CBS All Access Review: Price, Devices, Free Trial Info, and More (2018)

OUR RATING — a breakdown of our CBS All Access review:

Sports  ★★★☆☆
On-Demand   ★★★☆☆
Streaming Quality  ★★★★☆
OVERALL —★★★☆☆

CBS All Access does a great job offering live access and satisfying our inner-Trekkie, but it lacks the expansive on-demand streaming library we were hoping for. You can try out CBS All Access for free with a 7-day trial.

What is CBS All Access?

CBS All Access is a livestreaming service featuring CBS-only shows live (in select markets) and on demand  for $5.99 a month. Before you ask, yes, you can stream the NFL on CBS in your local market (including Thursday Night Football) with All Access. Of course, you can also watch CBS original shows like The Good Fight, The Good Wife, and The Big Bang Theory, live and on demand. You also get access to shows that air exclusively on CBS All Access, like Star Trek: Discovery.

What Shows Are on CBS All Access?

At first, before we tried the service, we were worried a streaming service dedicated to only one channel’s offerings wouldn’t have enough to entertain us month after month. Some of our worries were confirmed, but the original content was enough to keep us interested.

CBS All Access has a limited library of both live and on-demand shows, spanning current CBS favorites like The Big Bang Theory, All Access originals like Star Trek: Discovery, and classics like I Love Lucy, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Beverly Hills 90210, and of course, episodes from the Star Trek series. We know this sounds great, but we noticed that All Access was missing a lot of episodes from popular shows. For example, only nine episodes of The Big Bang Theory were available to stream.

In total, CBS All Access offers more than 9,000 episodes, but that doesn’t guarantee it will have every episode of your favorite show. To give you an idea of what shows you can watch on demand, here’s a list of some of the most popular shows:

Where Can I Livestream CBS All Access?

Currently, CBS All Access lets users stream live TV only in certain markets. Thankfully, it’s a long list of markets, so it’s more likely you’ll have access than not. Look for your market below:

  • Albany, GA
  • Albany-Schenectady, NY
  • Albuquerque-Santa Fe, NM
  • Alexandria, LA
  • Amarillo, TX
  • Anchorage, AK
  • Asheville, NC
  • Atlanta, GA
  • Augusta, GA-Aiken, SC
  • Austin, TX, Baltimore, MD
  • Bangor, ME
  • Baton Rouge, LA
  • Bend, OR
  • Birmingham, AL
  • Binghamton, NY
  • Biloxi-Gulfport, MS
  • Bluefield-Beckley-Oak Hill, WV
  • Boston, MA-Manchester, NH
  • Bowling Green, KY
  • Bryan-College Station
  • Burlington-Plattsburgh, NY
  • Cedar Rapids-Waterloo-Iowa City-Dubuque, IA
  • Champaign and Sprngfld-Decatur, IL
  • Charleston-Huntington, WV
  • Charleston, SC
  • Charlotte, NC
  • Charlottesville, VA
  • Chattanooga, TN
  • Cheyenne-Scottsbluff, WY
  • Chicago, IL
  • Chico-Redding, CA
  • Cincinnati, OH
  • Clarksburg-Weston, WV
  • Cleveland-Akron (Canton), OH
  • Colorado Springs-Pueblo, CO
  • Columbia, SC
  • Columbus, OH
  • Columbus-Tupelo, MS
  • Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX
  • Dayton, OH
  • Denver, CO
  • Des Moines-Ames, IA
  • Detroit, MI Dothan, AL
  • Duluth-Superior, MN
  • Elmira (Corning), NY
  • El Paso (Las Cruces), TX
  • Erie, PA
  • Eureka, CA
  • Evansville, IN
  • Fairbanks, AK
  • Fargo-Valley City, ND
  • Flint-Saginaw-Bay City, MI
  • Fort Myers-Naples, FL
  • Freeport, IL
  • Fresno-Visilia, CA
  • Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo-Battle Creek, MI
  • Green Bay-Appleton, WI
  • Greensboro-High Point-Winston Salem, NC
  • Greenville-Spartansburg, SC
  • Harlingen-Weslaco-Brownsville-McAllen, TX
  • Harrisonburg, VA
  • Harrisburg-Lancaster-Lebanon-York, PA
  • Hartford-New Haven, CT
  • Honolulu, HI
  • Houston, TX
  • Idaho Falls-Pocatello, ID
  • Jackson, WY
  • Jackson, TN
  • Jacksonville, FL
  • Juneau (Sitka/Ketchikan), AK
  • Kansas City, MO
  • Knoxville, TN
  • La Crosse-Eau Claire, WI
  • Laredo, TX
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • Lexington-Hazard, KY
  • Lexington, KY
  • Lima, OH
  • Little Rock-Pine Bluff, AR
  • Lincoln-Hastings-Kearney, NE (Grand Island)
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Louisville, KY
  • Macon, GA
  • Madison, WI
  • Meridian, MS
  • Mankato, MN
  • Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, FL
  • Milwaukee, WI
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN
  • Minot-Bismarck, ND
  • Mobile, AL-Pensacola, FL
  • Monroe, LA-El Dorado, AR
  • Monterey-Salinas, CA
  • Montgomery-Selma, AL
  • Nashville, TN
  • New Orleans, LA
  • New York, NY
  • North Platte, NE
  • Odessa-Midland, TX
  • Oklahoma City, OK
  • Omaha, NE
  • Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne, FL
  • Paducah-Cape Girard-Harrisburg, GA
  • Palm Springs, CA
  • Panama City, FL
  • Parkersburg, WV
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Phoenix (Prescott), AZ
  • Pittsburgh, PA
  • Portland, ME
  • Portland, OR
  • Presque Isle, ME
  • Providence-New Bedford, RI
  • Raleigh-Durham (Fayetteville), NC
  • Reno, NV
  • Roanoke-Lynchburg
  • Rochester, NY
  • Sacramento-Stockton-Modesto, CA
  • Saint Louis, MO
  • Salisbury, MD
  • Salt Lake City, UT
  • San Antonio, TX
  • San Diego, CA
  • San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, CA
  • Santa Barbara, CA
  • Savannah, GA
  • Seattle-Tacoma, WA
  • Sherman, TX-Ada, OK
  • Shreveport, LA
  • South Bend-Elkhart, IN
  • Spokane, WA
  • Springfield-Holyoke, MA
  • Springfield, MO
  • Syracuse, NY
  • Tallahassee, FL-Thomasville, GA
  • Tampa-St. Petersburg-Sarasota, FL
  • Toledo, OH
  • Topeka, KS
  • Traverse City-Cadillac, MI
  • Tucson (Sierra Vista), AZ
  • Tulsa, OK
  • Twin Falls, ID
  • Tyler-Longview, TX
  • Waco-Temple-Bryan, TX
  • Washington, DC
  • Watertown, NY
  • Wausau-Rhinelander, WI
  • West Palm Beach-Ft. Pierce, FL
  • Wheeling-Steubenville, OH
  • Wichita-Hutchinson Plus, KS
  • Wichita Falls, TX-Lawton, OK
  • Wilkes Barre-Scranton, PA
  • Wilmington, NC

