Just because you don’t have cable doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy CBS, America’s most watched network. Thanks to a number of live streaming services, you can now easily watch CBS online without cable — live and on demand.
Whether you’re a fan of hit CBS shows like NCIS and The Big Bang Theory, someone who can’t miss The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, or you’re a sports fan who craves NFL, college football, March Madness, and other coverage of top events, we’ll walk you through all of your options to watch CBS online legally. You’ll learn about each of the streaming services that carry CBS, including their benefits as well as their drawbacks, so you can choose the one that’s right for you.
Here are the best ways to stream CBS online.
Get the CBS Live Stream and On Demand Library with CBS All Access
CBS’s own streaming service offers a huge selection of live and on demand content for under $6.
CBS All Access is a streaming service brought to you by CBS itself. The service provides CBS on demand streaming of thousands of episodes of hit CBS shows as well as CBS All Access original streaming series you can’t watch anywhere else. For those who want to watch their local CBS channel live, All Access also offers CBS live stream in nearly every US market at this point (they are working on getting 100% coverage across the country). You get all of this for only $5.99 a month.
The Cheapest Way to Watch CBS without Cable
If you just want to stream CBS, this is absolutely the cheapest way to do so. All Access is only $5.99 a month for the standard service that includes full access to the library of on-demand CBS content (current and classic series) with some commercials, a CBS live stream of your local affiliate in nearly every market, and CBS All Access original series, like Star Trek: Discovery, The Good Fight, and more.
If you don’t want ads when watching the on-demand content CBS All Access offers, you can pay $9.99 a month instead, but really, commercial breaks are fairly limited already with the $5.99 standard plan.
Here’s an overview of what CBS All Access brings to the table:
- $5.99 a month — no contract, pay month to month and cancel any time
- Live CBS in over 150 markets (~90% of markets)
- Watch live sports coverage on CBS without cable (March Madness, NFL games online, and more)
- Over 10,000 on demand episodes of current and classic TV shows
- CBS All Access original series you can’t get anywhere else
- Available on Apple TV, Fire TV, Chromecast, Roku, iPhone/iPad, Android devices, PS4, Xbox, Windows 10, and more
- Try CBS All Access free for 7 days
Want to learn more about All Access? See our CBS All Access review for more details.
You can start out with a 7-day free trial to see if you like it. This will allow you to stream CBS free for a full week. After that, it’s just $5.99 a month with no contract required.
Hulu Live Offers CBS Live Stream and a Whole Lot More
Watch CBS online with a lineup of more than 50 channels, cloud DVR, plus Hulu’s popular on demand streaming library
Hulu Live is one of the most well-rounded live streaming services out there, giving subscribers the best of both worlds — a huge collection of popular pay TV channels (including a CBS live stream in about 80% of markets) and on demand content with the classic Hulu library of hit TV shows and original series. This combination of live channels with the popular Hulu on demand service makes it arguably the most complete cable TV alternative on the market.
The Most Local Network Coverage of Any Live Streaming Service
The spotty availability of local channels (e.g. CBS, ABC, NBC, FOX, etc.) has always been the one drawback to most live streaming services. But Hulu with Live TV currently boasts the widest availability of local network TV channels of any live streaming service, with more than 600 markets covered for the major 4 networks. This includes the ability to watch CBS online without cable in a huge portion of US markets (nearly 140 total CBS markets).
Here’s what you should know about Hulu Live:
- $40 a month gets you over 50 live channels, the classic Hulu on demand streaming service, and a host of great features
- No contracts or hidden fees — pay month to month and cancel any time
- Get the most local network coverage of any live streaming service
- Enjoy the most popular live sports (ESPN, FOX Sports, etc.), news (CNN, FOX News, etc.), and entertainment (FX, HGTV, etc.)
