Oscars 2016: How to Watch the 88th Academy Awards Live Online

Coverage for the 88th Academy Awards, aka the Oscars, will air live this Sunday, February 28th at 4 p.m. PT (7 p.m. ET). The ceremony itself, hosted by Chris Rock, is set to begin at 5:30 p.m. PT (8:30 p.m. ET).

This is the third year that ABC will be streaming the event online, and the third year that ABC has made getting access to the stream a task almost as tall as trying to survive on your own after being stranded on Mars.

Once again, you'll need to sign in to a cable or satellite subscription to watch the stream (unless you have a TV and a decent antenna, of course). If that weren't enough, only a select few markets will have access to the stream, which, according to Variety, is so that ABC can gain (or keep) the upper hand when it comes time to negotiate a new broadcast deal for the awards.

This adequately sums up the above paragraph.

How to Watch the 2016 Oscars Online

For those of you that are eligible, you can watch on ABC.com, or on the WATCH ABC app for one of the following devices.

The Watch ABC app could formerly be downloaded for Windows devices as well, but ABC seems to have pulled the plug on the Windows version of the app. So, you'll either have to watch it on your browser, or use a different device if you have one.

There's a Catch...

As we so subtly illustrated above, ABC's Academy Awards stream is quite limited in who will be able to watch it. First of all, you're going to need to be a subscriber (or have access to login credentials) to one of the following cable providers:

  • AT&T U-Verse
  • Cablevision
  • Charter
  • Comcast
  • Cox
  • Google Fiber
  • Midcontinent
  • Verizon FiOS

The award ceremony's ratings were down almost 20% last year, and surely the solution is to restrict people from watching.

Oh, but the restrictions don't end there. Even if you're a subscriber to one of the cable providers we listed above, that might not be enough. The live stream will only be broadcast in the following eight markets. Yeesh.

  • Chicago
  • Fresno
  • Houston
  • Los Angeles
  • New York City
  • Philadelphia
  • Raleigh-Durham
  • San Francisco

As a backhanded consolation, ABC will let people in all markets watch the stream for seven days—from February 29th to March 6th—after the ceremony, but you'll still need that cable subscription to watch it.

There's no word about whether or not astronauts will have access to the Oscars stream.

If you have more questions, and a couple hours on your hands, you can read ABC's FAQ here.

How to Watch the Oscars Outside the U.S.

If you live outside of the United States, you still have an opportunity to catch the Academy Awards, on TV or online. For a full list of the local times, and for more territories, check out The Hollywood Report's detailed list.

  • Africa: Pay TV operator M-Net's M-Net Movies Premiere channel will air the ceremony live.
  • Australia: The Nine Network will air the awards live and via their 9Now online service.
  • Canada: CTV will air red carpet footage and the ceremony live on TV and online via CTV.ca or CTV Go.
  • China: M1905 will air the Oscars, with CCTV 6 showing it afterward.
  • France: CanalPlus will be showing coverage and the ceremony.
  • Germany: ProSieben will air the ceremony and coverage, and will stream it on its website.
  • Hungary: Duna TV will air coverage and the ceremony.
  • India: 21st Century Fox's Star India will air the coverage and ceremony on its Star Movies and Star Movies Select HD channels, and will be streamed on hotstar.
  • Italy: Sky Italia's temporary Sky Cinema Oscar HD channel will broadcast the ceremony along with Oscar movies.
  • Japan: Wowow's Prime channel will air the coverage and ceremony.
  • Korea: CJ E&M's cable network CGV will be showing the Oscars.
  • Mexico: TNT Latin America will air the red carpet footage and ceremony and will offer online coverage through its TNT Go service. The free-to-air network Azteca 7 will also air the broadcast.
  • More Latin America: Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Central America, Caribbean: TNT Latin America's coverage will also be available in these markets as well.
  • Poland: CanalPlus will air red carpet coverage and the ceremony, as well as its Canal Plus VOD service.
  • Spain: Pay TV provider Telefonica will air coverage and the ceremony on the Canal Plus Premieres channel.
  • UK: Sky will use its pop-up channel, Sky Movies Oscars, which temporarily takes over the Sky Movies Greats channel through March 6th, to show the Oscars ceremony.

Alternative Ways to Watch the Oscars

In 2014, you were able to watch the Academy Awards broadcast using Aereo's service, but that has since been obliterated by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Aereo has partnered with TiVo to "keep the dream alive," but the "dream" in this case is basically Aereo continuing to do business. You'll need a cable subscription and an expensive cable box to use the service, so I wouldn't bother with that at this point.

And again, if you have a TV and a decent antenna, you're all set. But considering that the TV antenna racket has been in decline for years, I'm guessing you probably don't have one.

What's Left to Do?

If you can't find a way to watch the broadcast of the ceremony itself, ABC is opening the live stream of its backstage coverage to everyone. The coverage is hosted by Orlando Jones, a.k.a. the "Make 7 Up Yours" guy.

If that doesn't satisfy you, you can figure out something else to do for five hours on Sunday night, and check the results on Google. It's a near-certainty that anything funny, interesting, or just plain crazy that happens during the ceremony will be up on the Web in no time. You could even spend the time getting caught up on this year's nominees.

But if you need to watch the ceremony live, check around and see if a nearby bar or restaurant is hosting an Oscars watch party. Half the fun of watching is making jokes at Hollywood's expense to fuel your delusions of grandeur—might as well do it in good company.

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