How to watch the 2016 US presidential debates

Watch a full video replay of the final debate

Update: That's a wrap on debate season, folks. The third and final US presidential debate between Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump is over, but you can watch a full video replay of the fireworks below.  

Just skip to 33:45 to dive right in:

US presidential debate dates, time and locations

The third and final presidential debate takes place on Wednesday, October 19. Clinton and Trump will go head-to-head once again at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in Las Vegas, Nevada. The debate will start at 9pm ET, 6pm PT.

For viewers in the UK and Australia, that's 2am-3:30am BST on Thursday, October 20, or 11am-12:30pm AEST on Thursday, October 20.

Donald Trump

Photo credit: Donald J Trump

The debate will share the same format as the first presidential debate. The third debate will be divided into six time segments of approximately 15 minutes each on major topics to be selected by the moderator, Chris Wallace, who anchors Fox News Sunday, and announced at least one week before the debate. 

The segment topics are: immigration, entitlements and debt, the Supreme Court (which has a vacant seat), the economy, foreign policy and the candidate's fitness to serve as president. 

Wallace will open each segment with a question, after which each candidate will have two minutes to respond. Candidates will then have an opportunity to respond to each other. Wallace will use the balance of the time in the segment for a deeper discussion of the topic.

The first US presidential debate was on September 26 at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. You can view a video recap of the first debate below:

The vice presidential debate took take place in Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia on Tuesday, October 4.

The third and final presidential debate will be held on Wednesday, October 19. Debate season wraps up at University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

How to watch the debates on TV

Each debate will be broadcast simultaneously on C-SPAN, ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC, as well as on cable news channels, including CNN, Fox News, MSNBC and others. You literally can't miss the debate if you turn on your TV in the US tonight.

In the UK you'll be able to watch the debates live on the BBC News Channel, which will also stream it online, and on Sky News. After the debates air, the channels will broadcast recaps, as well as make the debates available to stream on demand on their websites.

In Australia Seven News will be covering the debates live.

How to stream on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook

All the major news networks will offer a free livestream, as will YouTube and Twitter.

If you're watching on YouTube, you'll have plenty of channels to choose from. PBS, Fox News, The Washington Post, Bloomberg and Telemundo will all have livestreams. Even YouTube-only channels like The Young Turks and Complex News will have a livestream with on-the-ground reporting.

YouTube is also promoting its #voteIRL hashtag in an effort to get people to the polls, and will be posting highlights and reports from the debate on its own channel.

YouTube voteIRL

Photo credit: YouTube

Facebook is also livestreaming the presidential debates. Thanks to a partnership with ABC, live coverage will be streamed on ABC's Facebook Page, following pre-debate programming. Facebook and ABC previously partnered to stream both the Democratic and Republican National Conventions earlier this year.

If you're watching on Twitter, you can follow alongside curated tweets. The stream will be available on various Twitter apps, including on the Apple TV. Alternatively, you can watch on the web at debates.twitter.com.

How to watch in VR

As it's 2016, you'll can also watch the debates in virtual reality. NBC is partnering with AltspaceVR to bring viewers a number of election-themed virtual reality events leading up to and during the presidential debates, such as a Q&A with political experts, political comedy shows and more.

AltspaceVR created a 'Virtual Democracy Plaza', which is a VR recreation of the real Democracy Plaza at the Rockefeller Center in New York City, so you can feel like you're there.

AltSpace VR presidential debates schedule

Viewers can hop into the Virtual Democracy Plaza by using the AltspaceVR app for the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive or Samsung Gear VR. Unfortunately, generic VR headsets like Google Cardboard won't work. If you don't have a compatible VR headset, you can watch in lame 2D via AltspaceVR's website, altvr.com/nbcnews.

The best apps and devices to stream the presidential debates

If you plan on watching the debates on your smartphone or tablet, you're probably best using the YouTube app to stream. Alternatives include the Twitter and Facebook apps.

Apple TV

If you want to stream the debates to a television, you have plenty of options, since many apps are available on multiple platforms. Here's a full list of devices and apps:

Amazon Fire TV: CBS News, CNNgo, Fox News, NBC News, YouTube, BBC iPlayer

Apple TV: ABC News, CBS News, CNBC, CNNgo, PBS, YouTube, BBC iPlayer

Google Chromecast: ABC News, YouTube, BBC iPlayer

PS4: YouTube, BBC iPlayer

Roku: ABC News, CBS News, CNBC, CNNgo, Fox News, NBC News, YouTube, BBC iPlayer

Xbox One: ABC News, CBS News, YouTube, BBC iPlayer

Check out the YouTube links at the top of this page for full debate live streams, and stay tuned as we update with more information on the debates to come.

Presidential debate moderators

NBC Nightly News and Dateline NBC anchor Lester Holt moderated the first presidential debate. It was Holt's first time moderating a general election debate, after he moderated one of the Democratic Party primary debates earlier this year.

CBSN Anchor and CBS News Correspondent Elaine Quijano oversaw the one and only vice presidential debate of this election. Quijano leads the political coverage on CBSN and has anchored CBSN coverage of primary, debate and political convention nights throughout the 2016 presidential campaign. Quijano is a Chicago-area native and of Filipino descent, making her the first Asian American moderator for a general election debate.

Anderson Cooper, anchor for CNN, moderated the second presidential debate with Martha Raddatz, reporter for ABC News.

The third and final presidential debate will be moderated by Chris Wallace, anchor for Fox News Sunday.

Presidential debate topics

The second presidential debate was in the form of a town meeting, in which half of the questions were be posed directly by the citizen participants and the other half posed by the moderators, Anderson Cooper and Martha Raddatz. The topics were of broad public interest as reflected in social media and other sources. The candidates had two minutes to respond and there was an additional minute for Cooper and Raddatz to facilitate further discussion. Public participants were uncommitted voters selected by the Gallup Organization.

Hillary Clinton

Topics for the third presidential debate haven't been announced yet. We'll update this post as more information becomes available.