CBS All Access is always adding new local markets for streaming, so if you don’t see your market in this list, enter your ZIP code at CBS’s website. Scroll down, and under the “Stream Live TV 24/7” section, click the Check Availability button. CBS will let you know for certain whether you’re covered or not.

What Features Does CBS All Access Offer?

Let’s highlight some of the major features CBS All Access offers to maximize the streaming experience.

Simultaneous StreamsStreamsPrice
Base Subscription2Included
Simultaneous Streams
Base Subscription
Streams Price
2 Included

This may not sound like a big deal, but having two streams makes all the difference. You won’t need to worry about your binge-watching  conflicting with a friend or a family member.

Streaming pro tip: When you have simultaneous streams, you can share a subscription with another user and cut the monthly bill in half.

CommercialsLiveOn DemandPrice
Limited Commercials PlanYesYes$5.99/mo
Commercial Free PlanYesNo$9.99/mo
Commercials
Limited Commercials Plan
Commercial Free Plan
Live On Demand Price
Yes Yes $5.99/mo
Yes No $9.99/mo

Here comes the age-old streaming question: should you pay a few extra bucks a month to remove commercials from the equation? We can’t answer that question for you, but we prefer avoiding commercials. However, if you’re mostly thinking of using CBS All Access for watching sports live, go for the cheaper option, as you’ll still have to watch commercials on live TV regardless.

Playback FeaturesLiveOn DemandPrice
PausingNoYesIncluded
RewindingNoYesIncluded
Fast forwardingNoYesIncluded
Playback Features
Pausing
Rewinding
Fast forwarding
Live On Demand Price
No Yes Included
No Yes Included
No Yes Included

Long story short, you can manipulate time as you see fit while watching on-demand content, but you don’t have any DVR privileges while watching live TV.

CBS All Access Streaming QualityLiveOn DemandPrice
4K AvailabilityNoneNoneN/A
CBS All Access Streaming Quality
4K Availability
Live On Demand Price
None None N/A

We’ll cut to the chase—the streaming quality on CBS All Access looks great. It probably helps that it’s streaming only one channel, but All Access does a great job delivering a quality streaming experience.

