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ABC to stream Oscars for the first time, but with major limitations

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For the first time ever, ABC plans to stream the complete Academy Awards ceremony this Sunday. That's the good news. The bad news is that the network is limiting the feed to its Watch ABC website and mobile app, which requires a cable subscription for live content. Worse still, since Watch ABC isn't yet available nationwide the Oscars will only be streamed in select cities: viewers in Chicago, Fresno, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Raleigh-Durham, and San Francisco can watch online. Most cable providers support Watch ABC, though Time Warner Cable stands out as a notable exception. But if you're with one of the other big cable companies (including Comcast, Optimum, Verizon FiOS, and even Google Fiber) and live in one of those locations, you'll be able to access the stream.

For those blocked from watching the ceremony itself, Watch ABC will instead offer a behind-the-scenes peek at all that's happening backstage and on the red carpet. Unlike the live stream, these clips will be available to everyone in the US regardless of cable subscription status. If you're not a fan of watching via ABC's preferred method, Variety reports that highlights from the awards show will be posted to minutes after they air. The night's musical performances will also be available in their entirety — another first this year. In previous years, much of this content was packaged into a standalone Oscars app. But after launching Watch ABC in May, the network is leveraging the hugely popular ceremony in a bid to direct more eyes towards its prized TV Everywhere service.