CBS All Access Review – Channels, Pricing, & Ratings

Though CBS All Access promises plenty, some of its features just won’t be enough for hard-core TV aficionados. If, however, you love CBS shows, this might be the perfect service for you.

CBS All Access is mostly known for Star Trek, as the TV giant was the first to air the show that spoke to geeks all over the world in over a decade. Now, they offer exclusive programming and popular shows such as The Good Wife.

Why does this matter? Well, for an on-demand and live TV streaming service, CBS All Access offers plenty to CBS fans. Therefore, if you love their shows and would like to watch the newest episodes, as well as a few available movies, you’ll have fun with this service.

Nevertheless, if you’re after an all-around fantastic live TV streaming service, you’ll see that CBS All Access doesn’t fulfill everyone’s needs.

What you’ll definitely like:

  • Huge variety of CBS shows
  • Fairly low price
  • Access to live TV streaming, which includes both NFL games and the news

What you might not be happy with:

  • You can only access CBS programming
  • Finding previous episodes of some shows might prove impossible.

Shows on CBS All Access

Like said, with CBS All Access, you’ll be able to watch their exclusive original programming. That includes famous TV shows like The Big Bang Theory, classics such as The Brady Bunch, as well as guilty pleasures like Celebrity Big Brother.

Types of Programming

Now, what’s excellent about CBS All Access is that it offers five types of programming, suitable for all kinds of TV enthusiasts.

For example, if you’re just looking for live TV, you will get a local CBS channel, provided you live somewhere CBS airs. Additionally, you will be able to access CBS Sports HQ, as well as CBSN 24/7 news.

If you’re more into TV shows, CBS has got you covered there too. Are you looking for 21st-century hits to watch? With CBS All Access, you can catch up on Blue Bloods, NCIS, etc. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a way to watch those old classics you grew up with — well, you can! CBS also offers Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Twin Peaks, and even Frasier!

Yet, maybe you’re more interested in original programming. If that’s the case, Star Trek: Discovery should be at the top of your list. CBS All Access offers No Activity, Strange Angel, and After Trek too. What’s more, there are on-demand movies available, featuring modern classics such as Superbad and horrors like Carrie. Do know, though, that the lineup changes often, so if you don’t want to miss out on a movie, make sure you’re checking it frequently.

Here are a few more shows that might make you opt for CBS All Access:

  • The Amazing Race
  • Bull
  • 60 minutes
  • Elementary
  • Hawaii Five-0
  • Criminal Minds
  • Madam Secretary
  • CSI: Crime Scene Investigation
  • Mom
  • Young Sheldon
  • Undercover Boss
  • NCIS: New Orleans
  • NCIS: Los Angeles
  • MacGyver

Every other show mentioned so far is also available — this is just a list of some of the most popular ones you can binge-watch with All Access.

But there’s an issue

Everything you are able to watch with CBS All Access sounds great. However, the problem is that you might not be able to access every single episode of a particular show.

For example, when it comes to The Big Bang Theory, CBS might offer only the most recent season. Therefore, if you were wondering how Sheldon and Amy met, for example — you won’t be able to find out by watching that particular episode.

Streaming Live TV — Is it Possible?

Though you can definitely stream live TV with CBS All Access, it seems that option is not available everywhere. Still, you can quickly check if your area is included. All you have to do is hop on over to their website and scroll down until the bottom of the page. Under “Stream Live TV 24/7”, you’ll see “Check availability.” The site will automatically check where you are and give you all the information regarding live TV streaming in your area.

Device Compatibility

The good news is that, despite some of its drawbacks, CBS All Access is a fantastic option if you’re looking for great device compatibility. Right now, you can stream all the latest episodes of Young Sheldon, for example, on:

  • Android
  • iPhone
  • iPad
  • Chromecast
  • Apple TV
  • Roku
  • Windows 10
  • Xbox One
  • PS4
  • Fire TV

Money Talk: CBS All Access’ Price-to-Value Ratio

Given that CBS All Access focuses on CBS programming only, it’s not a surprise to see it only offers two plans. The only difference between the limited commercials and the commercial-free plan is that the latter, as the name suggests, doesn’t include commercials at all. When it comes to movies and shows, you’ll get to access the same ones with either plan.

Limited Commercials Plan

The first plan — and the cheapest one — is the Limited Commercials plan, which costs $5.99 per month.

Unfortunately, the “Limited” in the plan’s name isn’t exactly what it’s supposed to be. In essence, with this plan, you might feel as if you’re watching traditional cable TV. Some shows might be interrupted up to five times, so if commercials annoy you, this definitely isn’t the plan for you. Still, if you don’t have a problem with that and would like some CBS in your life, you can always use those commercial breaks to get some food!

Commercial-Free Plan

Luckily, for those looking for exclusive CBS programming, the commercial-free plan might just be the thing that will fulfill all their entertainment needs. For just $9.99 per month, you’ll get access to all those shows mentioned above, as well as a diverse lineup of movies. The best part, of course, is that you won’t have to suffer through any commercial breaks.

