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Where to Watch the Presidential Inauguration Online

by Joe Kukura on January 18, 2013

watching Obama inauguration onlineIn November 2012, after months of campaigning and presidential debates President Obama was re-elected to serve a second term in office and now the Presidential Inauguration is just days away. For the 57th Presidential Inauguration, there are about 57 different web sites for watching President Obama’s inauguration online, for free, live, and in high-definition (HD). Choosing a site that’s streaming President Obama’s second inauguration live is more a matter of picking whether you’d rather play with camera angles, or switch between video of simultaneous inauguration events, or follow Facebook and Twitter commentary while watching Obama’s inauguration. Whether you’re a fan of history, punditry, or the Twitterati, one of these major news sites will have webcast enhancements to suit your tastes for watching Obama’s inauguration online on Monday, January 21, 2013.

Did you know that President Obama’s real swearing-in for his second term is not on Monday, but on Sunday, January 20 just before noon? January 20, 2013 is Inauguration Day as specified by the 20th Amendment. The official ceremony on Monday is just a symbolic re-inauguration. To watch President Obama’s technical inauguration on January 20, tune-in to shortly before Noon for a free live stream of the historic (but brief!) ceremony.

The public Swearing-In Ceremony begins at 11:30 a.m. EST. The President is actually sworn in at 12 p.m. local time in Washington, D.C., as specified by the 20th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Beyonce will sing the National Anthem moments thereafter, with Kelly Clarkson and James Taylor each performing a musical selection as well. We can only hope one of them wears something as memorable as Aretha Franklin’s inauguration hat.


For traditional Presidential Inauguration live coverage without all the fancy social networking features, C-SPAN Live Video provides a no-frills broadcast of the Inauguration Ceremony and the parade that follows, with closed captioning available. C-SPAN’s online live video coverage of the inauguration begins Monday at 7 a.m. EST.

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Meanwhile, several streaming online news sites will enhance their coverage with punditry, analysis, and interactive features. will begin streaming the inauguration live beginning at 10 a.m. EST on Monday, and will feature a 180-degree panoramic view of the ceremony. will also livestream the inauguration with coverage beginning at 10 a.m. EST, and will provide options to switch to other live video coverage of related inauguration events in Washington, D.C. later in the day. Additionally, FOX News will stream the inauguration and the inaugural address for free.


CNN normally requires a cable subscription to watch its online broadcast, but it will stream the inauguration for free to everyone with an Internet connection beginning at 10:30 a.m. EST on Monday. You can watch the CNN inauguration coverage at, while simultaneous alternate inauguration events will be streamed at

For those who want to experience the Presidential Inauguration in the social media sphere, CNN has also partnered with Facebook and the social network’s newly acquired photo site Instagram for Inauguration Day. Facebook will track the viral moments and most-mentioned terms from inauguration-watchers, reporting the social conversation exclusively to CNN. Instagram will constantly collate all the best uploaded Inauguration Day photos marked #CNN, and create an interactive photo display at for those of us who can’t be in Washington, D.C.


If you prefer to follow news on Twitter, the ABC News livestream of the inauguration is enhanced with a “breaking hashtags” widget that identifies trending topics and hashtags to help your inauguration tweets soar in the Twitter-verse. Kicking off at 9:30 a.m. EST on Monday, ABC News’ free inauguration livestream will also display an interactive hover graphic telling you who’s who at the podium during the swearing-in, and a dynamic video map that tracks President Obama through the parade and other activities.


Most of the livestreams mentioned above also have mobile apps that will webcast inauguration coverage to your smartphone or tablet. You can stream the inauguration on your mobile device with the NBC Politics app for iOS, the CBS News app, FOX News app, CNN app, or ABC News app. We should note that if you are using these apps over a data network, charges may apply depending on your data plan. To avoid extra fees, use the WiFi network on your phone.

There’s also the official Inaugural 2013 app that delivers a live video stream of the swearing-in to your iPhone, iPad, or Android phone. The app is primarily designed to help those in Washington, D.C. find parade route watching spots, parking, and available restrooms. Those not in D.C., though, can use the app for a video livestream of the Inauguration, and to follow real-time Twitter and Facebook inaugural comments. The app will even send you text messages alerting you when the live video is about to begin streaming – but be warned this app has aroused some privacy concerns.

Which site will you use to watch the Inauguration? Do you know which Presidents didn’t give an inauguration speech? Will you watch a swearing-in that technically already happened the day before? Or will you just tune in to see Beyonce? Do solemnly swear your opinions in the comments section below.


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