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How To Watch the 2020 Presidential Debate on Any Device

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The countdown is on to the final debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden. This last face-off takes place on October 22 at 9 pm ET at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee.

With just 12 days left until the election, it‘s an understatement to say a lot is riding on this debate. Tens of millions of voters will tune in to watch the candidates discuss major issues one last time.

According to a recent Pew Research poll, 66% of registered voters say the debates will be very or somewhat important in deciding their choice for president.

So if you want to catch every minute of the primetime action, this comprehensive guide will walk you through all the ways to live stream the final debate on any device you own – even without a cable subscription.

The Final Showdown: What‘s At Stake

The first presidential debate was marred by frequent interruptions and chaos. The second debate was canceled after Trump refused to participate virtually.

That puts even more focus on this final debate – one last chance for both candidates to make their case before a nationwide audience.

Some of the big topics expected to come up include:

  • The federal response to COVID-19
  • Rebuilding the economy
  • Race relations and inequality
  • National security and foreign policy
  • Healthcare and the Affordable Care Act
  • Immigration
  • Climate change

With Joe Biden leading nationally by around 10 points according to recent polls, the debate is seen as more of a must-win for Trump in trying to shift the dynamics of the race.

The 90-minute commercial-free debate will be moderated by NBC‘s Kristen Welker. It‘s divided into six 15-minute segments, each focused on a different topic.

How To Watch the Debate on TV and Cable Networks

If you have a cable, satellite, or streaming TV package, you‘ll have plenty of options to watch live on October 22 at 9 pm Eastern:

Network Channel
ABC Check local listings
CBS Check local listings
NBC Check local listings
Fox Check local listings
CNN Channel 202 on Dish and Sling TV
MSNBC Channel 209 on Dish and Sling TV
C-SPAN Check local listings

Many streaming services like YouTube TV, Hulu + Live TV, AT&T TV Now, and FuboTV also carry these major networks if you‘ve cut cable but still want access to live channels.

If you have an over-the-air (OTA) antenna, you can get ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, and other broadcast networks totally free.

How to Stream the Debate Without Cable

Don‘t have cable? No worries.

In today‘s streaming era, you‘ve got options. Here are some easy ways to live stream the final presidential debate without cable or satellite:


C-SPAN will provide the full debate on their YouTube channel for free – no login or subscription required.

You can stream this on pretty much any streaming device, smart TV, phone, tablet, or computer using the YouTube app or website.

Devices like Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV, Android TV, and gaming consoles all have access to YouTube.

News Streaming Services

Many newer streaming TV services offer some live news channels without cable.

For example, Sling TV has CNN, MSNBC, and FOX News on their "Blue" package for $30/month. But they‘re currently offering new users a free 3-day preview, which is perfect for watching the debate.

YouTube TV, Hulu + Live TV, and AT&T TV Now are some other options with multiple news channels. Each has a free trial if you haven‘t used them before.

Social Media

Major social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube tend to live stream the presidential debates.

Follow C-SPAN, major news networks, and political figures on YouTube or Twitter and look for their debate streams.


Locast is a free streaming service available in over 25 US cities that gives you access to local broadcast stations.

Many ABC, NBC, CBS, and Fox affiliates simulcast the debates. Check availability in your area.

Watch from Other Countries with a VPN

Trying to stream the US debate outside the country? You may run into geo-restrictions blocking access from international locations.

This is where a VPN (Virtual Private Network) comes in handy.

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A VPN extends a private encrypted tunnel from your device to a US server location. This hides your real IP address and tricks sites into thinking you‘re accessing from the US.

I recommend ExpressVPN which has blazing speeds and works seamlessly with streaming devices.

Right now you can get 3 months free with a 12-month plan.

Here are a few methods international viewers can use to watch with a VPN:

  • Connect to US server and access YouTube live stream
  • Connect to US server and watch C-SPAN website stream
  • Connect to US server and watch US news networks on Sling TV

Wherever you are around the world, a VPN gives you access to view the debate.

Don‘t Miss This Final Face-Off

We‘re in the home stretch now with the final Trump vs. Biden showdown just days away.

While Joe Biden currently has a solid lead in polls, this debate is still an opportunity for both candidates to sway undecided voters at the last minute.

I hope this guide gave you all the information you need to stream the debate live on any device.

With the many streaming and VPN options available in 2020, no one has to miss out on this significant political event.

Just decide which method works best for you, get your devices ready, and enjoy watching history unfold!


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