- Add premium channels like HBO, Showtime, and more
- Stream to just about any device, including Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, Roku, Xbox, iPhone/iPad, Android mobile devices, and more
- Cloud DVR with 50 hours of storage included (upgrade to 200 hours for additional fee)
- Stream on 2 devices at the same time (unlimited screens option available)
- Try Hulu Live TV free for 7 days
Learn more about Hulu with Live TV and try it free for a week here.
Watch CBS Without Cable via DIRECTV NOW and Get It All
Big channel packages give subscribers a loaded experience
If you’re looking for a full fledged cable TV kind of experience, DIRECTV NOW might be of interest to you. Not only does it offer another way to stream CBS from home or on the go in many markets, but it also has huge channel packages ranging from 60 to 120 channels. Of course, these big channel packages do come at a price, and DIRECTV NOW ranges from $40 up to $75 a month, depending on which plan you choose.
CBS streaming is available in select areas (over 80 total cities), although the service’s local network coverage isn’t as expansive as Hulu’s (or YouTube TV’s for that matter). That said, DIRECTV NOW is regularly expanding coverage to new areas. You can check if it’s available in your area during the sign up process.
Big Channel Packages without the Hassles of Cable
DIRECTV NOW has the most robust channel packages of any live streaming service at this time, but don’t worry, you won’t have to deal with any of the hassles of traditional satellite or cable TV service.
Here’s what you need to know when considering DIRECTV NOW as an option for streaming CBS:
- No satellite required
- Packages range from $40-$75 a month
- No contract — cancel any time
- Great for those who want a cable-like experience with bigger channel packages and don’t mind spending a little
- Enjoy CBS and other locals in many markets alongside nationwide channels like FOX News, AMC, ESPN, TBS, CNN, HGTV and much more.
- Cloud DVR includes 20 hours of storage
- Stream on 2 devices at the same time (third simultaneous stream can be added for a small fee)
- Watch on just about every device — Apple TV, Roku, Fire TV, Chromecast, iOS devices, Android, and more
- Try DIRECTV NOW free for 7 days
For the full channel list and more info on this service, read our DIRECTV NOW review.
Want to watch CBS without cable for free? Try DIRECTV NOW’s free 7-day trial!
Sports Fans Can Stream CBS Live with fuboTV
Get the widest selection of local, national, and international sports channels with fuboTV
fuboTV is a streaming service that lets you watch live TV and live sports from home or on-the-go, without a cable subscription. It’s a very useful and valuable service, particularly for sports fans. In many markets, fuboTV carries the local CBS affiliate, making it a good choice for streaming CBS.
Currently, fuboTV carries CBS in more than 70 markets, including major cities like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, and others.
A Great Streaming Experience for Sports Lovers
With fuboTV, you’ll also around 50 other great channels including NBCSN, FS1, FS2, NBA TV, NFL Network, CBS Sports Network, regional FOX Sports and NBC Sports networks based on your location, international sports channels, and more. Despite being a sports-first streaming service, fuboTV does carry popular news and entertainment channels like FOX News, FX, AMC, and much more.
- $40 for your first month, $45 a month every month after
- Great for fans of all major US and international sports
- Follow your local teams in most US markets with regional sports networks
- Cloud DVR includes 30 hours of storage at no extra fee (upgrade to 500 hours of storage for $9.99/month)
- Live sporting events have less delay on fuboTV compared to other live streaming services, so you don’t have to worry about being a minute or two behind the action
- User-friendly interface makes it easy to sort content by sport if you want or via a traditional channel guide
- Available on most devices, including Apple TV, Chromecast, Fire TV, Nvidia Shield, Roku, iPhone/iPad, Android, computers, and more
- Try it free for 7 days
Check out our fuboTV review for the full channel list and service overview.
To get started, try out a FREE 7-day trial of fuboTV!
YouTube TV Offers CBS Streaming Live in Nearly 100 Markets
Google’s live streaming service is fast growing in popularity but still has room for improvement
YouTube TV is a live streaming cable alternative backed by Google. As you might expect, the tech giant has done a great job building this service, making it a popular choice for many streamers. CBS is included in just under 100 markets at this time, so YouTube TV doesn’t have quite as expansive coverage of the network as Hulu Live or Vue, but it’s still available in a lot of major cities.
