How to watch the Oscars 2017 online for free

Don't miss a single speech

The 2017 Academy Awards are almost upon us. On February 26 it'll be time to watch the laughs (real and forced), tears (happy and sad), and speeches (good and bad) all over again. Even better, with online broadcasting you'll be able to watch it all in your pyjamas.

Are we going to see Meryl Streep gracefully accept another best actress win? Has La La Land made enough of a song and dance to win Best Picture? Is there even a chance Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them won't win an award for production design?

Even if you think you know exactly who's going to win what we imagine you're still asking this question: where can I watch the Oscars live stream online?

Start on the Red Carpet

The Red Carpet rolls out at 7pm ET, 4pm PT or 12am GMT – or 8am AWST and 10am AEDT Monday morning – with the awards ceremony to follow immediately after everyone's outerwear is thoroughly discussed and dissected.

If you've never watched one of the previous 88 Academy Awards, the Red Carpet is the time where the industry's brightest stars stroll to their seats. I know, I know. It sounds boring, but, in reality the Red Carpet is actually hysterical, thanks to a running gag by E! called "Fashion Police."

There's something oddly satisfying about joining in with the brutal on-screen critiquing while you consume pizza in your least fashionable loungewear.

How to watch the Oscars online

Image courtesy of NBC

Should you want to follow along with the fashion carnage, simply head on over to E! Online's Livestream site and laugh, "ooh" and "ah" until the stars take their seats.

And the winner is...

Unfortunately, this year (like last year) streaming the Oscars is going to be as tough – if not tougher – than snagging a seat in the audience. The only in to the ceremony itself is via the Watch ABC website and app or the Oscars website, which, for whatever reason, requires you to to log in using your cable provider account.

Supported US providers include Comcast, Cablevision, Cox Communications, Charter Communications, DISH, DirecTV, Verizon FiOS and AT&T U-verse.

If you're watching from the UK, the show will stream live exclusively on Sky Cinema. So, you either need a Sky Movies subscription or have a Now TV Sky Movies Pass to watch it on its Roku-powered box. If you have a Sky Go subscription you'll also be able to tune in on your laptop or smartphone if you'd rather watch from bed. 

In Australia, the country's Nine Network will live stream the ceremony through its 9Now online service Monday morning. You need to sign-up to get access but the process is simple. 

Nine will replay the ceremony later that evening from 7:40pm (AEDT) and 5.40 pm (AWST) on digital channel 9GEM

PayTV provider Foxtel will also make it possible to watch E!'s red carpet stream when it kicks off at 9.30 am AEDT and 7.30 am AWST. 

But, even if you're a proud cable subscriber (boo!) in the states, you're not out of the woods yet. ABC is only allowed to stream it online in select US cities: Chicago, Fresno, Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, Raleigh-Durham and San Francisco. 

Customers with a DirecTV subscription in the following markets will also be able to watch the ABC live stream of The Oscars: Albuquerque, Boston, Ft. Smith/Fayetteville, Jackson (Mississippi), Kansas City, Milwaukee, Monterey-Salinas, Oklahoma City, Omaha, Pittsburgh, Portland-Auburn (Maine), Savannah and West Palm Beach.

Yikes.

What's worse, even if you jump on the streaming bandwagon and buy a subscription to PlayStation Vue or Sling TV, which both now offer ABC in addition to more than 25 other channels, you'll still need be located in one of the aforementioned cities.

How to watch the Oscars online

If you've got cable and live in a major metropolitan area, you're all set. For everyone else, however, there's always another alternative – a digital antenna.

Digital antennas, if you've never heard of them, are like the 21st Century's answer to bunny ears. The antenna – generally a flat piece of plastic that has been modified to receive over-the-air TV signals – plugs into the back of your set via a coaxial cable.

They'll grab you the basic channels – NBC, ABC, CBS and FOX – and won't charge you a monthly subscription, like cable does (but offer fewer channels, of course).

The all access pass

OK, so you couldn't get in through the front door. No big deal. It happens to the best of us. We've all been to a show, pretended we were on the list and were met with the cold, dead eyes of the bouncer who is absolutely not buying it.

Should you want to get around the security, there's two additional ways to see the show, social media and ABC's Backstage Pass.

The Oscars All Access is a unique second screen experience from ABC that allows you to watch the stars as they move between the stage and the dressing rooms in the back. It might not be the optimal viewing experience, but hey, it can't be any worse than the GrammyCam.

If all else fails, you can always follow along on Twitter and Facebook. Just search #Oscars on any social media platform to see the latest happenings.

The 89th Academy Awards ceremony is set to start 8:30pm ET, 5:30pm PT and 1:30am GMT – don't forget 9:30am AWST – and will be hosted by Jimmy Kimmel.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nick Pino is the senior home entertainment editor at TechRadar and covers TVs, headphones, speakers, video games, VR and streaming devices. He also occasionally writes about Pokemon when no one is watching.