When CBS All Access merged with Viacom content to become Paramount+, it left those with a cable subscription now way to stream CBS live. That’s because the old CBS All Access app used to allow cable subscribers to log in with their TV provider and stream their local CBS affiliate station live, even if they didn’t have a CBS All Access subscription. The new Paramnout+ app, which launched last week, offers no such CBS live steam or any free content, so CBS has launched a new Fire TV app, simply called CBS, to fill that gap. The new app allows cable subscribers to stream their local CBS station live and it also allows anyone to stream a selection of full episodes of CBS shows for free without needing any kind of login.
When you first launch the new CBS app, you’re asked to either log in with a TV provider, if you have one, or continue to watch free episodes. The app is fairly straightforward, with 3 main sections, including a home screen, a section for all of CBS’s shows, and a live stream section. There’s also a search feature and a settings area with a few limited options, like enabling or disabling autoplay and managing your accounts. After logging in with a TV provider, you have the option to create or log into a free CBS.com account. Doing so will sync where you left off across multiple devices, as well as provide show suggestions and favorites.
The section of the app that lists CBS’s shows allows you to browse by popular shows, alphabetically, by genres like comedies and dramas, and more. There are also separate sections for daytime shows, primetime shows, late night shows, specials, and news.
Selecting a show allows you to browse the available episodes as well as browse a list of extras, which are short clips, about 1-2 minutes in length, the are related to the show. Some shows have additional sections, such as a “Carpool Karaoke” section for The Late Late Show with James Corden, which contains clips of just that segment type. You can also browse lists of other shows that are related to the show you are viewing.
If you don’t log in with a TV provider, you are, in general, able to watch the last 5 episodes of each show for free. However, the latest episode of each show will not be available to you until 1 week has passed since it aired. Those are the two main restrictions in place, but there are some exceptions, such as not needing to wait a week to watch select reality shows, daytime shows, and late night programming.
If you log in with a TV provider, it removes a few restrictions, but not all. Being a cable subscriber allows you to watch the latest episode 24 hours after it airs and lets you watch entire seasons of shows, so you’re not limited to only the latest 5 episodes. That said, there is still content that remains inaccessible, like back seasons of shows. Those episodes are marked as “Subscribe” and selecting them informs you that you need a Paramount+ subscription to watch those older episodes.
The last main section is the live stream area of the app. If you are logged in to the app with a TV provider, you’ll be able to watch your local CBS station live, assuming you are in one of the major US markets that the app supports. The app also provides access to live streams of CBS News, CBS Sports HQ, and ET Live. These additional live streams are available for free so you do not need to be logged in with a TV provider to view them.
Overall, this new CBS app is a nice addition to the Fire TV appstore. Due to CBS previously focusing so much on its CBS All Access service, it made it cumbersome for cable subscribers and those just wanting a bit of free content. Now that CBS has this more traditional TV Everywhere app, it’s a great place to watch CBS’s original shows if you’re not interested in subscribing to Paramount+.