What is CBS All Access?

There are a lot of streaming services available in the market competing for your money and loyalty. So, if you’re one of the cord-cutters, you may have heard about CBS All Access. This service is a different approach to streaming, and here is all you need to know about CBS All Access.

CBS All Access is a live and on-demand live TV streaming service. The service offers access to most of CBS TV shows and movies from the huge CBS library which include hits like Star Trek: Discovery, Star Trek: Picard, NCIS, The Big Bang Theory, and more.

CBS has been one of the three American Broadcasting giants. With CBS All Access, CBS stepped into the world of live TV streaming in 2014. While most other streaming services like HBO, Hulu, and Netflix offer a wide variety of content that they produce or show under license, CBS All Access is a slightly different breed.

It offers content created by them only – essentially showing shows what the network wants to stream. The CBS All Access app provides access to live streams of all CBS channels as well as CBS Sports live (and CBS has broadcasting rights to NFL football matches for the AFC) – making it a lucrative choice for football fans.

CBS offers a healthy selection of the old and new CBS content too with dramas like ‘The Big Bang Theory’ and rebooted ‘Young Sheldon’, as well as a limited selection of unedited movies.

CBS All Access costs $6 a month – but that comes with commercials. For a completely ad-free experience, you’ll have to shell out $10 a month but it offers access to the same content. There is a saving of 15% on annual membership and students can get a discount of 25%. Here is a breakdown of the packages:

  • CBS All Access- Limited commercials – $5.99/month
  • CBS All Access – Fully ad-free with possible promotional interruptions- $9.99/month

But the pricing does vary considerably. For major sporting matches and prominent events, the subscription price does go up considerably-because people are willing to pay a one-time fee to watch such events and then cancel afterward.

CBS All Access Features

1. Access to live sports:

If you’re a die-hard sports fan, you’ll love CBS All Access. CBS has broadcast rights to all NFL football matches. Football fans will be able to watch live football matchups- considering that NFL game passes only has replays with a hefty cost of $100 a year.

The streaming service also caters to college basketball lovers by providing access to live NCAA men’s basketball tournament. While live sporting events are heavily dependent on the market you’re in, a useful sports feature on CBS All Access is the CBS Sports HQ, which is a combination of CBSsports.com, CBS Sports, 247sports, Sportsline, CBS Sports Fantasy, and Maxpreps.

CBS Sports HQ provides highlights, news, and scores of all prominent sporting events, but doesn’t have live sports coverage.

2. Downloadable content

CBS All Access costs just $6-$10, so it is not surprising that the service doesn’t include cloud-based DVR Service. However, the service does allow for limited downloadable content for offline viewing. But not all contents are downloadable. Also, downloaded contents are only available through the CBS All Access app on Android or iOS devices. You can download up to 25 videos which you can keep for 25 days.

3. Two simultaneous streams

For a price of $6-$10, CBS All Access offers a dual-screen streaming feature. A single user can stream on up to two devices simultaneously. However, the number of streamable screens remains the same even with the upgrade to the $10 package.

Drawbacks

Limited content

One of the major drawbacks of a single network TV streaming service is the evident lack of content. Unless there is a large number of originals like Netflix, services like CBS All Access are a tough sell. Here’s a good example, out of IMDB’s top 25 TV shows, CBS All Access has 2 while it has 5 of IMDB’s top 250 movies.

With CBS All Access, you get access to very few popular titles, and moreover, there is limited content from even original CBS titles. In most originals, there are only a few episodes available out of entire seasons and CBS offers no explanation. For example, CBS All Access only provides access to 12 episodes of ‘The Big-Bang Theory’ out of all its seasons. So, for similarly priced services like Hulu and SlingTV, they offer a more colorful multitude of titles for the same price range.

Access to CBS only content

Another major drawback of CBS all access is that you’re paying for CBS content only. While other streaming services offer original content, as well as content under licenses like Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and the complete cable cutter-YouTube TV, which also includes CBS, NBC, and Fox, CBS All Access, provides access to contents only CBS. And there aren’t too many CBS titles that are popular enough to make CBS All Access such a lucrative streaming service.

Some big-name content offered by CBS All Access

CBS has a decent library of live TV channels, popular TV shows, classic old TV shows, original content, and on-demand movies. While CBS sports channels are sure to cater to a sports fanatic, CBS’s wide variety of content will satisfy anyone who watches CBS religiously.

CBS All Access includes five different types of programming, which include:

  • Live TV- Local CBS channel, CBSN, CBS Sports HQ, and more
  • Episodes currently aired- Young Sheldon, Survivor, Twilight zone, and more
  • Old CBS classics- Rawhide, Wanted Dead or Alive, Hotel de Paree, and more
  • CBS Originals- Star Trek: Discovery, Star Trek: Picard, Star Trek: Short Treks, The Good Fight, and more.
  • Movies: Bottle Rocket, Fair Game, The Big Chill, and many more

If you’re expecting original content comparable to Netflix or Amazon Prime, CBS All Access is not for you. For now, the only original that gives a unique selling point is the Star Trek series. Besides that, there are hardly any shows that aren’t available on Hulu.

Can I watch live TV with CBS All Access?

You get access to four live broadcast channels CBS, CBSN, CBS Sports HQ, and ET Live 24/7. There is no extra charge and it comes with the basic $6 package. However, live TV is available in select markets only. So make sure to check out if you’re in one of those markets to enjoy watching CBS channels.

What devices can I stream?

It is available on a wide variety of devices and allows simultaneous streaming on two devices.

Here is a list of streaming devices you can watch CBS All:

  • Apple Devices ( iPhone and iPad)
  • Android phones and Tablet
  • Apple TV(2nd,3rd,4th gens and $K)
  • Android TV
  • Amazon Fire TV
  • Chromecast
  • Alexa
  • Google Home
  • Samsung Smart TV
  • LG  Smart TV
  • Vizio Smart TV
  • Fire TV,
  • Fire TV Stick
  • Fire TV Cube
  • Playstation4
  • Xbox One

How To Subscribe?

If you want to subscribe to CBS All Access after all but you want to try it out first, the service offers a free seven-day trial when you enter your billing details and you’ll be charged subsequently after the free trial expires.

You’ll be billed monthly according to the plan you choose but there is a 15% discount if you choose to pay for a year. Furthermore, students are eligible for a 25% discount.

But if you’re not satisfied with the service and want to cancel, there is no contract. You can cancel anytime. Also, you can watch all content until the end of the billing period after cancellation.

  • Go to CBS All Access Home page.
  • Click on TRY IT FREE.
  • Pick a plan, you can go with Limited Commercials or Commercial Free. You can save 15% if you choose annual payment instead of monthly.
  • Create a CBS account
  • Add a payment method and you are ready to go.

How is the user experience?

CBS All Access is a relatively cheaply priced streaming service, so it is rather mediocre or rather lackluster in the user experience department. All content streams at a standard 720p at 60 fps and the increase of $4 to the ad-free subscription doesn’t improve the quality either.

The app has some significant glitches while streaming. Most notably many CBS all Access users experienced some sort of glitch while viewing Star Trek: Discovery’s debut. Crashes and glitches seem to be the norm with the app. Also, there isn’t a parental control feature and neither does it offer ways to restrict certain content which may be a problem with subscribers who has young viewers.

However, there is a convenient search tab for searching live TV broadcasts, movies, shows, and more. It’s a convenient way to track down specific programs you want to watch. Other than that, the CBS All Access user interface leaves much more to be desired compared to similarly priced streaming services.

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