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What is CBS All Access? What you need to know about the streaming service

CBS All Access is another name to add to the ever-growing list of on-demand streaming services that are vying for your hard-earned cash. But unlike Hulu and Netflix, CBS doesn’t offer many licensed shows. Instead, it’s first and foremost a hub for its network material, including hit shows like NCIS and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Here’s everything you need to know about the platform, including how much it costs and what content is available.

What is CBS All Access?

Like Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, and others, CBS All Access is an on-demand streaming service that lets you watch its programming whenever you want for a flat monthly fee. However, All Access isn’t home to countless licensed shows — it stakes its claim with CBS series, including current flagship titles like CSI: Miami and The Late Show with Stephen Colbertas well as a wide array of titles from CBS’ loaded library of older shows.

All Access is also home to CBS local stations, CBSN, CBS Sports HQ, and ET Live 24/7. This means you can tap into live programming at any moment, on any supported device, from anywhere in the United States. Although, we should note that you’ll still have to suffer through the various advertisements — even if you have a commercial-free subscription to All Access. In this regard, the experience is no different from viewing on a television.

How much is CBS All Access?

CBS All Access comes in two flavors: Limited Commercials and Commercial Free — priced at $6 and $10 per month, respectively. The former delivers the most basic experience, which feels a lot like watching a cable channel, in part due to the tremendous amount of commercials that surface mid-show (and how repetitive they are). Commercial Free delivers an ad-free user experience that also supports offline listening on mobile devices.

Which devices support CBS All Access?

There’s no shortage of devices that stream CBS All Access, ranging from Android and iOS to Apple TV and Google Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Roku OS, PlayStation, and Xbox. Plus, CBS recently started bundling the app on select smart TVs, so if you own a brand new Samsung or Vizio 4K TV, you should be able to fire up CBS All Access right away. Just note that in some instances you may have to install the application manually.

What shows are on CBS All Access?

We’d be here all day if we listed all the different shows on CBS All Access. Instead, we’ll run through some of the hottest shows you’re bound to be interested in. Bull? It’s on there. Criminal Minds? It’s on there. Other major shows include Hawaii Five-O, NCIS, and Young Sheldon. There are also a wide variety of back catalog shows from CBS’ library, including MASH, the original Twilight Zone, multiple Star Trek iterations, and many others. 

There are also a growing array of CBS All Access Originals worth checking out, such as One Dollar, Star Trek: Discovery, and The Good Fight, as well as a number of licensed movies. The collection is far from as comprehensive as the likes of Amazon Prime Video and Netflix; though there are some gems on there, like Beverly Hills Cop II and the full run of Rocky.

What’s the video and audio quality like?

While Amazon Prime Video and Netflix offer a sizable selection of content in 4K Ultra HD with HDR, CBS All Access falls way behind with most options using 1080p Full HD.

The sound options aren’t much better, either — a small number of devices support CBS All Access titles on Dolby Digital surround, with the rest resorting to a basic two-channel stereo-sound output. For comparison, both Amazon and Netflix support Dolby Atmos (though in minimal supply) and plenty of surround sound titles. So, even if it has its perks, CBS still can’t compete with some of the streaming industry’s big names.

How do I cancel CBS All Access?

CBS makes canceling All Access easy, and it shouldn’t take more than a few minutes. All you need to do is head over to this secure link, sign in, and confirm your cancelation. If you’re worried about the shows you’re right in the middle of watching, don’t worry. You’ll have some time to wrap things up because your service doesn’t terminate the day you put in the cancellation.

Your service will be available until your next billing date. Canceling on November 3rd, for example, when you don’t pay your next bill until December 16th, gives you through the end of the billing period to finish up your binge-series watching.

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Josh Levenson
Having spent half a decade writing about the latest AV, mobile and social news for some of the world’s largest…
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