New York’s Times Square will ring in the new year tonight with its annual dropping of the ball, a ceremonial event that dates back to 1907.
Attendance this year is expected to return to pre-pandemic levels, which by city estimates means over 1 million sweaty, screaming New Year’s Eve revelers could be packed into a few-block radius. Put another way, in-person visitors to Times Square can expect big crowds, lots of noise, security checks, an ocean of paper hats and noisemakers, zero portable bathrooms, and a literal ton of confetti.
If that sounds like your idea of hell, we have some good news: Watching the Times Square ball drop and guest performances live from the comfort of your home has never been easier. Even if you’ve cut the cable cord a long time ago, there are endless free and paid options to stream the festivities on your computer, phone, or smart TV. We’ve rounded up some ways to do that below:
Times Square webcast
As it does every year, the Times Square Alliance, which organizes the ceremony, is offering a free live stream. The lighting and raising of the New Year’s Eve ball begin at 6 p.m. ET, and the countdown begins 60 seconds before midnight. (You can check out the full schedule of events here.)
- Times Square NYC YouTube stream (also embedded below)
NYE coverage on cable or broadcast TV
Most major television networks are also offering their own coverage of New Year’s Eve. Here’s a roundup of notable telecasts:
- ABC: Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest (start time: 8 p.m. ET)
- CBS: New Year’s Eve Live: Nashville’s Big Bash, hosted by Elle King and Rachel Smith. Like last year, this event will also stream on Paramount+.
- CNN: New Year’s Eve Live with Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen (start time: 8 p.m. ET). Viewers can watch Cooper and Cohen do their usual thing on CNN or CNN.com (pay-TV subscription required). The event will also stream on CNN Max.
- PBS: Next at the Kennedy Center: “Cynthia Erivo and Friends: A New Year’s Eve Celebration.” This event will air live on the PBS network and stream on PBS.org and via the PBS app.
Interestingly, NBC won’t air New Year’s Eve coverage this year and has opted instead to go with Sunday Night Football, so there’s some counter-programing for you if New Year’s Eve isn’t your thing.
For cord-cutters who want to switch back and forth between some of the New Year’s Eve coverage, bundled streaming services offer access to most major cable and broadcast networks. And you can often get a free trial if you haven’t signed up before:
Now comes the part where I like to point out that you can watch over-the-air broadcast networks for free with an antenna. And given the number of free live-streaming options that are available for watching the ball drop, there’s really no reason to pay extra as you head into 2024. What better way to start the year?