A Streaming Service with Lots to Offer
The rollout of the YouTube TV streaming service has been very methodical. The service is only available in markets where at least 3 of the 4 major broadcast networks (CBS, ABC, NBC, and FOX) are available. That means that if YouTube TV is available in your area, you can bet it’s a good option for getting your local networks streaming. This is especially useful in areas where antenna coverage is lacking and makes it difficult to get local channels over the air.
- $40/month with no contract or hidden fees
- Decent selection of popular channels, ranging from national and regional sports to news and entertainment
- Key channels missing from the YouTube TV lineup include Comedy Central, Discovery, Food Network, and HGTV
- Cloud DVR offers unlimited storage but does have some quirks (inability to fast forward through commercials on many shows)
- Available on a great selection of devices, including Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, Shield, iPad/iPhone, Android devices, and more (no Fire TV availability at this time though)
- Try YouTube TV free for 7 days
Families Can Use PlayStation Vue to Watch CBS Online
With up to 5 simultaneous streams, the whole family can watch what they want
PlayStation Vue is another live streaming service that will provide access to a CBS online stream. With it, you can watch CBS shows, and get CBS live feeds in over 100 markets for all the latest sports, news and more. You can also watch CBS on-demand for select content. And no, despite its moniker, you don’t need to have a PlayStation to enjoy this streaming service.
Live Streaming for the Whole Family
Perhaps the most appealing thing about PlayStation Vue is that it lets you stream on up to 5 devices at the same time. That makes it a great choice for families where everyone has their own thing they want to watch. You can even setup personalized profiles on the DVR to avoid having your recordings get mixed up with others in your household.
It’s worth noting though that Vue has the highest starting price point of any of these services — $45 per month.
- $45 per month with no contract makes it an expensive option for some
- 5 simultaneous streams is the best of its competitors, which makes Vue popular with large households with multiple watchers
- Solid all-around selection of channels that offers a mix of locals, national cable TV favorites, regional sports networks, and more
- Available on a range of devices — Apple TV, Chromecast, Fire TV, Roku, PlayStation 3 and 4 consoles, Shield, Apple and Android mobile devices
- Some mobile restrictions may apply when streaming outside of your home, limiting content you can watch on the go
- Try PlayStation Vue free for 5 days
To watch CBS online live without cable, you’ll need to live in one of the 100+ markets where it is offered by Vue. See our PS Vue review to learn more.
Remember, Vue also offers a free 5-day trial, so you can potentially get the CBS live stream free for a few days.
IS CBS Available On Demand?
Some streaming TV fans prefer a more on demand experience in general. That is why products like Hulu and Netflix are so popular. Can you stream CBS on demand with these products? Many CBS shows are available on Amazon Instant Video and Amazon Prime or iTunes. You may need to search individually to find if your favorites are available. The best way to access on-demand CBS content is to use CBS All Access.
Watch CBS Without Cable Using an Antenna
If you happen to live in the broadcast area for CBS, there is one more option that works out to be essentially free. You can invest in a digital antenna and watch CBS without cable over the air and never pay a thing. Depending on the antenna reception in your area, you could easily pick up dozens of channels for free. This is especially helpful if you want to watch football games on CBS in the fall.
If you need some antenna recommendations, here are a few we’ve had good experiences with:
- Indoor Antenna for City Use–Mohu Leaf 30
- Indoor Antenna with Long Range–ClearStream Indoor/Outdoor Antenna w/ 70 mile range
- Outdoor Antenna with Max Range–Winegard Platinum Series Long Range Outdoor Antenna
Not sure what kind of antenna you need? TVFool.com has a great tool that lets you input your address to see how strong signals will be at your location.
What else can we tell you about how to watch CBS online without a cable TV subscription? Ask in the comments!