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LAST UPDATED: August 29th, 2023

Owned and operated by CBS Interactive, CBS All Access is an over-the-top subscription streaming service. Those who subscribe have access to view content from CBS’s library.

The subscription service offers two plans to viewers: The Limited Commercials Plan and the Commercial Free Plan.

The Limited Commercials Plan allows users to watch CBS All Access on-demand shows with limited commercial interruptions for just $5.99 per month (plus any applicable state taxes).

The Commercial Free Plan is just as the name suggests and allows viewers to watch CBS All Access on-demand shows without any commercials for only $9.99 per month (plus any applicable state taxes).

With CBS All Access, viewers can stream more than 10,000 episodes of their favorite daytime, primetime, and late-night shows. It comes with content from more than just the obvious CBS channels. CBS All Access gives you content from BET, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, MTV, and Smithsonian Channel. You also get access to live streaming of sports, news, and other programming with your local CBS channel, CBSN, CBS Sports HQ, and ET Live. CBS All Access also comes with original show content available only with a subscription. 
Additionally, CBS All Access users can watch on their phone, tablet, desktop, or streaming media player. It is compatible with Android and iPhones, Apple TV, Roku, Chromecast, Fire TV, and more.

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The Good

  • 7-Day Free Trial
  • Ways to Save
  • Good Content Variety Including Live Sports
  • Parental Controls

7-Day Free Trial

CBS All Access offers customers a free seven-day trial period of its streaming service. This is in line with other streaming services. Some offer a longer trial period but most offer a standard seven days. This will give you a chance to see the content offered on the service and verify that it is a good fit for you.

Ways to Save

Not all streaming services offer an annual plan to save its customers money. CBS All Access allows customers to save over 15 percent off the monthly subscription plan price by signing up for an annual plan. Both its Limited Commercial and Commercial free plans are offered at an annual plan price. 

  • Limited Commercials Annual Plan — $59.99 per year with a one-week free trial
  • Commercial Free Annual Plan — $99.99 per year with a one-week free trial

You can also save money if you are a university student. CBS All Access gives students (you must verify your university) a 25 percent discount. 

Good Content Variety Including Live Sports

CBS All Access provides a solid variety of streaming, original and live content for the price. It offers over 20,000 episodes of current show programming as well as full seasons of past shows. Shows included CBS hits like The Big Bang Theory, and NCIS, as well as older shows such as The Twilight Zone and MacGyver. It also offers a changing selection of movies; a rather small number of 150. You also get live TV content which often costs significantly more from competing streaming services. 

One feature that really sets CBS All Access apart are its sports channel and live sports game coverage. This is something that sports lovers have to typically pay extra to watch with competing services. Sports fans can watch NFL games, March Madness, SEC football, UEFA Champions League, Europa League, PGA golf, and more. 

Parental Controls

Joining some of the major players in online streaming, CBS All Access offers parental controls in the account settings. Its parental control settings allow you to lock potentially mature or inappropriate content with a four-digit code. Content restrictions are separated into four categories: all kids (TV-Y, G, TV-G) up to adult (R, TV-MA, NC-17, UR, and NR). You can also require watchers to provide the PIN in order to watch live TV content. 

One downside of CBS All Access is that it does not support multiple account profiles as other services do. This means that if you set up parental controls on your account, it will apply across all account users.

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The Bad

  • CBS Live May Not Be Available
  • Commercials on Live TV
  • Offline Downloads Only on Commercial Free Plan

CBS Live May Not Be Available

One of the primary appeals of CBS All Access is the live stream of CBS that comes with your subscription. But not all subscribers will have this feature available to them depending on where they live. If you live in a participating region, then you’ll be able to watch CBS live online through CBS All Access. There are 206 markets where this is possible and the list is available on its website, so you can check in advance of subscribing. If you do not live in one of these markets, then you will likely not have access to CBS live.

Commercials on Live TV

For all those commercial-haters out there, even if you subscribe to CBS All Access’ Commercial Free plan you will have to watch commercials when viewing live content. This is standard even when you’re viewing live content on other streaming services, but it is something you should be aware of. 

Offline Downloads Only on Commercial Free Plan

There are many scenarios in which you or your family might have no service and need to be able to download content directly to your device to watch offline. CBS All Access offers its Download & Play feature to its Commercial Free subscribers only. This feature allows you to tap a download icon and store up to 25 episodes or movies offline. Besides the plan limitation for this feature, it also restricts downloaded content to within the United States. This means that if you’re planning to stock up on content before you take off on that international flight or trip, you won’t be able to watch your downloaded content once you leave the United States.


The Bottom Line

CBS All Access provides quality streaming content with a low price tag. If you are a die-hard CBS fan who loves shows such as The Big Bang Theory and other CBS hits, then it will be likely worth it for you to subscribe to CBS All Access. If you don’t regularly watch CBS content, then you won’t see as much benefit from this service over other streaming services that provide content from a variety of channels and sources.

If you subscribe to CBS All Access you will also be able to watch CBS live and a lot of sports content including live NFL games. For the sports love, CBS All Access could be a great deal. We like that CBS All Access includes some features such as parental controls, offline downloads, and free trial for interested customers to try before they buy. Before you subscribe, you should be aware that not all features are available in its less expensive Limited Commercials Plan.

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Jim Schmidt

Often will not load programs or freezes up frequently during a program

3 years ago

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Trenton Prestwich Taylorsville, UT

Used this to watch star trek for a season and was frustrated in had to pay more to watch sonic stopped using is after 1 month.

4 years ago

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Todd Homitz Evans City, PA

Over priced for what you get. This should be included with your cable bill. Nothing worth paying for.

4 years ago

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Inability to watch all episodes. Makes no sense!

3 years ago