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The Oscars are a celebration of cinematic drama, and at the same time, there is often plenty of real-life drama during the broadcast itself. From wacky hijinks like a streaker running across the stage in 1974 to entertaining goofs like the announcement of the wrong Best Picture winner in 2017 (oops!), the live awards ceremony never fails to surprise, sometimes shock, but always to entertain.
Here are a few of our favorite ways to stream the Oscars:
Every year the Oscar nominations feature a number of historic firsts, and 2019 is no exception. Among this year's groundbreaking nominations are recognition by the Academy of companies that provide original streaming content. Hulu has gained its first nomination ever for “Minding the Gap” in the documentary category, while while Netflix has gained its first Best Picture nomination for “Roma.”
Due to the increased presence of streaming services at the Academy Awards, it seems only fitting that cord cutters should be able to watch the glitz and glamour of the live ceremony as it happens, even without cable. In the past, that meant watching the ceremony over the air through a TV antenna. For viewers in certain areas, however, there is another option available. Streaming companies now offer “skinny bundles,” live TV streaming services that allow you to choose a package that includes the channels you want at the right price, with no long-term contracts, on the device you prefer.
Skinny bundles are relatively new and therefore not homogenized. In other words, they don't all offer the same content, nor are they all compatible on the same devices. Your choice of a skinny bundle to watch the Oscars likely depends on these factors, and that's why we have nominated (see what we did there?) some options for you to choose from to watch the Academy Awards streaming live without cable or antenna.
The Academy Awards are broadcast on ABC, which is one of the largest and most prominent TV networks in the country. That's good news for Oscar lovers because it means that many skinny bundles offer ABC as part of their channel lists, and you have lots of live streaming services to choose from. However, there is bad news as well. Because large networks operate by a number of nationwide local affiliates, ABC may not be available via skinny bundle in all markets. Large cities like New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago are pretty well covered, but viewers in other regions may be out of luck. Don't despair, however; there's a way to find out what you're buying before you make a commitment. When you sign up for these services, there is usually a button on the website that will tell you which specific channels are available in your area when you click it.
The following list includes the top available services with which to watch the Oscars and other live events on ABC in terms of pricing, platforms, and more. The envelope, please!
Stream the Oscars for Free with Hulu
For those who don't want to have to worry about different sized bundles at different prices, Hulu with Live TV is a very good, one-size-fits all option. Hulu with Live TV is a relative newcomer to the skinny bundle game, and initially its offerings were not quite up to par with its competitors, offering 50-plus channels for $39.99 and local broadcast channels only in the biggest markets.
However, while Hulu with Live TV's pricing has stayed the same at $39.99 per month, its offerings have improved dramatically since the beginning. It now offers upwards of 75 channels, depending on your area and not counting premium add-ons, and provides access to local networks, including ABC, in markets such as South Dakota, which (trust us) is one of the smallest of the small. These improvements just may make Hulu with Live TV the best value for the money when it comes to the most basic skinny bundles. However, if DVR is important to you, know that Hulu with Live TV offers it only at an additional cost. Read our full Hulu review to learn more.
PlayStation Vue was one of the first skinny bundles available, a pioneer in live TV streaming. Its branding may have hurt it in the eyes of the public as many potential customers may be under the mistaken impression that you need a PlayStation 4 video console in order to use it. You don't need the console, but you do need to create a PlayStation account in order to sign up for the service. Once you're signed up, however, PlayStation Vue is compatible with a wide range of other platforms:
PlayStation Vue offers a range of skinny bundles from small to large. The more channels available in the bundle, the more expensive it is. Assuming that ABC is an option in your area, it will probably be included in the smallest bundle, as one of the major networks, so you can subscribe at the Access level for $44.99 per month in order to watch the Oscars. PlayStation Vue is also one of the few skinny bundles to offer a DVR feature conducive to watching a live event like the Academy Awards. Read our full PlayStation Vue review to learn more.
The skinniest of DIRECTV NOW's skinny bundles is cheekily named “Live a Little” and costs $40 per month, about $5 less than PlayStation Vue's most basic bundle, Access. However, though you pay less for DIRECTV NOW at the most basic level, you end up getting a lot more. DIRECTV NOW offers 65-plus channels on its most basic bundle. It's also available on nearly as many platforms as PlayStation Vue, including iOS and Android devices, Roku, Fire TV, Chromecast, Apple TV, and on your computer with an in-browser app. Like PlayStation Vue, DIRECTV NOW offers a cloud DVR at no extra cost.
Spanish speakers may opt for the Todo Y Mas bundle, which offers 90-plus channels of English and Spanish programming for only $45 per month. By contrast, PlayStation Vue offers an Espanol Pack as an add-on for about $5 per month, but it only offers a handful of channels. Read our full DIRECTV NOW review to learn more.
All of these skinny bundles are available on a month-to-month subscription basis which you can cancel at any time. If you're really not interested in all that streaming has to offer and would just like to watch the Academy Awards at no cost, each of the services mentioned here offers a free trial period, so you could sign up just before the award ceremony and then cancel the subscription after Oscar Night is over but before the free trial period runs out. But ya didn't hear it from us, see!
Find out more about whether a skinny bundle may be right for you and/or the cinephile in your life. We offer additional information about live TV streaming services.
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