Where to Watch the 2011 State of the Union Address

The State of the Union comes around once a year and usually features one or two surprises — it’s the Super Bowl of presidential addresses. This year, the broadcast of President Obama’s third State of the Union kicks off officially tonight at 9 PM ET/6 PM PT, and online plans for it have evolved dramatically from last year’s coverage, with enhanced viewing options to offer web audiences a heightened understanding of the action on screen.

Whenever there’s action on the Congress floor, you can always rely on C-SPAN to have a camera pointed at it. (Sometimes, it’ll just be one camera, and that camera will barely move, but gosh darn it, that camera is there to stay.)

Watch live streaming video from cspan at livestream.com

C-SPAN’s coverage begins at 8 PM ET/5 PM PT with “a historical look at bipartisanship between past Presidents and Congress and a discussion on the bipartisan seating plan for this year’s address,” according to the site, and will include live reaction from members of Congress in the hall.

(Fun fact! C-Span also has video and transcripts of State of the Union addresses going all the way back to Harry Truman. Well, there’s no video of Truman — the first speech archived on video appears to be Nixon’s address in 1974).

CNN (s TWX) also has live streaming plans in place. But if you want to go to the source, this year the White House is going well beyond just live streaming the President’s speech. The first-ever “enhanced” online broadcast will include a companion stream of visual aids, including charts and statistics.

Do you want an objective viewpoint on the speech? The Sunlight Foundation, a non-partisan 501(c) educational organization with a goal to increase transparency within the U.S. government, is accompanying its streaming of the speech with real-time analysis and investigation of the President’s address, led by a team of investigative journalists and guest bloggers.

Immediately after the address, senior White House officials will take viewer questions through Twitter, Facebook and the whitehouse.gov website — but if you have a question for the President himself, turn to YouTube. (s GOOG) A selection of the top-voted questions submitted to YouTube’s Ask Obama page (powered by Google Moderator) will be used for an interview with the President this Thursday.

Any other sources for tonight’s speech or follow-up commentary? Let us know in the comments and we’ll update this post!

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