Getting Started With CBS All Access: Devices, Plans & Pricing Explained

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Everything you need to know about CBS All Access before signing up

CBS All Access is one of the many subscription services you can now take advantage of and with the recent release of The Twilight Zone, some consumers might be thinking now is the right time to give this video service a try.

If that sounds like you, then here you'll find all the information you need to get started with CBS All Access. This includes understanding the different pricing tiers, whether there are any additional savings on offer, and more.

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One of the streaming service aspects that never gets enough attention is device support. After all, if you can't access the service from the device you want to, then what's the point? So that seems like a good place to start.

What devices does CBS All Access support?

CBS All Access is available via a number of devices and platforms. At the mobile level CBS All Access supports Android phone and tablets via the Android app (download here), as well as iPhone and iPad through the iOS app. Owners of a Windows 10 tablet can also download a corresponding app for access.

In addition, Android TV support is available thanks to the optimized Android TV app (download here) which seems to be compatible with most current Android TV devices.

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Also on offer is Fire TV support for TVs with Fire TV built in, as well as the Fire TV set-top box, Fire TV Stick and the Fire TV Cube. Apple TV users can also download an app which currently supports the 2nd, 3rd and 4th generation devices as well as the Apple TV 4K. Likewise, Roku OS is also widely supported at the TV, stick and set-top box level.

Select Samsung and Vizio Smart TVs are also supported at the app level.

Lastly, CBS All Access can also be accessed via a desktop browser, including Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari and Internet Explorer, or via select gaming consoles such as Sony's PlayStation 4 and Microsoft's Xbox One.

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How much is CBS All Access?

Generally speaking there's not a wealth of choice when it comes to plans with the main decision coming down to whether you want to go ad-free or not. However, that's not the full extent to the difference between the ad-supported and ad-free plans.

With ads

The cheapest option is the "Limited Commercials" plan which is priced at $5.99 per month. This is the ad-supported plan and so users should expect to see ads throughout the experience.

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Without ads

Consumers can choose the "Commercial Free" option which currently costs $9.99 per month. Besides the ability to watch without ads, subscribers to this plan also gain the ability to download videos so they can be watched offline.

It's worth noting that not all content can be downloaded and not all devices support the feature. In addition, downloads only remain accessible for thirty days from download, or for 48 hours if playback has already commenced. Downloads can also not be accessed from outside the U.S.

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A note about the ads

Although the more expensive plan is marketed as a "Commercial Free" option, CBS All Access does provide access to some live TV. In those instances ads will still be shown. The commercial free element simply applies to content that's accessed on demand.

Premium add-ons

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Generally speaking, premium add-ons are not a thing with CBS All Access although you do have the option to add a SHOWTIME subscription. This effectively just combines the two subscriptions (you can also add a CBS All Access subscription to your current SHOWTIME plan in the same way) and so there's no massive incentive to do this.

Those who do can expect to pay $18.99 per month when bundling the two services together, or if opting for the 'with ads' CBS All access plan then the price of the bundle drops down to $14.99 per month.

Additional savings are on offer

Pay annually

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One way consumers can save even more than usual is by opting for an annual plan. Although you will be expected to pay the full yearly amount up front, the difference here is CBS All Access rewards annual subscribers with a 15-percent discount.

Taking advantage of the annual discount effectively means you only pay for a ten-month subscription while gaining access for the entire twelve months. In money terms, this means the "Limited Commercials" plan costs $59.99 per year while the "Commercial Free" option comes in at $99.99 per year.

If opting for an annual plan, there's no option for a refund during the yearly cycle if canceling. This includes even if looking to sidestep from the annual plan to the monthly plan.

Student discount

Students are able to take advantage of a 25-percent discount against the standard cost of a CBS All Access subscription. However, this discount can only be used with the "Limited Commercials" plan.

Eligible students do need to provide confirmation of student status and CBS All Access uses a service called "SheerID" to verify the information. If automatic verification is not possible the student will need to "upload student documentation" to gain the discount.

For more information on the student discount and how to enroll click here.

Content overview

CBS All Access offers a good amount of content for a reasonable price and especially for those opting to the ad-supported plan.

The amount of content on offer is not quite as varied as the likes of Netflix or Hulu although the ad-free version is not priced as highly either. For reference, CBS All Access claims to offer more than "10,000 episodes on-demand from over 100 shows and specials."

In addition you do gain access to some live TV, as well as CBS All Access exclusive content including The Twilight Zone, Star Trek Discovery and The Good Fight.

CBS All Access on its own is unlikely to be enough for heavier content consumers but it is likely to be a good supplement to existing subscriptions and will be suitable for families as one account can be used to stream on three different devices at the same time.

Try for free

As is the case with almost all streaming services, CBS All Access is happy to let interested consumers try before they buy. What's more, there's no difference in the trials regardless of which plan you opt for.

In saying that, the trial period is a little light as it does only last seven days. However, as this is the same trial users are able to make use of the "Commercial Free" plan during the trial and then if they want to save a few extra dollars each month they can switch over to the ad-supported plan before the trial ends.

Regardless of the plan selected for the trial, new users do need to provide a payment option up front and automatic billing is in effect.

Those who find this is not the right service for them can cancel at any time before the trial ends and they won't be billed.

Try CBS All Access

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Editor-in-Chief

John has been writing about and reviewing tech products since 2014 after making the transition from writing about and reviewing airlines. With a background in Psychology, John has a particular interest in the science and future of the industry. Besides adopting the Managing Editor role at AH John also covers much of the news surrounding audio and visual tech, including cord-cutting, the state of Pay-TV, and Android TV. Contact him at [email protected]

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