CBS All Access Review 2021: Everything you need to know about the CBS streaming service

What is CBS All Access? 

Owned by ViacomCBS, CBS All Access is a streaming service that provides access to new and classic CBS shows, live news, sports programming, and on-demand movies. 

The landscape of the video-on-demand (VOD) streaming is constantly changing with mergers, acquisitions, and expansions rapidly altering the content various services offer. After initially splitting in 2005, CBS and the second iteration of Viacom reunited to form ViacomCBS at the end of 2019. ViacomCBS is moving towards the multi-tiered plan setup that’s proven successful for music giant Spotify. ViacomCBS will incorporate its subsidiary Pluto TV as the free version of a three-tiered payment structure. ViacomCBS dubbed the new expansion House of Brands

CBS All Access currently offers two choices — a basic, limited ads plan and a No-Ads option. With the No-Ads version, you still see commercials when streaming some live broadcasts, including CBSN news and local network content.  

cbs home page

CBS All Access plans and pricing 

You have the option to bundle Showtime with your CBS All Access plan. The bundle will set you back $14.99/mo. for the limited ads plan and $18.99/mo. for the ad-free package. Just keep in mind, the process works by adding CBS All Access to your Showtime account. So, you’ll need to create an account with Showtime first. 

 CBS All Access Limited CommercialsCBS All Access Commercial Free
Monthly price$5.99$9.99
Annual price$59.99$99.99
Free trial length7 days7 days
Number of episodes12000+12000+
Offline downloadsNoYes
Streaming quality1080p1080p
Live sports streamingYesYes

CBS All Access supported devices 

The CBS All Access app is compatible with many major devices, from Amazon Fire TV to Xbox One. 

What to watch on CBS All Access 

Current Programming

The service gives you an easy, convenient and competitively priced way to watch current CBS programming. The only catch — most series air the day after they’re broadcast on network TV. Thanks to recent acquisitions, content from networks like BET, Comedy Central, MTV, and Nickelodeon will most likely become available soon. CBS All Access will add 1,000 movies and 30,000 TV show episodes once the service gains access to content under the larger ViacomCBS umbrella. 

cbs live tv schedule

Exclusive Content

There are already several popular series exclusive to CBS All Access. Star Trek fans have plenty to enjoy with Discovery, Lower Decks, Picard, Short Treks, and the upcoming, but as yet untitled, Section 31 series. Jordan Peele dons the role of host in the revival of The Twilight Zone. The Strange Angel, Tell Me a Story, and Why Women Kill are just a few of the other popular shows the service currently carries. 


CBS’s library features decades of classic shows that have shaped American culture — programs such as The Brady Bunch, Cheers, I Love Lucy, and Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone. Fans of David Lynch will appreciate Twin Peaks. And old-school sci-fi fans can get lost in Star Trek: The Original Series. The CBS app also has plenty of programming for kids. Children’s shows include Bob the Builder, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Inspector Gadget, and The Adventures of Paddington Bear.


The service has a decent library of movies that includes a nice variety of options, including classic films and blockbuster new releases. Popular options include films such as 28 Days Later, American Beauty, Crash, Léon: The Professional, and The Adventures of Tintin. The service’s library features many of the same movies you can find on HBO, Hulu, and other services. 


CBS All Access is one of the few streaming services that offer live sports coverage. With the app, you can access CBS Sports HQ, CBSN, and ET Live 24/7. Live sports that broadcast on a local CBS affiliate also stream through the CBS All Access app, including NFL games. But if you’re someone who lives in an area that doesn’t carry a local CBS affiliate, then you, unfortunately, won’t be able to stream games. 

cbs live tv

CBS All Access features 

Offline Viewing

CBS All Access’ No-Ads plan permits users to download content for offline viewing. This functionality isn’t available with the service’s cheaper plan. And even with the No-Ads plan, subscribers can only download select content — so there’s a good chance the show you want to might want to watch won’t be available for offline viewing. 


CBS All Access only offers two simultaneous streams, which is reasonable but not great. By contrast, Netflix’s $8.99/mo. Basic plan doesn’t offer simultaneous streaming at all, but its Standard option provides two streams, and its Premium package, four. 

cbs full episodes

The final cut 

CBS All Access is constantly evolving. And it’s well on its way to becoming a competitive force in the VOD streaming market. As ViacomCBS rolls out and implements its new three-tiered pay structure with a free base level, it may be enough to capture a good portion of the streaming market. As its library expands with original content, hundreds of new movies, and thousands of new episodes, it will turn into a viable rival to services such as Netflix. If you want to give CBS All Access a try, it offers a one week free trial period so you can decide if it’s the right service for you.