CBS All Access Review – 2020

CBS is one of the four main TV networks in the USA and it has created an online TV streaming counterpart. CBS All Access has 4 million subscribers and it offers live streaming of the CBS channel plus an archive of all the CBS shows.

Pros of CBS All Access

  • All four CBS TV channels streamed live
  • Live sport events
  • Original content
  • A library of past CBS shows
  • Two simultaneous streams allowed

Cons of CBS All Access

  • Only shows from CBS

Table of Contents

Overview of CBS All Access Internet Services

CBS is a national terrestrial broadcast network. The channel is called a “network” because it isn’t transmitted directly but relies on a network of local companies that each transmit the channel over a specific territory. This configuration of national broadcasting dates back to the origins of TV in the USA when the possibility of one central office controlling the transmitters need to broadcast the service all over the nation.

The original business model of broadcasting through local affiliate stations survives and the contractual obligations of that system makes it difficult for national channels, such a CBS to offer an online live TV service across the USA.

In order to reconcile the split between CBS as a content producer and the local affiliate stations that broadcast the brand, CBS All Access is marketed primarily as a video on demand system with a live broadcasting channel made available to the local affiliate. Establishing the boundaries between each affiliate’s territory is particularly problematic with the service when it is streamed to mobile devices.

How is CBS All Access different?

CBS All Access is a groundbreaking live TV streaming service. All of the major networks showed trailers and sample episodes on their websites. CBS evolved it media playing site out of its main site onto a new service, making the subscription service CBS All Access.

Two of the three other major US television networks have followed CBS into the video streaming market. However, CBS is the only network to put its name on its streaming service. NBC’s recently launched streaming service is called Peacock, ABC’s parent company, Disney operates Disney+ and Hulu rather than developing the ABC brand online. Fox relies on Hulu as its main streaming outlet.

While CBS All Access channels a lot of content from the CBS network group – CBS, CBSN, CBS Sports, and ET Live, it also has original content, which is made available in its video library alongside archives of past CBS broadcast shows.

The four CBS channels are streamed live on the CBS All Access service.

Who is CBS All Access best for?

Although CBS All Access has a large library of shows, 70 percent of the service’s subscribers only watch current season releases of original content and the live TV channels on the system. This means that CBS All Access is more important as a live TV system than as an on demand video library.

Despite its established brand, which would normally attract older customers, the majority of CBS All Access subscribers – almost two thirds – are in the 18 to 49 age range.

How to get CBS All Access

CBS All Access requires an internet connection. Beyond that, there are a number of different devices that can be used to receive the streaming service. Vizio, LG, and Samsung smart TVs can receive the video stream of CBS All Access over the internet. Other ways of getting the service onto a TV set include the Amazon Fire TV Stick and Amazon Fire Cube. Android TV, Apple TV, and Roku boxes can all connect TVs to the internet in order to receive CBS All Access. The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are other gadgets that can channel the streaming service. Apps for iOS devices give owners of iPads and iPhone a connection to CBS All Access and owners of Android phones and tables and the Kindle Fire tablet can also get an app.

The video streams can be watch through a media player at the CBS All Access website with any browser. Streams to computers and mobile devices can be sent on to TV sets with Google Chromecast.

Some Points About CBS All Access

The CBS All Access service has the following features:

  • Live TV streams – All four CBS channels are streamed live on CBS All Access.
  • Commercials options – One plan is subsidized with adverts and the higher plan is ad free.
  • Original content – Star Trek Discovery, Pickard, and The Good Fight are all CBS All Access originals.

CBS All Access Pricing Overview

CBS All Access has two plans. The lower plan costs $5.99 per month and streams include adverts. The Commercial Free plan costs $9.99 per month. Both of these services are free for the first month. Both plans can be paid for yearly, which gets a 15% discount. The yearly price of the commercial supported version is $59.99 and the commercial free plan cost $99.99 for a year.

Subscribers to Amazon Prime Video can add on a subscription to CBS All Access within the Amazon system.

CBS All Access Customer Service

The CBS All Access section of the CBS website leads through to a separate site for customer support. This features a searchable knowledgebase that has guides on how to use the service and advice to solve technical issues.  CBS All Access subscribers can also reach customer support by phone and email. There is also a contact form on the help center website.