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What is Paramount Plus? Price, plans, and what you can watch

The Paramount Plus home screen.
Phil Nickinson/Digital Trends

With the huge range of streaming services now available, it’s easy to lose track of which service has the content you want to watch. And that’s made more confusing by the habit companies have of renaming and rebranding their services every few years.

Like Paramount Plus, which used to be CBS All Access but then added content from Showtime as well — which included shows like Dexter, Yellowjackets, and Billions. The service is from the parent company ViacomCBS, and it’s no longer a U.S.-only exclusive. Now the service is available internationally, in places like Canada, Australia, Brazil, and Europe as well as the U.S. And while there is plenty of new content coming to Paramount Plus regularly, you could be forgiven for wondering what this streaming service is and whether you need it.

Despite the twists and turns in its history, Paramount Plus has a great library and includes access to some great sporting coverage, particularly in terms of hosting NFL games and in terms of soccer, with its coverage of the UEFA Champions League. If you’re wondering what the service is and whether it’s worth subscribing, we’ve got the details on it below.

Paramount Plus Price: What does it cost?

Paramount Plus has two main plans: Paramount+ Essential and Paramount+ with Showtime (formerly Premium). There are two main differences: Essential has advertising with most on-demand content, and it lacks any series or movies from Showtime. With Showtime doesn’t have on-demand ads, and it includes Showtime content. It also provides for some content in 4K resolution, allows for offline downloads, has support for Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision on supported hardware, and has a live stream of your local CBS affiliate.

The price of the two plans went up slightly in late June 2023, with the Paramount+ Essential plan at $6 a month or $60 a year, and the Paramount+ with Showtime plan at $12 a month or $120 a year, plus taxes. And the price increases marked the full integration of the Showtime content.

With any subscription plan, you’ll get seven days free before the subscription kicks in. If you want to cancel Paramount+ before the free subscription is up, no worries. And if you decide you want to keep Paramount+, you’ll start being charged after that first week.

What devices can you use Paramount Plus on?

Paramount+ is supported by most of the major devices that offer streaming, including:

  • Apple products: Apple TV, iPhone, iPad.
  • Android products: Android TV, Android phones, and tablets.
  • Games consoles: PlayStation 4, PS5, Xbox One, and Series X/S.
  • Streaming devices: Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Portal TV, Google Chromecast, Xfinity Flex.
  • Smart TVs: LG, VIZIO, and Samsung (2017 or newer, and only in Australia, Canada, Latin America, and the U.K.).
  • Desktop browsers: Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer.
  • Mobile browsers: iOS 11+, Safari, Android 5+, Chrome.

What movies are on Paramount Plus?

Paramount+ has, as the name would imply, a wealth of movies from Paramount Pictures. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Paramount+ can and does have all kinds of movies from all sorts of decades, and not just from the Paramount catalog.

And like any other streaming service that has movies, Paramount Plus swaps things out on a pretty regular basis. We could list dozens and dozens of movies here. But we won’t. Instead, we suggest just hopping over to Paramount Plus and checking things out for yourself.

What shows are on Paramount Plus?

Paramount+’s TV library is what really makes it stand out. The library includes content from CBS, Comedy Central, BET, Nickelodeon and Nick Jr., and MTV. So, that means you’ll get the bulk of the CBS catalog, including South Park, NCIS, CSI, SpongeBob Squarepants, Criminal Minds, and Young Sheldon, and they’re all available in their entirety on Paramount+.

There’s also a growing crop of new originals that are exclusive to Paramount+. That includes the new entries in the Star Trek universe, including Star Trek: Discovery, Star Trek: Lower Decks, Star Trek: Picard, and the upcoming Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. It’s also the only place to watch several exclusive South Park releases. It’s worth noting that Star Trek: Prodigy not only has been canceled one full season (the second season wasn’t yet completed) — you can’t actually watch it on Paramount+ anymore.

Paramount Plus also is home to the expanding Yellowstone universe. In addition to the flagship series, it’s also where you’ll find Mayor of Kingstown, from director Antoine Fuqua and starring Jeremy Renner, and the Yellowstone prequel 1883. And that’s just for starters.

You’ll find ample reality TV offerings, news (including 60 Minutes), and content from the Smithsonian Channel.

Can you watch live sports on Paramount Plus?

Yes, Paramount Plus has live sports. Quite a few of them, actually.

The biggest is the NFL. That’s not to say that Paramount Plus lets you watch every single NFL game, because it doesn’t. Nor does it let you watch out-of-market NFL games. (We’re not talking Sunday Ticket, either.)But if you have either of the Paramount Plus plans, you’ll be able to stream the regional game that’s available on your local CBS affiliate. If you’re on the $5-a-month Essential plan (which is the one that also includes advertising in the on-demand content), you’ll be cut off as soon as the game is over. So if you want in on any of the post-game action, you’ll need to pony up for the With Showtime subscription.

The other sort of football — or fútbol, if you will — also is prevalent on Paramount Plus. More specifically, it’s (mostly) available on the Paramount+ Essential plan.

The biggest example is the UEFA Champions League, which pits the best club teams from Europe against each other each year. You’ll be able to watch the Champions League on either of the two Paramount Plus plans.

That’s followed by the Europa League, comprising teams that didn’t make it into the Champions League competition. There’s also the NWSL (the women’s professional league in the United States), Italy’s Serie A, Brasil’s Brasileirão, the CONCACAF Nation’s League, the Scottish Professional Football League, and various World Cup qualifiers. You’ll need the more-expensive With Showtime plan for all of that.

What you don’t get with any of this is any sort of live sports in 4K resolution. That’s not actually a surprise — such features are few and far between at this point on any streaming service. But it’d still be nice to see at some point.

A Paramount Plus screen with the show Star Trek: Prodigy on it.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Can you watch Paramount Plus with a cable subscription?

Today, if you want to watch Paramount+, you have to have a subscription to Paramount+. Full stop. No more freeloading.

What you can do, however, is use an existing TV provider subscription — whether it’s cable, satellite, or streaming — to log in to CBS.com and get a live feed of your local CBS affiliate, CBSN, CBS Sports HQ, or ET Live.

But it doesn’t get you into Paramount Plus.

Can you get a free trial of Paramount Plus?

If you’re interested in trying out Paramount Plus, you might balk at paying over for a year’s subscription in advance when you’re not sure if the shows and movies that are available will be worth it to you. Or perhaps there’s a big football game on and you just want to catch one match, rather than paying for an entirely new subscription that you may or may not need. In that case, you can get a free trial of Paramount Plus to see if it’s worth it for you, and to check whether it works as expected on all of your devices.

You can get the free trial of Paramount Plus for seven days, choosing either the Essential plan or the With Showtime plan. As is usual for these kinds of trials, you have to sign up for an account and give over your payment details before you can start the free trial. So if you try it out and don’t want to keep the subscription, don’t forget to cancel before the seven days are up!

Once you have signed up for the free trial, you’ll have full access to the Paramount Plus library and you can watch as much as you like. If you decide to keep your subscription, you’ll be charged once your seven days are up.

Another option which is useful to know about is the Paramount Plus free library. This is a collection of pilot episodes, some series, and trailers which you can watch for free and without an account to get a feel for the kinds of content you’ll find on Paramount Plus.

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