Yet, here’s the problem — commercial-free plans are not that uncommon. In fact, Premium Hulu offers a similar feature as well, and its price is still reasonable, PLUS it offers more channels than CBS All Access.

Additionally, take into account the fact that if you’re planning to stream live TV, you won’t be able to escape commercial breaks. Live TV is, well, live, so whatever is on right now, you have to watch it. Unfortunately, there isn’t a provider that can offer you commercial-free live TV.

Features and Their Value

You’ve seen that CBS All Access doesn’t shine when it comes to the range of shows and programming it offers. However, it’s safe to say the service does make up for it with some of its nice features.

For one, you’ll get playback options for on-demand content, which is excellent news for any TV enthusiast out there. What’s more, CBS All Access offers two simultaneous streams, which is actually one more than what Sling Orange provides its customers with. Plus, Sling Orange costs $20, so you would be getting better value for money with CBS.

The only thing that might bother you is the resolution. Right now, CBS All Access offers 720p resolution. If you have a TV bigger than 50 inches, you might not get the sharpness you’ve been looking for, or the sharp picture you’d get with 1080p. However, if your TV or any other device you’re streaming on is smaller than that, you don’t have to worry. Your viewing experience won’t suffer!

Taking everything into account, CBS All Access offers a nice range of features most providers emphasize as well. Nevertheless, the channel selection leaves much to be desired. With just three channels available, there’s not enough stuff you can watch with CBS All Access, which takes all the fun from streaming TV anyway.

Hopefully, they’ll make up for this lack of channels in the future. By doing so, they might be able to go head to head with some of the best live TV streaming services out there. And speaking of which…

How Does CBS All Access Compare to Its Competitors?

The main competitors of CBS, and the streaming services you should look into if three channels aren’t enough for you are:

  • fuboTV, with about 90 channels for $55 per month
  • Sling TV, which offers 50+ channels for $25–$40 per month
  • DIRECTV NOW, with more than 120 channels (various packages available) for $50–$135 per month
  • Hulu With Live TV, which gives you access to 57+ channels for $39.99–$43.99 per month
  • PlayStation Vue, with 90+ channels for up to $85 per month

*The prices may have changed in the meantime. Please contact each provider to get the newest pricing.

At just $5.99–$9.99, CBS All Access definitely won’t make you break the bank. However, in comparison to its three channels (and that’s only if you have a local CBS channel in your area), everyone else offers more variety, albeit at a higher price.

So, why might you choose CBS? In the end, it comes down to how much you love their shows. If you cannot live without The Good Wife, for example, or Young Sheldon, then a $10 investment isn’t a lot. Additionally, if you’re looking for some classic TV shows, as well as a nice range of on-demand movies, CBS All Access could be a good choice.

But what about add-ons? You probably already know that Sling TV and other similar streaming services make up for the “lack” of content by offering different add-ons, such as exclusive sports channels, Showtime and HBO. Well, with CBS All Access, you’ll have to forget about those, as it doesn’t offer them. So, if you’ve become hooked to Euphoria and are wondering what will happen next — you might have to consider another provider.

Let’s Summarize

Watching TV is the ultimate pleasure for those who want to get lost in shows that speak to them on a whole new, emotional level. Thus, choosing the right streaming service seems to be difficult these days. With so many options available, every TV enthusiast has to carefully consider their choices — and avoid making a mistake.

Fortunately for some, those who prefer CBS shows in particular, CBS All Access has on-demand movies as well as some of the most popular CBS shows in their lineup. If you are a fan and would love to laugh your heart out with Mom or remind yourself how great The Amazing Race is — you definitely can with this service.

However, do note that the “All Access” in the name has proven to be a bit misleading. Though you’d love to catch up on older seasons of current shows, you might not be able to with this service.

Still, you will not be paying a hefty price for a limited range of channels. For up to $10, you’ll get exactly what you paid for, in 720p resolution and with two simultaneous streams. Furthermore, CBS frequently changes their on-demand movie list, so expect to find some great gems there. And, if anything, CBS is coming out with new shows each year. So, opting for this service will grant you access to possible new hits.

Nevertheless, there are other providers that could offer you many more channels if that’s what your heart desires. So, if you feel like CBS programming won’t fulfill all your entertainment needs, consider Sling or DIRECTV. Just know that CBS All Access is the cheapest option for some of the most exclusive shows out there, some of which changed the TV world forever.


What started as a good idea might need some improvement. CBS All Access has good intentions, but it fails to provide everything a TV aficionado could need.

In the end, the only thing that might make you go for this streaming service are CBS shows. But, considering there aren’t any add-ons you could get to make up for the lack of channels, it’s safe to say CBS All Access is a niche service. It caters mostly to those who cannot live without CBS shows and a few classics.

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