Since very few Americans will be able to see the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden in person, we’ve laid out what you can expect to find on TV and online. We included a guide to watching the ceremony remotely with friends and family.
Inauguration Day Basics
The inaugural ceremony will begin with the national anthem, sung by Lady Gaga, and invocation around 11:15 a.m EST. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will be sworn in by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor shortly before noon. President-elect Biden is expected to be sworn in by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts at noon on the U.S. Capitol’s West Front. Biden will give an inaugural address, and there will be a musical performances by Garth Brooks and Jennifer Lopez and a poetry reading by Amanda Gorman, 22, the youngest inaugural poet in memory.
Starting at 8:30 p.m., Tom Hanks will host a 90-minute television special called Celebrating America in lieu of normal in-person festivities. The program will include performances by Bruce Springsteen, John Legend, Demi Lovato, Jon Bon Jovi and Lin-Manuel Miranda of Broadway’s Hamilton, who will recite a classic work. Other artists include Justin Timberlake, Ant Clemons and the Foo Fighters.
Watch on TV
ABC kicks off its coverage at 7 a.m. on Good Morning America. Coverage will run until 4 p.m. There will be a news special on Biden at 8 p.m., as the lead-in to Celebrating America at 8:30 p.m.
CBS will cover the Inauguration from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. A news special will precede Celebrating America.
NBC will air six hours of Inauguration Day coverage from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. as well as Celebrating America.
PBS will air its PBS NewsHour coverage of Inauguration Day beginning at 10:30 a.m. and a prime time program from 8 to 10 p.m.
FOX will air five hours of Inauguration Day coverage, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
CNN plans to begin its inauguration coverage today at 4 p.m. and won’t let up until Thursday at 4 a.m.
Cheddar will offer live Inauguration Day reporting from Capitol Hill from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on a number of free streaming platforms, including Roku, PlutoTV, and Tubi. Pluto TV has a number of free in-browser livestreaming options, with no sign-up required. Its live news channels include Pluto TV News, CBSN, CNN, NBC News Now, Sky News, Bloomberg Television and Cheddar.
Other online options include:
- Amazon Prime Video
- Microsoft Bing
- NewsNOW from Fox
- The Biden Inaugural Committee at bideninaugural.org/watch and any of its social media channels on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Twitch.
Watch remotely with friends
Zoom: The webinar platform has a screen sharing program that lets you share what TV show you are watching. You can find a live stream at bideninaugural.org and control the volume of the sound and you have the option to leave your webcams visible, allowing you to see your friends while you watch. zoom.us.
Discord: Popular voice chat program Discord has a “Go Live” feature that allows people to stream their game play as well as what they are watching with fellow users. It’s simple to use and it’s a free app that includes non-gaming entertainment like movies or shows. Once you hit the Go Live button, you’ll have the option to set the name of what you are watching and which channel you’re in. Anyone who wants to watch will be able to see your broadcast and join it from the list. You’ll be able to see your stream as a small tile on the side of the screen, though you can double-click the tile to see it full-screen. Discord has a helpful page on how to Go Live at support.discord.com.
Amazon: The video feature for Prime members includes a Watch Party feature that lets you watch online together. The inauguration will be featured on Amazon Prime Video.
Yahoo: The social media site has a watch together function using its desktop feature where you go to yahoo.com/inauguration and select “Start a room.” Invite friends and family to the room and you can watch and chat for free during the live stream.
FaceTime: If you have an iPhone, iPad or a Mac computer, you can use FaceTime to video call your friends. For FaceTime to work, the person on the receiving end must have an Apple product as well.