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Grammys 2016: How to watch the awards online

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While the music industry has spent the last week or so enveloped by Kanye West's ongoing The Life of Pablo album release saga, it's due time we switch gears a little and settle in for the three-way battle of Taylor Swift, Kendrick Lamar, and The Weeknd at the 58th Annual Grammy Awards. LL Cool J is back to host the event tonight at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. There will be quite a few powerhouse performances from artists like Adele, Rihanna, and Justin Bieber, as well as Lady Gaga doing some renditions of David Bowie classics and the cast of Hamilton performing the play's opening number.

The show goes from 8PM ET to 11:30PM ET on CBS, which is also providing the only (legal) way to watch the event online. The pre-show, from 3:30PM ET to 6:30PM ET can be watched for free at CBS.com or grammylive.com.

As far as awards go, Lamar, Swift, and The Weeknd are dominating the main categories. Lamar is up for the most Grammys with 11 nominations, while Swift and The Weeknd are tied with seven each. Adele's record-smashing 25 didn't make the eligibility cutoff for this year's show, so expect it to sweep 2017's.

Kendrick Lamar, Taylor Swift, and The Weeknd are battling for the biggest categories

Unlike the byzantine collection of streaming methods available for ​this year’s Super Bowl, the process of watching the Grammys online is remarkably simpler thanks to CBS's streaming service, CBS All Access. The network has owned the exclusive broadcasting rights to the show since 1973, meaning the only way to legally watch it online is by subscribing over at CBS.com/all-access. The monthly cost is $5.99, but you can always sign up for a free one-week trial and cancel the service following the show. Here's how to get CBS All Access up and running on every device:

Watching on a smartphone or tablet

If you're itching to watch the Grammys and don't have a larger screen, download the free CBS app from the iOS App Store, the Google Play Store, or Microsoft's Windows 10 marketplace. From there, you can log in with your All Access credentials and enjoy the live Grammys stream. Make sure to login into the mobile app with the same account you used to sign up for All Access. If you used your Facebook credentials to log in, use the same on mobile. If you used a standard email address and password, use those credentials to log in or else All Access won't recognize your account.

Watching on a PC or Mac

CBS All Access members can stream CBS live through a web browser but only in select markets. A full list of live TV locales can be found here, but it's safe to say the company has most of the US's larger markets covered at this point. If you have a cable subscription, you can watch the Grammys live from anywhere through CBS's main website.

Watching on a game console or set-top box

CBS, being a slow-moving old-school behemoth of a corporation, is painfully behind on making All Access available on more than a select few set-top box and game console platforms. The company has the most popular devices covered — Apple TV, Roku, Chromecast, Amazon's Fire TV, and Android TV devices all support the new service via either CBS's main app or a dedicated All Access app. Make sure to get the All Access app if it's available on your desired platform. For instance, Apple TV, Fire TV, and Android TV all have dedicated All Access "channels," separate from the main CBS app. Chromecast, however, only works with the CBS mobile app or by mirroring your computer screen with the Google Cast Chrome extension.

As for game consoles, however, All Access is only available on the Xbox 360. It's absurd, and there's we can do about it until the company decides to bring its service that launched in October 2015 to game consoles that came out in November 2013. If you happen to have an old Xbox lying around, search for the All Access app and enter the code you see on your screen after sign-in over at CBS.com/xbox360 using a mobile or web browser.

Watching outside the United States

CBS doesn't offer a legal streaming option for viewers who want to tune into the Grammys outside the United States, even if they pay for All Access. That said, you can use a VPN service or a similar DNS proxy service to trick CBS into thinking your internet connection resides in America. A product like TunnelBear is a sophisticated VPN service for all your geoblocking avoidance needs. But simpler services like Unblockus, Getflix, and Media Hint effectively do the same thing with less hassle. The Verge's Thomas Ricker wrote about proxy services last year and has a great guide to getting started with the somewhat messy world of streaming service workarounds.