How to Watch the State of the Union Live Stream

Catch the annual SOTU address from the U.S. president

The State of the Union is an annual event where the President of the United States addresses a joint session of Congress in order to propose their legislative agenda for the next year in broad strokes, address issues that they find important, and assert their view as to the most important national priorities. All the major broadcasters carry the event, so you have a huge number of choices as to where to watch the State of the Union live stream.

Event Details

Date: TBA (Likely February 2nd or 9th 2021)

Time: 6 p.m. PT/ 9 p.m. ET

Location: U.S. House of Representatives (joint session of Congress)

Channels: ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, Fox News, CNN, MSNBC

Streams: YouTube, ABC.com, NBC.com, CBS.com, Fox.com, FoxNews.com, CNN.com, MSNBC.com

How to Watch the State of the Union Live Stream

The State of the Union is one of the rare instances where all of the major broadcast networks and cable news networks drop what they're doing to broadcast the exact same event. They each provide their own context and commentary, but you really do have a lot of different choices when it comes to deciding where to watch the State of the Union live stream.

Streaming the State of the Union on a tablet.
 TommL / iStock / Getty

Here are your main options for streaming the State of the Union:

  • The official White House stream: This stream is available through the White House YouTube channel. It's free, and it's a very easy option, but it doesn't come with any additional commentary. It simply provides the speech, and that's it.
  • Broadcast and and cable network websites: Every channel that broadcasts the State of the Union also live streams it via their website. If you have a cable subscription, you can access these streams for free. Some networks choose to make their streams free for everyone during the speech, but that isn't a guarantee.
  • Television streaming services: Services like YouTube TV and Hulu With Live TV that include local channels and cable news networks are a good place for cord cutters to stream the State of the Union. You can watch the stream on your channel of choice, including all of the same commentary included with the broadcast version.

Streaming the State of the Union on YouTube

A screenshot of the State of the Union on YouTube.

The easiest way to stream the State of the Union is on YouTube via the official White House YouTube Channel. When the State of the Union draws near, the White House puts out an official link to the live stream. Until then, just follow the White House YouTube channel, and you'll automatically receive a notification when the stream goes live.

How to Stream the State of the Union With a Cable Subscription

If you have a cable subscription, or someone is willing to provide you with cable or satellite login credentials, then you can stream the State of the Union for free from a massive number of locations. Some of these sources provide a free stream with or without a cable subscription, but your subscription guarantees you access.

To use these sources, you need to navigate to the indicated site and then log in with your cable or satellite credentials. In some cases, if your internet provider and cable provider are the same, you will be logged in automatically.

In addition to the State of the Union live stream, each of these options provides additional commentary, context, and other content that you don't get if you just watch the basic White House live stream that's available on YouTube.

Here are some official sites where you can stream the State of the Union:

  • ABC.com: The official live stream of the ABC network.
  • NBC.com: The official live stream for the NBC network and MSNBC.
  • Fox.com: The official live stream for the Fox network.
  • Fox News Go: The official live stream for Fox News.
  • CNNgo: The official live stream for CNN.

How to Stream the State of the Union Without a Cable Subscription

If you don't have a cable subscription, and you want to watch the State of the Union with live commentary, then you'll need to sign up for a television streaming service. Most of these services also have a free trial you can use to stream the State of the Union and decide if a television streaming service is something you'll use.

These services are a lot like cable, in that they provide live access to the same channels, but they tend to be less expensive and not lock you into a long subscription. Each television streaming service has its own set of channels, so the key is to find the one that offers the channels you're most interested in.

Here are the best television streaming services to watch the State of the Union:

  • YouTube TV is Google's live television streaming service. This is the best choice for the State of the Union if you want the choice to watch on your local channels and the major cable news networks. They offer ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, and more in most areas in addition to Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC. They offer a free trial.
  • Hulu + Live TV is the next best choice if you're looking for the option to stream local coverage of the State of the Union. It offers local ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC channels in almost as many areas as YouTube TV, and also carries the major cable networks. They provide a 30-day free trial.
  • AT&T TV Now was previously known as DirecTV Now, it has fairly decent coverage for local ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC stations. They also have all the major news channels. The catch is that some of their plans are quite expensive.
  • Sling TV is a great option because it's the most affordable service on this list, but they only offers NBC and Fox in a very limited number of markets. Their affordable Sling Blue plan include CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC though, so it's a good option if you aren't looking for local coverage. A free trial is also available.

How to Stream the State of the Union With a VPN

Since the State of the Union is mainly intended for U.S. audiences, most of the streams are blocked in other countries. If you find yourself in an area where official streams of the State of the Union are blocked, then your best bet is to try a virtual private network (VPN).

VPNs are designed to protect your data and identity online, but they also hide the source of your internet connection. By hiding the source of your connection, you can fool streaming sites into thinking you're in a different location.

Here's how you can use a VPN to stream the State of the Union if it's blocked where you are:

  1. Sign up for a VPN service and install the associated app on your computer.

  2. Navigate to one of the streams listed above, and see if it's available or blocked.

  3. If the stream is blocked, try a different stream or a different VPN.