Donald Trump’s year-plus of primary campaigning officially comes to an end at the Republican National Convention, which kicks off Monday in Cleveland, Ohio. It’s here that Trump will cement his name as the party’s nominee for President of the United States.
The Republican National Convention dates span four days, from July 18 – July 21, with the presumptive nominee and speakers covering topics such as Benghazi, immigration and the economy. Trump’s invited Republican Convention 2016 speakers include Silicon Valley entrepreneur and Facebook board member Peter Thiel, vice presidential nominee Mike Pence, and a host of other big names and celebrities.
With the nominee all but confirmed, the biggest drama heading into the RNC is whether some delegates will revolt against Trump. It promises to be must-see viewing no matter the (expected) outcome, and there are plenty of websites, TV channels and apps that will showcase the convention live and for free.
Whether you plan to cheer Trump’s victory or watch in preparation for the Democratic National Convention, we’ve got the info you need to decide when and how to watch the RNC.
Republican Convention schedule and speakers
In addition to Trump, the RNC – as with any party convention – will feature a wide range of speakers who will touch on a variety of topics important to the nominee’s platform.
The official Republican Convention 2016 website hosts the complete list of speakers, but doesn’t say what nights they’ll take the stage or what they’ll talk about. The New York Times obtained a lineup of who will be speaking, on what topics and when, though that’s subject to change as well.
Not even Trump’s team seems to know the final schedule. They claimed former NFL star Tim Tebow would speak on the final night, only for Tebow to deny it on his Instagram. Other important guests, like House Speaker Paul Ryan and Dr. Ben Carson, don’t appear to have scheduled slots yet. It also doesn’t appear as though New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will speak at the RNC, despite speculation he might.
Expected speakers include Trump’s wife, Melania, and his four adult children, Rudy Giuliani, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, UFC President Dana White, Governors Mary Fallin, Asa Hutchinson, Rick Scott and Scott Walker, Pence, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Senator Ted Cruz, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, astronaut Eileen Collins, LPGA golfer Natalie Gulbis, Thiel and Trump himself.
The anticipated topics for each day of the convention, as reported by the New York Times, are Benghazi and immigration, the economy, the vice presidential nominee’s address and Trump’s acceptance speech on the final day.
Watch the Republican Convention on TV
Most major American news channels and broadcast networks are devoting their primetime slots to the Republican National Convention.
On dedicated news channels, CNN beats the competition in sheer quantity: it’s promised two weeks of 24-hour coverage of both the Republican and Democratic Conventions starting Saturday, July 16. Dozens of CNN anchors will be on site as programs like America’s Choice 2016, Inside Politics and CNN Tonight air live in Cleveland across CNN’s channels. Shows will also be livestreamed online and on mobile via CNNgo.
Fox News and MSNBC are also offering all-day coverage of the RNC on their TV channels. PBS NewsHour is teaming up with NPR to cover each night of the convention from 8pm to 11pm ET on both TV and the radio.
On the major channel front, both NBC and ABC are dedicating their 10pm ET slots to recapping and discussing the Republican Convention on all four days. ABC is also broadcasting its major programming – Good Morning America, Nightline, and World News Tonight – from the convention center Monday through Thursday.
Republican Convention online, on Facebook and Twitter, and in virtual reality
The Republican Convention will have more streaming options online than ever before. Whether you care more about social media updates, pundits’ opinions or unfiltered access to the proceedings, we’ve laid out your best options.
YouTube is once again the official livestream provider of the Republican Convention. Head to youtube.com/gopconvention for direct access to Trump and the speakers, minus traditional media commentary.
Google, YouTube’s parent company, has upgraded its Search results accordingly: search “Republican National Convention”, and Google will air the livestream in your browser, along with a lineup of speakers, relevant social media posts, and summaries of recent speeches and events.
Facebook, meanwhile, is pushing Facebook Live as the best way for users to get unfiltered access to politicians and the media. CNN, C-SPAN, Fox News, the New York Times and other media outlets will stream on Live from the convention, and politicians – including Trump – have already used Live to speak to voters directly.
If you plan on live-tweeting the RNC or voicing your opinion from the other side of the political aisle, CBS News and Twitter have partnered to make joining the conversation easy. The CBS news stream will be “enhanced with live, convention-related tweets” from pundits and Republican Convention speakers in the Twitter Moment for the convention, so check Twitter’s main page for the stream.
Steadfast Bing enthusiasts can enjoy a similar experience: starting Monday, Bing will house a livestream directly in its browser with real-time tweet updates, along with aggregated news links curated based on the speakers and trending topics.
Even Twitch is stepping into the competitive gameplay of American politics; it’ll be streaming the convention each night on a dedicated channel with special politically themed emoticons, and you can host the stream on your channel to encourage discussion in your chat. Unfortunately, the RNC apparently forbade Twitch users from co-streaming the event with their own commentary, but you will be able to do so for the upcoming Democratic Convention.
Finally, if you missed your flight to Cleveland and wish you were at the convention, several channels are ready to simulate the experience for you in VR. You can also use your Google Cardboard to livestream the RNC in 360º VR, and CNN plans to air certain segments and delegate activity in VR on the CNN Politics mobile app. The official RNC 2016 app contains a 360º video of the convention center as well.
Best apps and devices to stream the Republican Convention
In the post-cable age, there’s no shortage of set-top boxes and apps through which to watch the Republican National Convention. Here’s a rundown of the apps on your chosen device you can use to watch the proceedings.
Amazon Fire TV: CBS News, CNNgo, Fox News, RNC 2016: Official App, NBC News, Twitch, YouTube
Apple TV: ABC News, CBS News, CNBC, PBS, YouTube
Google Chromecast: ABC News, Twitch, YouTube
PS4: Twitch, YouTube
Roku: ABC News, CBS News, CNBC, CNNgo, Fox News, NBC News, Twitch, YouTube
Xbox One: ABC News, CBS News, Twitch, YouTube
For mobile users, the best option is likely the RNC 2016: Official App, which can be found on the Apple Store and Google Play. This dedicated app features a livestream, 360º streaming options, and a map for Cleveland convention goers.
We’ll keep this post updated as more information on the event, schedule and speakers comes in. Stay tuned for our guide on how to watch the Democratic Convention, which begins July 25.