Over our shared wireless internet connection, we didn’t experience a single dip in quality while watching CBS live. In order to get the full experience, make sure you have at least a 5.3 Mbps internet speed. You’ll probably want more, but 5.3 Mbps is a good baseline.

CBS All Access Interface

cbs all access interface

When you first log into your CBS All Access account on an internet browser, you’re greeted with a typical landing page. The scrolling banner tells you about current deals, show premieres, and general programming updates.

It’s when you scroll down that you’ll see tons of on-demand viewing suggestions.

cbs all access interface

If you click on the Shows page, you’ll see a Netflix-style menu with tons of shows to choose from. All you need to do is click what you want to see, and away you go.

You can also sort shows depending on genre—like comedies, reality, or sports—using the page’s sub-tabs.

cbs all access interface

The Full Episodes page is a little confusing. When you click on the tab, the program will start playing a random show, but if you scroll down, you’ll see the full, on-demand episodes available to you.

Our advice would be to stick with the Shows page when possible to find what you’re looking for. It’s just a little less messy.

cbs all access interface

The Live TV page gives you the option to view either your local CBS feed or CBSN, which provides news 24/7. Click the feed you want to watch, and the stream will start playing automatically.

cbs all access interface

The Schedule page is exactly what it sounds like—a calendar of upcoming shows for the rest of the week. You can find when The Big Bang Theory is on or how many episodes of the Star Trek series you can watch in a row.

cbs all access interface

The Movies page functions very similar to Netflix. Here, you can scroll through your movie options, find something you like, and click to start watching on-demand content.

Besides the Full Episodes page, navigating through CBS All Access was extremely simple and intuitive. You should have no problem watching a livestream or finding the on-demand content you’re looking for.

What Devices Can I Watch CBS All Access on?

You can watch CBS All Access on pretty much every device, like Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast, Android TV, and more.

Will I Be Able to Watch Live Sports with CBS All Access?

Yes! Not only does CBS All Access offer tons of live and on-demand TV shows, but it also offers select live sports. As CBS recently announced, subscribers of CBS All Access will be able to livestream all CBS-hosted NFL games that air in their local area. This is huge news for football fans.

CBS All Access also provides access to some other live sporting events. For example, it features March Madness streaming and The Masters livestream (days three and four).

CBS All Access Review Summary: Our Verdict

To recap everything, let’s cover all the pros and cons from our CBS All Access review. We’ll start with the good stuff first.

Pros

  • Very cheap price for live and on-demand TV
  • Tons of local affiliate CBS channels
  • Star Trek: Discovery and other exclusive content
  • Simultaneous streaming

Cons

  • Only CBS content
  • No cloud DVR
  • Limited on-demand library

We really enjoyed our experience with CBS All Access, and we feel it makes a lot of sense for cord-cutters struggling to stream CBS live. We’re crossing our fingers the on-demand library grows exponentially to include every episode of CBS shows. In the meantime, All Access makes streaming CBS live easy, and it has enough original content to keep you entertained.

Package the convenience of this service with its overall excellent streaming quality, and everything combines for a really great experience—despite the fact that you can watch only CBS content.

Our Verdict: ⭐⭐⭐ (out of a possible five stars)

CBS All Access Review FAQ

You probably have questions leftover about CBS All Access, so we’ll do our best to answer everything here. If you see one of your questions isn’t answered, please leave a comment below, and we’ll make sure to add an answer.

How Do You Get CBS All Access?

The best way is to simply head over to CBS All Access’s site and sign up for a free 7-day trial.

Does CBS All Access Have Gift Cards?

There aren’t currently any CBS All Access gift cards available, so giving the service as a gift will be difficult.

Where Can You Get CBS All Access?

CBS All Access is available only domestically within the United States. You can try out CBS All Access here.

How Much Does CBS All Access Cost?

You can get CBS All Access with commercials for $5.99 a month, or you can opt for the no-commercial plan that removes commercials from on-demand content for $9.99 a month.

How Does CBS All Access Work?

If a streaming service sounds complicated to you, don’t worry—it really isn’t. You don’t need a cable box, antenna, or anything like that to stream CBS All Access live. All you need to do is download the app on any compatible device (see the full list in our review above) or navigate to the website, and you can start streaming.

What Internet Speed Do You Need to Stream CBS All Access?

Aim for around 5 Mbps or more to get the best overall experience. However, you may want more if you’re using a shared internet connection with fellow streamers.

Does CBS All Access Offer a Free Trial?

It certainly does. We highly recommend trying out the service’s 7-day free trial before committing to anything.

Are There Any CBS All Access Promo Codes?

Sometimes CBS All Access will roll out with promo codes that give you one month free, and it generally releases them before big premiere seasons—like fall.

