CBS All Access, we hardly knew ye. The streaming service launched a little over six years ago, but now it is morphing into a new and much bigger competitor to Netflix, Disney Plus, HBO Max, Peacock, and others. The service is now called Paramount Plus (branded as “Paramount +”), and it’s aiming to use the huge content library of Paramount Pictures and ViacomCBS’s TV properties to its advantage.
Read more: Best video streaming services
As you will see, the change in name will be more than just cosmetic. Paramount Plus has major plans to offer tons of new and exclusive content. A lot of them will be revivals or spin-offs of its most famous properties. It will also offer something for film fans who don’t want to go back to movie theaters immediately.
If you want to jump in head first, you can sign up for a free 7-day trial.
What is Paramount Plus?
This is the renamed streaming service from ViacomCBS that was previously known as CBS All Access. It has all of the content of CBS All Access, plus a ton of new and upcoming shows and movies. The company first announced the name change back in September 2020.
Why change the name, anyway?
CBS was previously a part of its parent company Viacom (which owned Paramount Pictures and many cable TV networks). In 2006, the companies split in two. In October 2014, CBS launched its All Access streaming service, to offer live streaming of its network programs as well as original programming.
In late 2019, Viacom and CBS merged again into one company, dubbed ViacomCBS. It was announced soon afterward that the CBS All Access service would be rebranded as Paramount Plus, because the Paramount name is more well known internationally.
How much is Paramount Plus?
You can subscribe, with ads, for $4.99 a month, or $49.99 a year. There’s also a no-ad option that costs $9.99 a month, or $99.99 a year. The no-ad option adds a few other extra features including 4K, HDR, and Dolby Vision support for select shows and movies. The $9.99 monthly plan also adds offline viewing, letting you download up to 25 titles at a time. Finally, you can live stream from your local CBS station with the $9.99 a month plan.
If you have already signed up for the previous $5.99 a month, or $59.99 annual, plan under the old CBS All Access, you will be grandfathered into Paramount Plus, and can continue to stream live content from your CBS station. However, if you cancel, you’ll lose access to this grandfathered privilege for good and will have to switch to one of the two new plans.
Bundle with Showtime for a special price
You can also bundle Paramount Plus with ViacomCBS’s pay cable network Showtime for a special price. Paramount Plus with ads plus Showtime will cost $14.99 a month. The Ad Free plan plus SHOWTIME costs $18.99 a month. All you have to do to add Showtime is go to your Paramount Plus account page, go to the add-ons section, and add Showtime. This offer is not available with the Paramount Plus annual plans.
Read more: Best Showtime shows
Can I get Paramount Plus for free?
ViacomCBS has established a standard 7-day free trial for Paramount Plus but for a limited time its extending the trial to a full month. Just act soon, as the offer expires March 31.
Beyond that, ViacomCBS has confirmed that each account on the service will support up to six individual profiles. You can share your login and password with up to five of your family and friends, and each one can have their own profile, so they can see the content they want to see.
Paramount Plus on Pluto TV
While there isn’t a free tier plan on Paramount Plus, there is an alternative (sort of). ViacomCBS also owns Pluto TV, the completely free live and on-demand streaming service. It offers lots of the same library of content found on Paramount Plus on its over 100 channels. In fact, Pluto TV recently launched a new channel, Paramount Plus Picks. It will offer select content from the streaming service, including episodes of shows that are normally Paramount Plus exclusives.
Read more: Best Pluto TV channels
How does it work?
Paramount Plus works just like other streaming services: Log in to the service via your PC, mobile phone, tablet, or another connected device. Select the show or movie you want to watch, and start streaming. If you are signed up for the $9.99 a month plan, or the grandfathered $5.99 a month plan, you can also select Live TV to stream from your local CBS affiliate channels.
If you’re subscribed to the cheaper ad-supported plans, you will occasionally see advertisements as you stream. The more expensive ad-free plan will allow you to stream without those commercials. However, streaming from the Live TV option will still show ads, no matter what plan you choose.
Is it worth it?
As usual, the answer to that is “it depends”. If you sign up for the $9.99 a month plan or stick with your grandfathered $5.99 a month plan from CBS All Access, you will be able to access lots of live sports events, including live streaming of NFL football games. If you are a Star Trek fan, the service will be your one-stop place to watch both classic, new and upcoming content from the sci-fi franchise.
There will also be lots of other library content from Paramount Pictures, CBS, and the Viacom family of cable TV networks (Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, MTV and others). If you are a fan of shows and movies from those sources, it might be worth signing up for the service. However, the new and exclusive content for Paramount Plus will take a year or two to debut, so if that’s what you want to watch, you may want to hold off and save your money.
