Presidential debates are always important, but rarely are they this interesting. On September 26, two of the most polarizing candidates in U.S. history will face off on a stage at Hofstra University on Long Island, and it's sure to be must-see TV. If you don't have cable, don't worry – you can still participate in this celebration of the democratic process (and catch all of the arguing and insults, of course). Here's how to watch the presidential debate online without cable.

What Channel Is the Presidential Debate On? What Time Is the Presidential Debate On?

Here's some good news for you: this debate is on a ton of channels. All four major networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX) will air the debate live, as will the major news networks (CNN, C-SPAN, and FOX News) and PBS. The debate will air on Monday, September 26 from 9:00 – 10:30 PM Eastern Time.

All of this coverage means there are a ton of ways to watch. Here are your best bets for watching the debate online.

Stream the Presidential Debate for Free on YouTube


Well, this is easy! YouTube will be streaming the debate for free, so all you have to do is hop on your computer and streaming device and tune in. Here's the link to YouTube's live streaming page – enjoy!

Of course, not everyone wants to watch via YouTube, so we'll cover all the other ways to watch below.

Sling TV

Sling TV

If you want to watch the CNN broadcast of the debate, your best bet is one of the two major OTT skinny bundles. The first of these is Sling TV, which can deliver you CNN for as little as $20 a month – making it the cheapest way to get America's most famous 24-hour news network. You can try out Sling TV through their week-long free trial. The skinny bundle option has the advantage of allowing you to watch CNN's pre- and post-debate coverage and analysis, which you won't be able to get from the YouTube stream.

PlayStation Vue

PlayStation Vue

Sling TV's primary competition is a bit more expensive, but it offers FOX News as well as CNN, giving you two ways to watch the debate (and two places to watch pre- and post-debate commentary). Like Sling TV, PlayStation Vue offers a week-long free trial. If you're considering holding onto your skinny bundle subscription after the free trial, you should weigh the differences between PlayStation Vue and Sling TV. You can check out our comparison of the two skinny bundle services here.

Free Over-the-Air TV

Digital TV Antenna

If you want to watch the debate on ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, or PBS without cable, your best bet is to invest in an antenna and start getting those channels for free over the air. Picking out an antenna is easy, and this is the most affordable way to get the major network experience. Your actual viewing options will depend on where you live and how close your local broadcasters are, but it's very likely that at least one of the networks airing the debate is within range of an affordable antenna.

CBS All Access

CBS All Access

CBS All Access offers on-demand content to all subscribers, but it also gives certain markets live streams of their local CBS affiliates. If you're in one of those markets, this is a good option for watching the debate live on CBS without cable. CBS All Access offers a free trial. You can read our full review of CBS All Access here. The service also recently added a commercial-free option, though it's important to note that this only covers the on-demand content and that live TV still has commercials (that's not a concern for this debate, though, since the entire hour and a half broadcast will be commercial-free).