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How to watch the Oscars if you don't have cable

Oscar Sunday is fast approaching. Find out how you can stream the awards show without a cable subscription.

The 89th Academy Awards will take place on Sunday, February 26. Red carpet coverage begins at 7 p.m. ET, 4 p.m. PT, and the awards ceremony gets underway at 8:30 p.m ET, 5:30 p.m. PT. Jimmy Kimmel will host. Justin Timberlake, Lin-Manuel Miranda, John Legend and Sting will sing. ABC will broadcast.

ABC will also let you stream the show for free, but there are two catches: you'll need to prove you're a pay TV subscriber (or use an antenna or streaming service) and live in one of only a handful of TV markets in the US.

Limited markets for live streaming

And the Oscar for making it more difficult than it needs to be to live stream the Oscars goes to... ABC!

You can stream the Oscars on or the ABC app. The ABC app works with iOS, Android and Kindle Fire mobile devices along with set-top devices including Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV and Roku.

According to ABC, the following are the only markets where live streaming is available:

Live streaming of The Oscars award show is available with a participating TV provider in the following markets: Chicago, Fresno, Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, Raleigh-Durham and San Francisco.

Customers with a DirecTV subscription in the following markets will also be able to watch the ABC live stream of The Oscars: Albuquerque, Boston, Ft. Smith/Fayetteville, Jackson (Mississippi), Kansas City, Milwaukee, Monterey-Salinas, Oklahoma City, Omaha, Pittsburgh, Portland-Auburn (Maine), Savannah and West Palm Beach.

But what if I don't have cable?

Cord cutters have two options: hook up a digital antenna to pull in ABC for free (we have a few, cheap suggestions for the best indoor antennas) or use Sling TV or PlayStation Vue to live stream ABC. Both streaming services offer seven-day free trials, but you'll need to make sure a live stream of ABC (and not just On Demand) is available where you live.

If you go the Sling TV route, you'll need the basic $20-a-month Orange package plus the $5 Broadcast Extra package that adds ABC. You can add the Broadcast Extra package to your free trial, but make sure you live in one of the few markets where you can live stream ABC; you can plug in your zip code on this Sling TV FAQ page.

The same deal applies to PlayStation Vue -- you'll need to live in one of a handful of markets to watch a live stream of ABC and the Oscars. When you go to the PlayStation Vue site, it locates your market and displays the plans available to you. If you are staring at a lineup of its Slim packages, then you don't live in an area where you can get live TV and can watch shows only On Demand (read: after they have aired live). If you live in an area where a live stream of ABC is available, the cheapest $39.99-a-month Access package includes ABC.

To prep for the big show, read CNET's predictably geeky take on the Oscar nominations.