Where is it available?
The service has launched in the following countries:
- Costa Rica
- Dominican Republic
- El Salvador
- United States
In Australia, it will launch under the 10 All Access brand name later in 2021.
What devices does Paramount Plus support?
Officially, ViacomCBS has confirmed that the service will support PC web browsers at ParamountPlus.com. It will also have apps for iOS and Android devices. Here’s a list of the devices that currently support that service.
- Computer or mobile web
- iPhone or iPad
- Android phone or tablet
- Apple TV (4th generation or later)
- Android TV
- Amazon Fire TV or Kindle
- Portal TV
- Xfinity Flex
- LG TV
- Samsung TV
- Vizio TV
- PlayStation 4
Other Paramount Plus features
We have already mentioned that the service will reserve some of its extra features for the paid $9.99 a month tier. That includes streaming select movies and shows in 4K resolution, HDR and Dolby Vision. Those movies and TV shows will have a special badge on their info pages. Supported 4K devices include:
- Select Roku models
- Amazon Fire TV (4K Stick, Cube)
- Android TV
- Apple TV 4K HDR (5th Gen)
Downloads of movies and shows for no-ad subscribers are supported on iOS and Android devices for offline viewing. Also, up to three concurrent streams can be accessed on one account.
The service also has parental controls for keeping certain content away from young children. Here’s how they work:
- Go to your Paramount Plus account page and then scroll down to the Parental Controls section. The feature is turned off by default, so you will have to click or tap on the toggle to turn it on. You will then have to type in your account password to proceed.
- Type in a four-digit PIN code that will appear below the Parental control toggle.
- You should see a list of content ratings. Tap or click on the content rating that you want to require typing in the PIN to watch. You also have an optional toggle to lock out live TV streams. This might be helpful since some live content, particularly from the Big Brother Live Streams, has mature content.
- Finally, click or tap “Save” to save your parental control settings.
In addition, when you set up a new profile, you can set it up for Kids Mode. Anyone watching from that profile will automatically see content specifically for younger audiences. You can set it up so that the Kids Mode profile shows content for really young children (TV-Y) or for older kids.
What’s on Paramount Plus?
For the launch, the service will have all the shows and content available on CBS All Access, including its original shows like The Good Fight, Star Trek Discovery, The Stand, and others. It will also have a ton of library content from Paramount Pictures, CBS, and the many Viacom cable TV networks. You will be able to watch movies like all the Indiana Jones films, the Godfather trilogy, and more.
The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run
The launch date will also see a few exclusive Paramount Plus original movies and series drop on the service. The biggest is the US debut of the next SpongeBob SquarePants feature film. The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run will feature the title character, and his best friend Patrick Star, heading to the Lost City of Atlantic City on a new adventure.
Kamp Koral: SpongeBob’s Under Years
Also debuting as a Paramount Plus exclusive on March 4, Kamp Koral: SpongeBob’s Under Years is the first spin-off series from SpongeBob SquarePants. It features a 10-year old version of SpongeBob, along with all of his friends, having fun at Kamp Koral.
The Real World Homecoming: New York
MTV helped to launch the reality show genre with The Real World series. In the first season, seven young people were put into a New York City loft back in 1992. In this reunion series on Paramount Plus, those same people get back together to see how things have changed for them, and how they may still be getting real with each other.
For Heaven’s Sake
This is an original documentary about a very, very cold case. The great-great-nephew of Harold Heaven, who went missing in Ontario, Canada in 1934, tries to solve this mystery.
In January 2020, the city of Wuhan, China locked down for 76 days to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus. This documentary will show how people in four hospitals in that city try to deal with this outbreak.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about the service for movie fans is that Paramount Pictures plans to offer some of its major theatrical releases for 2021 on an accelerated schedule for streaming.
The studio plans to release a few films on Paramount Plus just 45 days after they debut in theaters. That includes A Quiet Place II and Mission Impossible 7. The Paw Patrol Movie (due in theaters August 20) will be released day-and-date in theaters and Paramount Plus. Other upcoming 2021 Paramount movies, like the G.I. Joe spin-off Snake Eyes and Top Gun: Maverick, will debut on Paramount Plus in 2022.
In addition, ViacomCBS has set up a deal with the Epix pay-cable service. That will allow Paramount Plus subscribers to access over 2,500 films from the Epix library this summer. Also, new films from MGM, including the upcoming James Bond film No Die To Die, will stream on the service after their theatrical and Epix pay-cable runs.