While CBS All Access promo codes may be a viable option while they’re around, there’s no year-long promotion, so if you’re looking to test the waters first, we still suggest taking advantage of the free one-week trial

How Do I Cancel CBS All Access?

One of the great things about this service and most other streaming services is that you pay month to month and can cancel at any time without penalty. You don’t get that benefit with cable TV, where you’re locked into a contract and face early termination fees.With that in mind, if you do decide you no longer wish to continue your service, here’s how to cancel CBS All Access.

  1. Log into your CBS All Access account.
  2. In the upper right corner, click on your name and choose “CBS All Access Account” from the drop-down menu.
  3. Scroll down the page and choose “Cancel My Subscription” in the “Looking for Some Help? section.
  4. Check the box and confirm your cancellation. Your subscription will officially be cancelled at the start of the next billing cycle.

Hopefully, we’ve answered all the questions you might have had in this CBS All Access review, but if we haven’t, feel free to leave a comment down below and we’ll help. If you find this review useful, please share it on Facebook to help spread the word.

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Tyler Abbott

Being a lifelong Lakers fan living in Salt Lake City, Utah, Tyler is passionate about how to watch sports from any location. He also loves watching popular HBO shows like Game of Thrones.
Disclosure: This page may contain referral links that allow us to make a bit of money at no expense to you. For more info, see our full disclosure in the footer menu.

28 Comments on "CBS All Access Review: Price, Devices, Free Trial Info, and More (2018)"

  1. Tanya walker | November 6, 2015 at 6:39 pm |

    I signed up for the free trial but cannot acces the All Access shows. Please advise.

  2. I have repeatedly attempted to watch shows but the dialogue box stayes, content trying to view is currently unavailable.
    This is what I pay for but have not received in weeks.

  3. In general, I think it’s the next day. However, sometimes they show up sooner, so I’m not certain there’s a hard, fast rule.

  4. Mr.nunyabiznus | December 2, 2015 at 2:23 pm |

    So you pay 6 bucks a month and STILL have to watch ads?? No thanks. That’s precisely why I quite cable. Not only was it stupidly expensive with few options but it was inundated with advertising. And last I checked, when you sign up for Hulu and pay for the service you don’t get ads anymore. This is NOT a win for a cord cutter by any stretch.

  5. I want to cancel it ASAP but I can’t seem to cancel it

  6. We live outside the broadcast range of our nearest network affiliate. So, for us to receive a live stream with local news is, by itself worth the price. We have relatively low speed internet and this app has performed better than just about any other. Just wish NFL was part of the deal.

    • Rumor has it tht the NFL will eventually be part of it. Only time will tell. Glad your experience has been a good one!

    • I am considering this in order to get the live stream with local news. Are you saying that even if the NFL game is on our local station we cannot get it viewing live local?

  7. I signed up through apple TV and I have clicked on every option and still can’t figure out how to cancel my free trial before I get charged. What a racket!

  8. I’m not sure how it works from Apple’s end, but it should be one login from CBS, regardless of where you log in.

  9. Windy Allen | January 13, 2016 at 4:21 pm |

    Aaron,
    Did you figure out how to work this? I can not. On my Apple TV there isn’t a log in I just had it after the purchase. Frustrating because it says on their site from anywhere. I had the same trouble with HBO now originally when I purchased it on the Apple TV, but it works now on everything.

  10. Do not sign up if you are interested in Extant, only season 1 is available. If you want to see the rest, you will have to pay 24 dollars at Amazon.com in addition to the 6 dollars a month you paid thinking that there woould be access to all episodes.

  11. I live in Vermont and until yesterday used to get local news from Burlington Vt. For some reason it is now a station from Ma. That I’m not interested in. Can we change news feed locations?

  12. Have you contacted customer service?

  13. CBS is a money *hore. I will not pay for CABLE to watch CBS and then pay to see the re-runs online. CBS is crazy. All other are FREE. Shame on you CBS

    • CBS All Access is a completely separate service from cable. It include on-demand episodes and a live stream of the channel in many markets. You don’t need cable to access it.

  14. I signed up for the service. My question is, will I able to use this anywhere in the world? My wife and I are on our way to Australia and New Zealand for the month of March. I would like to know if I will able to see my CBS All Access from there.

  15. Ronald Woody | March 8, 2016 at 2:59 pm |

    I live in Port Saint Lucie Florida and my nearest affiliate is Palm Beach. I get the Miami/Fort Lauderdale news! At my condo in Fort Pierce we get the Palm Beach affiliate I want at my house. Is there a way to change it. Geographically Palm Beach is more applicable for both locations.

  16. Sheryl DeBord | April 17, 2017 at 8:12 pm |

    Can I get this on a smart tv? Can I watch local news?

Comments are closed.