By Caroline Shannon-Karasik
Updated: Dec 27, 2018 @ 11:27 am
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Unless you plan to brave the glorious madness that is Times Square on New Year’s Eve, then chances are high you're scoping out the best way to catch the festivities — whether you’re hanging with friends or cozied up on the couch at home.

If you want to watch the 2019 New Year’s Eve ball drop for free, then you’re in luck — because there are quite a few options. From traditional television to free apps you can download to take advantage of a subscription service at just the right time, here’s where you’ll find the best method for ringing in the New Year with America's fave tradition.

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Cable-Affiliated

ABC

Of course, if you have cable, then you’ll probably just be tuning in to the New Year’s Eve festivities via your television. If that’s the case, then there are several options from which to choose, starting with none other than Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest. ABC’s coverage of the events starts at 8 p.m. ET and, in addition to Seacrest, Jenny McCarthy will co-host, while Ciara — who will also perform — and Lucy Hale will cover the events in the West Coast and New Orleans, respectively.

If you’re not near a television, you can access ABC’s coverage by downloading the free Watch ABC mobile app or watching on the network’s website, ABC.go.com. But there’s one caveat — you will have to have a cable plan subscription in order to access this service and view the television special.

NBC

If NBC is your network of choice, then this year you can tune in to see not only host Carson Daly, but co-hosts Chrissy Teigen and SNL’s Leslie Jones, according to E! News. Keith Urban will perform live from Nashville and also host the Jack Daniel's Music City Midnight: New Year's Eve from Nashville's Bicentennial State Park, the publication reported. NBC’s special airs Dec. 31 from 10 to 11 p.m. ET. After taking a break for local news, the show will return for the countdown, starting with coverage at 11:30 p.m. ET.

CNN

Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen will once again host CNN’s New Year’s Eve coverage from Times Square, starting at 8 p.m. ET. The network will also offer an option to live stream New Year's Eve coverage, without requiring login to a cable provider, on Dec. 31 from 8 p.m. ET to 1:05 a.m. ET., according to a news release.

The CNN live stream will be available on CNN.com’s homepage and across mobile devices via CNN’s apps for iOS and Android. It can also be viewed on CNNgo (at CNN.com/go on your desktop, smartphone, and iPad, and via CNNgo apps for Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire, Chromecast and Android TV).

Fox

And Fox will air Fox’s New Year Eve With Steve Harvey: Live From Time’s Square, starting at 8 p.m. ET, according to Variety. Maria Menounos will co-host the special and musical performances will include Sting, Robin Thicke, Florence + the Machine and Jason Aldean. The show will break at 10 p.m. ET, but return again for live coverage from 11 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.

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Streaming Services & Websites

Times Square Website & Social Media

You can also head straight to the source and tune in to the live webcast coverage of the big night directly on the Times Square website where, according to the site, you will be able to enjoy commercial-free “coverage of the festivities leading up to the Ball Drop at midnight, including backstage access, behind-the-scenes stories and interviews with revelers, performers and other celebrities.”

Mobile viewers can also stream for free by following any of the following links: TimesSquareNYC.org, NewYearsEve.nyc and TimesSquareBall.net.

If you want to stream via social media, then Times Square also offers options for viewing on Facebook and Twitter.

Hulu Live TV

Sign up for Hulu Live TV’s free one-week trial and you’ll have access to coverage from all of the stations — ABC, NBC, CNN and FOX — and their corresponding NYE coverage. Bonus? Before your trial ends, you’ll also have a chance to binge the shows you’ve been dying to see (hello, Handmaid’s Tale). The service is $39.99 per month once the trial runs out.

YouTube TV

Subscribe to a one-week free trial of Google’s YouTube TV and you can easily access all of the major networks that will be covering the biggest night of the (new) year. It’s important to note, however, that the service is only available in select markets, so you’ll want to do some pre-NYE research before banking on it to watch the ball drop. The service is $40 per month once the trial runs out.

DIRECTV Now

Like Hulu Live TV and YouTube TV, DIRECTV Now offers a free one-week trial that you might want to consider as an option for your New Year’s Eve coverage. The service offers every major network and, if you decide to keep it once the trial runs out, you’ll find the subscription has more than 60 live channels that cost $35 per month to access.

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