It’s time for the Oscars. And while you might be able now to stream some of the movies up for the coveted golden statue, can you actually watch the show if you’ve cut the cord and dropped your cable subscription?
Well, the reality is you don’t have a lot of choices beyond the traditional ABC network unless you can pick up ABC via a paid alternative.
Still, you do have several options, and if all you care about is seeing who’s wearing what, those options are 100% free.
The Academy Awards broadcast begins Sunday, Feb. 9, at 8 p.m. ET, with a pre-show telecast on television, and streams to the ABC website and ABC app. The pre-show starts at 6:30 p.m. ET.
Live-stream: ABC is offering a live showing of the telecast to its ABC.com website and ABC app, but it won’t play unless you authenticate the signal with proof of your cable or satellite subscription.
However, the pre-show offers more options, and it’s totally free to anyone who logs into Twitter, beginning at 3:30 p.m. ET. The live stream will be available at https://twitter.com/theacademy or via @TheAcademy.
Subscribe to cable alternative services and watch there: AT&T Now, Hulu with Live TV or YouTube TV are options mentioned by ABC on its website. These streaming services, via streaming players like the Amazon Fire TV Stick, Roku and Apple TV, charge a monthly fee for access to fewer channels than cable but can be viewed on TVs, smartphones and tablets (even some cars) without renting cable equipment. The other cable TV alternative services, notably Sling and Fubo.TV, don’t carry ABC channels nationally, so you’re probably out of luck there.
AT&T ($65 monthly), Hulu with Live TV ($55 monthly) and YouTube ($50) all offer free trials. So if you’ve cut the cord and don’t have authentication, you can still sign up Sunday morning and cancel Monday without having to pay.
Another almost free option: Buy an antenna.
Today’s antennas are a far cry from the days of the rabbit ears, which needed to be constantly adjusted to get better reception. For just around $30, you can pick up an antenna that comes with a booster, to amplify the local signal. Plug it into the back of your TV, usually in the HDMI port, and scan the local signals for channels. Many of the antennas promise multiple channels.
Many top brands include Mohu and Vansky.
You can catch up on the Awards by watching many of the nominated films online.
Oscar predictions: Who will win Academy Awards – and who should
“Marriage Story” and “The Irishman” are both available for viewing on Netflix, as well as “Two Popes,” which is nominated in the acting and screenplay categories. Some of the other Best Picture nominees can be viewed on video-on-demand from a variety of sources, including Amazon Prime, YouTube Movies and Google Play. They include “Ford v Ferrari,” “Joker,” “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” and “Parasite.”
Follow USA TODAY’s Jefferson Graham (@jeffersongraham) on Twitter