of the Union:
- The official broadcast from the White House: This broadcast is available through the White House YouTube channel. It’s free and it’s a very easy option, but it doesn’t come with any additional comments, it just provides the speech, and that’s it.
- Broadcaster and cable network websites: All the channels that broadcast the State of the Union also do it live through their website. If you are a cable TV subscriber, you can access these broadcasts for free. Some networks choose to make their broadcasts free to everyone during the speech, but that’s not a guarantee.
- Television broadcast services: Services like YouTube TV and Hulu With Live TV, which include local channels and cable news networks, are a great place for users who have cut the umbilical cord to watch the State of the Union on the channel of their choice, including all comments that are included in the broadcast version.
State of the Union broadcast on YouTube
The easiest way to stream the State of the Union is through the official White House YouTube channel. As the State of the Union draws near, the White House posts an official link to the live stream. Until then, just follow the White House YouTube channel and you’ll automatically be notified when the broadcast goes live.
How to broadcast the State of the Union with a cable subscription
If you have a cable subscription, or someone is willing to provide you with cable or satellite access credentials, you can stream the State of the Union for free from a number of places. Some of these sources provide a free stream with or without a cable subscription, but your subscription guarantees you access.
To use these sources, you need to navigate to the indicated site and then log in with your cable or satellite credentials. In some cases, if your Internet provider and your cable provider are the same, it will connect automatically.
In addition to the State of the Union live stream, each of these options offers additional commentary, context, and other content that you don’t get if you only watch the basic White House live stream that is available on YouTube.
Here are some official sites where you can stream the State of the Union:
- ABC.com: The official live broadcast of ABC.
- NBC.com: The official live broadcast of NBC and MSNBC.
- Fox.com: The official live broadcast of the Fox network.
- Fox NewsGo: The official live broadcast of Fox News.
- CNNgo: The official live broadcast from CNN.
How to stream State of the Union without a cable subscription
If you don’t have a cable subscription and want to watch the State of the Union with live commentary, you’ll need to sign up for a streaming TV service. Most of these services also have a free trial that you can use to stream the State of the Union and decide if a streaming TV service is something you’re going to use.
These services are a lot like cable in that they provide live access to the same channels, but they tend to be less expensive and don’t require you to have a long subscription. Each TV streaming service has its own set of channels, so the key is to find the one that offers the channels that interest you the most.
Here are the best TV streaming services to watch the State of the Union:
- YouTube TV is Google’s live TV streaming service. This is the best option for the State of the Union if you want the option to watch on your local channels and the major cable news networks. They offer ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, and more in most areas, plus Fox News, CNN and MSNBC. They offer a free trial.
- Hulu + LiveTV is the next best thing if you’re looking for the option to stream local State of the Union coverage. It offers local channels from ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC in almost as many areas as YouTube TV, and also carries the major cable networks.
- AT&T TV Nowformerly known as DirecTV Now, has pretty decent coverage for local broadcasters from ABC, CBS, Fox and NBCin addition to the main news channels.
- sling TV is a great option because it’s the most affordable service on this list, but it only offers NBC and Fox in a very limited number of markets. Their affordable Sling Blue plan includes CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC, though, so it’s a good option if you’re not looking for local coverage. A free trial is also available.