On June 10, Paramount Plus will release Infinite, a new action movie starring Mark Wahlberg. The movie was originally set for a theatrical release, but will now be available exclusively on the streaming service.
Finally, the service will produce its own original films. That includes new entries in the Paranormal Activity and Pet Sematary horror movie franchises, along with movies based on the shows Beavis & Butt-head and Workaholics. Another all-new horror movie, The In Between, is in the works, starring Joey King of Netflix’s hit Kissing Booth movie series.
Upcoming exclusive drama TV series
ViacomCBS is developing a ton of original scripted drama series for Paramount Plus including some spin-offs from established franchises:
- Halo – Originally in development for the Showtime cable network, the sci-fi series based on Microsoft’s hit Xbox game franchise will now be a Paramount Plus title.
- Star Trek: Strange New Worlds – The next big live-action Star Trek series will debut on the service. A spin-off of Star Trek Discovery, it will feature Captain Christopher Pike, Number One, and a young Ensign Spock on board the U.S.S. Enterprise just before Captain James T Kirk took command.
- Y:1883 and 6666 – Two spinoffs of the popular Yellowstone series on the Paramount Network are coming to the streaming service. Y:1883 will set in the 19th century as the Dutton family try to establish their ranch in Montana. 6666 will be set in the modern day, at another location, the Four Sixes Ranch in West Texas.
- Criminal Minds – The CBS series about FBI criminal profilers remains a huge streaming hit on Netflix long after its cancelation. Paramount Plus will revive the show for a 10 episode run.
- The Offer – A 10 episode limited series that will tell how one of the best movies ever, the Godfather, got made.
- Mayor of Kingstown – Jeremy Renner will star in this series about politics and power in a city in Michigan.
- Land Man – A series centering on the people who work on oil rigs in West Texas.
In addition, the service is developing new series based on iconic films like Flashdance, Love Story, The Italian Job, The Man Who Fell To Earth, and The Parallax View.
Upcoming exclusive comedy series
Look for some major revivals of popular comedy shows, and some all-new series, on the service:
- Fraiser – Look for some more tossed salad and scrambled eggs action. Kelsey Grammer will reprise his iconic role as radio talk therapist Dr. Frasier Crane in this reboot of the long-running sitcom series.
- Reno 911! The Hunt For QAnon – A new event series that once again revives the satirical look at reality police shows.
- Inside Amy Schumer – The hit comedy sketch show starring Amy Schumer is coming back with five all-new specials.
- The Game – The popular CW and BET sitcom about football players and their wives is getting revived once again.
- Grease: The Rise of the Pink Ladies – A sitcom that will serve as a prequel to the hit 1970s musical is in the works at Paramount Plus.
- Guilty Party – A dark comedy about a journalist who covers the story of a wife who went to jail for murdering her husband, but who claims she didn’t kill him.
- The Harper House – An animated sitcom on a woman and her family who are forced to movie from the rich part of an Arkansas town to a poor side.
- The Weekly Show with Trevor Noah – The Daily Show host on Comedy Central will take a deeper dive into politics and issues in this series.
In addition, the show Younger, which had been showing on the TV Land cable network. will transfer to Paramount Plus for its latest season.
Upcoming exclusive kids and family shows
The company behind the Nickelodeon channel will have a ton of new content for Paramount Plus. One of them has already debuted on the service, a new CGI animated version of the hit kids Rugrats series, with the original voice cast.
- iCarly – Miranda Cosgrove and other members of the hit Nickelodeon sitcom will return in this revival for the streaming service.
- Star Trek: Prodigy – The first Trek series made just for kids, this animated show will feature a number of young characters who find an abandoned Starfleet ship and set out on their own adventures.
- Dora the Explorer and The Fairly Odd Parents – New live-action versions of these Nickelodeon animated shows are in the works.
- Avatar – New animated shows, short subjects, and features films based on Avatar: The Last Airbender and its spin-off The Legend of Korra are coming to Paramount Plus.
In addition, new shows based on Lassie, George of the Jungle, Danger Mouse, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs,, and Mr. Magoo are being developed for the service.
Upcoming exclusive reality and music shows
In addition to The Real World: Homecoming: New York, new and returning reality and music shows are either available now, or coming soon, to Paramount Plus. That includes new seasons of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars, Road Rules, The Challenge: All Stars, Ink Master, Dating Naked, and a new drag queen singing competition show called Queen of the Universe. Also, the service will be the home for the Big Brother Live Feeds when that show debuts on CBS this summer, along with extra content for fans of another CBS reality show Love Island.
