For those who have decided to forgo sleep tonight/tomorrow morning to watch the historic swearing-in of Barack Obama as the new President, we’ve compiled a guide to the best ways to watch and interact with the coverage from around the world.

The actual swearing-in will take place at about 1:30am tomorrow morning in WA, 2am in the NT, 2:30am in QLD, 3am in SA, and 3:30am in NSW, Tasmania and Victoria.

Nine’s coverage starts first, at 10:55pm in all states except WA, where it starts at 10:45pm, promising live coverage from Washington DC with Karl Stefanovic and Robert Penfold (but a disappointing absence from Nine’s usual man-on-the-ground in the US, Richard Wilkins.)

SBS start their coverage at 12.30pm AEDT. It’s hosted by Anton Enus, with Brian Thomson reporting from DC.

Ten’s coverage kicks in at 1:30am AEDT, screening a live feed from CBS hosted by Katie Couric, interspersed with coverage from Ten’s US correspondent, Nicole Strahan. No word yet on whether we can look forward to Angela Bishop breathlessly chasing down the likes of Oprah and Beyonce in the crowd, but fingers crossed.

ABC1 come to the party a bit later, and seem to be picking up with the swearing-in itself at the aforementioned starting times (3:30 AEDT, etc). It will be hosted by Barrie Cassidy live from DC, and followed by a documentary about Obama’s life.

On Pay TV, Sky News start their coverage at midnight by screening an inauguration special of American breakfast talk show Good Morning America at 12am AEDT, followed by a simulcast of ABC News’s (the American one) coverage, featuring Charles Gibson, Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos.

If you like your inauguration with a healthy dose of resentment and passive aggressive commentary, Fox News begin their coverage at 11pm AEDT with Fox & Friends, followed by the slightly more palatable Bret Baier, Shepard Smith and Chris Wallace at 12:30am.

CNN’s coverage starts at 9:30pm tonight and runs all the way through to 10:30am tomorrow — that’s 11 hours of blanket inauguration coverage. After the 3D holograms during the election, we’re expecting something pretty special from the team to fill all that space.

BBC World News’s coverage kicks off at 3am AEDT, with presenters Huw Edwards and Matt Frei, plus correspondents Katty Kay, Rajesh Mirchandani, Jon Sopel and Clive Myrie, PLUS historian Robert Dallek, Harvard Law School Professor Charles Ogletree, (who apparently taught both Barack and Michelle Obama) and Bob Woodward. If you don’t have Pay TV, it will be streamed on the BBC News website.

Other good online coverage comes from C-SPAN, whose Inauguration Hub allows to you choose from four different feeds offering different views of the day’s events. Unlike many US news sites, C-SPAN allow non-US viewers to watch online and generally have the bandwidth to cope with the demand.

For a global perspective, the free Livestation player lets you switch between streams from Al Jazeera, BBC World, C-Span, euronews and France 24 on your computer while chatting to other viewers and program producers.

Current TV and Twitter are teaming up with real-time tweets over the Current online broadcast here. Twitter users can add “#current” to their tweets to have their thoughts and comments streamed across the screen.

For non-Current tweets, you can participate (or just watch) in the general “#inauguration” group, NPR‘s “#inaug09” group and The Washington Post‘s “#dcalerts” group.

You can also see pictures from those who are lucky enough to be attending the actual inauguration as they upload them to the Flickr Inauguration 2009 pool.

No doubt just about every US political blog will be liveblogging the whole event, too. Wonkette always have the funniest liveblog. TIME‘s Michael Grunwald, Karen Tumulty and James Poniewozik will be liveblogging here, and the Huffington Post‘s liveblog, including political commentators Chris Weigant and Philip Klinkner, as well as a team of HuffPo bloggers, is already in action here.

Crikey won’t be liveblogging, as we’re a pretty ugly bunch and need all the beauty sleep we can get, but for an Australian perspective, the Oz‘s Jack the Insider is offering one here, starting from 3:30am.

Peter Fray

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