How to watch the Democrats duke it out online

Cable networks hid two of the first five presidential debates behind paywalls, frustrating cord cutters interested in politics. Saturday's debate will be available live online.

Max Taves Staff Reporter
Max writes about venture capitalism and startups while seeking out the new new thing to come out of Silicon Valley. He joined CNET News from The Wall Street Journal, where he contributed stories on commercial real estate, architecture, big data and more. He's also written for LA Weekly, Slate and American Lawyer Media's The Recorder, where he covered legal battles in Silicon Valley. Max holds degrees from Georgetown University and Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.
Max Taves
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Don't have cable or even a TV? You can watch Saturday night's debate online for free.

© Ted Soqui/Ted Soqui Photography/Corbis

Cord cutters will have another chance to watch presidential contenders trade barbs.

On Saturday night, the CBS Television Network, which is hosting a debate between Democratic hopefuls in Des Moines, Iowa, is making the event available live online. CBS owns CBS Interactive, the parent of CNET.

So far, cord cutters haven't been guaranteed a look at the debates during the election season.

Three cable news networks hosted the first five presidential debates. Fox News and cable business network CNBC kept live streams of two of those debates behind paywalls. The quarter of American households that don't have cable were unable to watch those debates in real time.

CNN made the Democratic and Republican debates it hosted in September and October free to both subscribers and nonsubscribers online. On Tuesday, Fox Business made its Republican debate in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, available free on its website as well.

CBS is a broadcast television network, so watching the debate Saturday night pitting former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton against Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley will be free for anyone with a TV.

The increasingly large portion of American TV watchers who no longer have cable or even televisions will be able to watch the debate Saturday night on CBS News' website or app, or on the viewer embedded below. The app is available on Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire, Android TV and Microsoft's gaming console, the Xbox One.

Don't want to watch it there? Then go to Twitter, where CBS News says it'll be whittling down "the millions of tweets" about the event and finding the good ones for you. The official hashtag for the debate will be #DemDebate. The news outlet has also partnered with Twitter, which, according to the social network, will "provide CBS News with real-time data and insights, and will bring live reactions and questions from voters around the country onto the debate stage."

For a full list of places to watch the two-hour-long Democratic debate, which begins at 6 p.m. PT, or visit CBS News.

Update, November 14 at 9:23 a.m. PT:
Adds information on the Twitter partnership.