For music fans, the series will revive a number of classic MTV shows, including Yo! MTV Raps, Unplugged, and Behind the Music. It will also be the home for a new limited series, From Cradle to Stage, about how musicians get inspiration from their mothers.
Upcoming exclusive sports, news, and documentaries
Sports fans will have a ton of stuff to watch on Paramount Plus. In addition to live NFL football games, and the Inside The NFL TV show, the service will feature PGA golf, including The Masters and The PGA Championship, along with NCAA basketball, coverage of SEC division sports, and several soccer leagues, including UEFA Champions League, Concacaf, Argentina’s Liga Profesional de Fútbol, Brazil’s Campeonato Brasileiro Série A, and the National Women’s Soccer League.
In addition to offering live streams of the CBSN news network, and local live news from over 200 CBS affiliates, the service will also be the home for 60 Minutes Plus, an extension of the long running CBS news magazine. It will also feature a new 48 Hours true crime original series, The Lie Detector.
More new documentaries are coming to the service as well. It will include shows like The Real Criminal Minds, about real FBI profiler cases and agents, along with a new series on the Watergate scandal of the 1970s.
Paramount Plus vs the competition
Because this service is basically a redress and expansion of the previous launch CBS All Access, Paramount Plus will likely lag behind many of the top tier streaming services in terms of content.
Below we’ve compared Paramount Plus to a few other leading streaming services on the market. This way you can be sure of your decision before spending your hard-earned money.
No discussion of streaming services would be complete without talking about Netflix. It has a deep content library of older movies and TV shows and a constantly growing amount of original content.
The cheapest Netflix plan costs $9 a month, and only includes SD quality streaming and one concurrent stream. That’s still several dollars lower than the cheapest Paramount Plus plan, and just $1 a month higher than its no-ads plan. To stream in HD you’re looking at $13 a month, which is several dollars less than Paramount Plus, and to stream in 4K on Netflix, you will have to spend $18 a month.
Not all of Netflix’s original content is of high quality but there will always be something new to watch. It will take a while for Paramount Plus to match Netflix’s content. However, there’s no doubt the prices of Netflix’s plans are much more expensive.
Paramount Plus will already have a lot of great children’s content right out of the gate, thanks to its Nickelodeon library of shows and movies. Disney Plus also offers a lot of movies and shows for kids and the whole family, and its library of content is perhaps of an even higher quality.
Disney Plus also has a growing list of completely original content, including hit shows The Mandalorian and WandaVision, with more to come. It remains to be seen if the upcoming original content for Paramount Plus will yield shows as popular as those two series.
At just $7 a month, Disney Plus is one of the most affordable streaming services out there. If you want even more TV shows or sports content you can get a great bundle deal of Disney Plus, Hulu, and ESPN Plus for just $13 a month. Paramount Plus does offer a variety of content for all audiences, but at prices that are lower than the Disney Plus-Hulu-ESPN Plus bundle.
NBCUniversal’s Peacock is perhaps the closest to Paramount Plus in terms of its content. Peacock has some great shows to stream, particularly on the comedy side like The Office, Parks and Recreation, and more. It also offers a selection of live news, sports, and a growing amount of original content.
Peacock’s ad-supported free tier has more than 13,000 hours of classic and modern tv shows to stream, and for $4.99 a month (about the same as Paramount Plus’s upcoming ad-supported plan), you can bump that up to 20,000 hours. Honestly, it’s hard to beat free, and perhaps ViacomCBS will offer a free ad-supported tier in the future.
Paramount Plus – Other FAQs
Q: How many people can stream at the same time on Paramount Plus?
A: The service can be streamed on up to three devices at once.
Q: Can the service be shared with friends and family?
A: Yes. Thanks to the generous allowance of three simultaneous streams, the service can be shared without worrying about interrupted streams.
Q: Does Paramount Plus offer streams in 4K?
A: A limited amount of content will be available in 4K on the service.
Q: Does Paramount Plus have a free plan?
A: Currently the service does not have a free plan.
Q: Does the service feature advertisements?
A: The $5.99 a month plan, and the upcoming $4.99 plan it will replace, will offer video advertisements. the $9.99 a month plan offers no ads for on-demand content, but live streams will still feature ads.
Q: When will Paramount Plus launch internationally?
A: The service has launched in Latin American countries, and will be available in the Nordic countries in Europe on March 25. It will launch in Australia in mid-2021.
Q: Does the service work with a VPN?
A: Although it’s not officially supported, many VPN services work with Paramount Plus. Learn more about the best VPN services.
Q: Can I download shows from the service and watch them offline?
A: You can download shows and movies to watch offline, but only on the iOS and Android apps.