The annual Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting is a tradition that dates back to the 1930s, with the first televised tree lighting airing in 1951 on NBC. But since 1997, NBC has made the tree lighting in a special event, called Christmas in Rockefeller Center.
This year’s special airs Wednesday (Dec. 5) at 8 p.m. ET/PT. If you don’t have cable, you can watch a live stream of NBC on your computer, phone, Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV or other streaming device via one of the following cable-free, live-TV streaming subscription services:
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NBC (live in most markets) is one of 95-plus live TV channels included in the main FuboTV bundle.
Once signed up for FuboTV, you can watch a live stream of Christmas in Rockefeller Center on your computer via the FuboTV website, or on your phone (Android and iPhone supported), tablet, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast or other supported device via the FuboTV app.
If you can’t watch live, FuboTV comes with 30 hours of Cloud DVR (with the ability to upgrade to 500 hours), as well as a “72-Hour Lookback” feature, which allows you to watch most shows up to three days after they air even if you forgot to record them.
AT&T TV Now (formerly DirecTV Now) offers six different channel bundles. They range from 45 to 125 live TV channels, and they all include NBC (live in most markets).
Once signed up for AT&T TV Now, you can watch a live stream of Christmas in Rockefeller Center on your computer via the AT&T TV Now website, or on your phone (Android and iPhone supported), tablet Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, or other compatible streaming device via the AT&T TV app.
If you can’t watch live, AT&T TV Now — no matter what channel package you choose — comes with included cloud DVR.
NBC (live in most markets) is included in Hulu With Live TV, which comes with 60-plus live TV channels and Hulu’s extensive on-demand library of TV shows and movies.
Once signed up for Hulu With Live TV, you can watch a live stream of Christmas in Rockefeller Center on your computer via the Hulu website, or on your phone (Android and iPhone supported), tablet, Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Echo Show or other streaming device via the Hulu app.
If you can’t watch live, “Hulu with Live TV” comes with both its extensive on-demand library (which has most new episodes and specials available after they air) and 50 hours of Cloud DVR storage (with the ability to upgrade to “Enhanced Cloud DVR,” which gives you 200 hours of DVR space and the ability to fast forward through commercials).
‘Christmas in Rockefeller Center’ Preview
This annual tradition is a festive way to kick off the holiday season. Hosted by TODAY anchors Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb, Al Roker, and Craig Melvin, the two-hour program always features lively, cheerful performances and this year is no different.
Performers for 2019 include Chicago, John Legend, Brett Eldredge, Idina Menzel, Gwen Stefani, Lea Michele, Derek and Julianne Hough, Ne-Yo, Straight No Chaser, and Skylar Astin and Alex Newell, plus the always-high-kicking Radio City Rockettes and a special appearance by Miss America 2019 Nia Franklin.
This year’s tree is a 77-foot-tall Norway spruce estimated to be 70+ years old, donated by Carol Schultz of Orange County, New York. It weighs approximately 12 tons — and that is without the 900-pound Swarovski crystal star that will sit atop the tree.
After the tree is lit on Dec. 4, it will be lit up and open to visitors every day from 6 a.m. to midnight, though on Christmas Day it is lit for 24 hours. Then on Jan. 17, the tree will be milled into lumber that is then donated to Habitat for Humanity.