CBS All Access review

CBS All Access highlights

CBS All Access review

Cable cord-cutters can get the best of both on-demand content and live TV with CBS All Access. The video streaming service offers a strong library of CBS’s past and present programming, but viewing options beyond that are limited in comparison with some of its competitors.

CBS All Access launched on October 28, 2014, as a streaming portal and mobile app for all CBS content. The service extended to Canada in April 2018, and to Australia in December 2018, under the name 10 All Access. As of February 2019, the service had reached eight million total subscribers. CBS has set a goal of reaching 25 million subscribers by 2022. 

A comparison of CBS All Access packages

There are two CBS All Access packages available. Both offer the same content and features, the only major difference is that the pricier option provides ad-free, on-demand content.

Limited CommercialsCommercial Free
Monthly price$5.99/mo.$9.99/mo.
Free trial length7 days7 days
Number of channels44
Number of simultaneous streams22
Cloud DVR storage25 titles for 30 days25 titles for 30 days
Add-ons availableShowtimeShowtime

How much is CBS All Access compared to competitors?

If you’re happy to sit through a few ads while watching on-demand content, you can get a decent deal with CBS All Access. Its Limited Commercials Plan is three dollars less than the cheapest Netflix and Amazon Prime Video packages available (both $8.99/mo.). The Commercial Free Plan is one dollar more expensive. However, unlike other video streaming services, CBS All Access also enables users to stream live TV.

The CBS All Access price is also reduced with an annual contract. It costs $59.99 for limited commercials and $99.99 for the commercial-free version. And students enjoy a 25 percent discount on all package prices.

Is CBS All Access the right streaming service for you?

If you’re particularly committed to CBS’s programming, this is certainly the right service for you. Viewers get access to live streams of CBS in addition to 8,500 episodes from the network’s back catalog on-demand. That includes premium content like The Big Bang Theory, NCIS and The Twilight Zone. NFL games broadcast on CBS are also included—a major bonus for any football fans.

However, the service’s content library, outside of CBS’s programming, is a little limited. So if you’re not a die-hard CBS lover, then this probably isn’t the service for you.

User experience

The CBS All Access interface features an easy-to-navigate menu that lists shows, full episodes and live TV options. The shows section also lists popular CBS programs and lets you filter by genres, including originals, drama, reality TV, classics and more. TV schedules, movies, CBS sports and news are accessible via another menu, which makes the service very user-friendly.

The CBS All Access app enables subscribers to stream full episodes of their favorite shows the day after they air and provides access to all on-demand content on iOS and Android devices. The app features a pleasing blue and black interface and largely mirrors the web player with a menu for shows, live TV, movies, TV schedules, search and settings, as well as a shop option that lets users buy merchandise and DVDs.  Users can also download episodes to view offline, which must be watched within 30 days or 48 hours after starting playback.

Device compatibility

CBS All Access is available on all modern devices, with CBS listing the following options as compatible:

  • Android
  • Apple TV
  • Fire TV
  • Google Chromecast
  • iPad and iPhone
  • PlayStation 4
  • Roku
  • Samsung
  • Vizio
  • Xbox One

CBS All Access features

All CBS content

The obvious appeal of CBS All Access is the availability of 8,500 episodes of CBS content. In addition to on-demand programming and new shows, viewers also get access to live CBS broadcasts. Get to know all the available CBS shows through the platform.

Trekkie heaven

The CBS content library will be particularly appealing to fans of Captain Kirk, Spock and Jean-Luc Picard. That’s because CBS has the rights to the Star Trek: Discovery, Star Trek: Picard and Star Trek: Short Trek series. 

Budget streaming

The $5.99/mo. price of CBS All Access’ limited streaming plan can only be bettered by Apple TV’s basic price of $4.99/mo. in the core video streaming services market.

Streaming quality

CBS All Access’ 1080p Full HD video streaming provides more than enough clarity casual viewers. 

Selected sports access

CBS has an exclusive deal with the NFL to stream AFC games, which provides CBS All Access subscribers with football coverage that other streaming services can’t offer. The service also carries some NCAA basketball tournament match-ups. Sports fans can stay up to date on all the latest news and action with their local CBS network, CBSN, CBS Sports HQ and ET Live 24/7.

What to watch on CBS All Access

There’s plenty of exclusive, original CBS programming to keep you entertained here. One particularly appealing CBS All Access show is dark comedy-drama, Why Women Kill, starring Lucy Liu as one of three women whose husbands commit adultery.

Another exclusive content option is CBS All Access’ first original scripted series The Good Fight, a sequel to The Good Wife. The legal drama follows a financial scam that ruins the reputation of a young lawyer and her mentor, who then joins a prestigious firm that takes on police brutality cases in Illinois. Michael Sheen has appeared as a guest star, and Ridley Scott is involved as an executive producer.

Subscribers can also watch comedy series No Activity, which includes Will Ferrell among its executive producers. It follows two policemen tasked with busting a Mexican drug cartel and is based on an Australian series of the same name.

Other viewing options include hit CBS dramas Blue Bloods, Madam Secretary and NCIS: Los Angeles.

The takeaway

CBS All Access offers subscribers a wealth of quality CBS content at a respectable price. This includes a huge back catalog of TV programming and exclusive new CBS shows, as well as live broadcasts and coverage of NFL for sports fans. However, if CBS programming isn’t for you, then you may be better off looking at alternative options. Likewise, if you’re on the lookout for a healthy library of movies or a steady stream of live sports, then this isn’t the service for you.

Rob Latham

Rob Latham is a writer focused on technology, music, entertainment and sports. He is particularly passionate about the role that technology plays in improving peoples’ lives and helping businesses to work more effectively. He’s written marketing content for global B2B technology brands and start-ups, founded his own music blog and is a regular contributor to soccer publications. His professional background is in content marketing, public relations and journalism, and he has a Postgraduate Diploma in Journalism.