CBS Live Stream: How to watch CBS free or cheap online
Getting CBS without cable couldn’t be easier these days. It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for a way to live stream NFL football games or a popular prime time series like SEAL Team, Young Sheldon and The Big Bang Theory. CBS is broadcasting some of the biggest live TV events of 2018, including the AFC Championship and the 60th Annual Grammy Awards.
This resource guide will quickly show you how to watch CBS live on your TV. I’ll cover how to live stream CBS on a smartphone or by using a favorite streaming device like a Roku. I will also show you a way most people can get CBS for free for the rest of their lives by using a TV antenna.
Watch CBS live for free
Let’s first cover how to get CBS without cable for free. Buying a TV antenna is the least expensive way to get a high definition signal of CBS. Once you pay for the antenna, all the antenna channels you get are yours — free for life. The federal government ordered broadcasters to switch over to digital signals back around 2010.
The change from analog to digital meant that major networks like NBC, CBS, FOX and others began broadcasting in high definition. The picture looks much better than the cable TV or satellite feed that you’re paying for. Why? Because the signal you’re pulling in from your local broadcast tower is coming to you uncompressed.
Cord cutters have been tapping into these broadcasts for years. More people are learning about these free channels and experimenting with cutting the cord to their traditional cable package. That’s led to explosive growth in the TV antenna market. Hardware and software companies are even coming up with new ways to stream your antenna signal to a Roku, Amazon Fire TV and smartphones.
You can easily jump into this new era of cord cutting. There’s two free online tools you can use, Antenna Web and TVFool, to find out if there’s a CBS broadcast tower near you. A top-rated indoor antenna like the ClearStream Eclipse is pretty inexpensive compared to how much a cable subscription costs every month.
There’s a whole bunch of TV all around you that you’re not tapping into, and some of those channels aren’t even offered by your local cable company. Read my guide: How to Choose the Best TV antenna & DVR for free tips on how to get over-the-air (OTA) channels. You might not live in an area where you can get antenna channels. Keep reading. There are plenty of other alternatives to cable so you can keep a live stream of CBS flowing to your TV.
Where is there a CBS Live Stream available?
There are a number of live streaming platforms that offer channels like CBS and premium channels like HGTV and A&E. Even channels that seemed anchored to cable subscriptions like ESPN, AMC and Big Ten Network are now available through live streaming. These channel subscriptions are being piped through your Internet connection instead of a cable cord.
DirecTV Now, fuboTV, PlayStation Vue and YouTube TV are among the most prominent services that offer local CBS channels. CBS also has its own standalone streaming platform called CBS All Access. I’ve tested all of these services and regularly use a couple of them for my home viewing and ongoing reviews.
Unlike a cable subscription, you can easily cancel a live streaming service online, and start up with a competing service whenever you want. Cord cutters jump around using different platforms throughout the year. They can watch all their favorite shows and pay a fraction of the cost compared to cable. All you need is an Internet connection and a streaming device.
Pretty much every live streaming service offers a free trial that lasts about a week. Just be sure to cancel your trial before it ends so you don’t get charged anything. If you want to keep it, do nothing and keep watching your favorite shows.
I know, having just an Internet subscription can be expensive. But there’s ways to get a low-priced one.
Once you subscribe to a live streaming service, you will be able to use your name and password to sign into many TV Everywhere apps. You can use these apps on a Roku or other streaming device to watch shows on-demand. Some of these apps even have live streams of extra channels.
Let’s take a quick look at each of the live streaming services that carry local CBS stations.
CBS All Access offers a live stream and on-demand
CBS came out with its own streaming service on Oct. 28, 2014 instead of relying on other platforms like Hulu. For $5.99 per month, you can get a live stream of CBS in 184 markets, and all of its shows on-demand the day after the live broadcast.
CBS All Access has exclusive shows including Star Trek Discovery and No Activity; and a vast collection of on-demand content.
Subscribers can stream up two shows simultaneously on separate devices. So someone might want to watch that latest Star Trek episode, while another member of the family catches up on The Big Bang Theory in the other room.
There are a couple of things you should be aware of before signing up. CBS All Access streams in 720p, which is the same picture quality as most live TV platforms served over the Internet. But the online A/V magazine Audioholics found that “most of its programming displays at a soft 480p.”
CBS All Access still has commercials despite it being a subscription-based platform. Recently, CBS began offering a commercial-free package, but that costs $9.99 per month. So, from a long term cost vs maximum value perspective, it might not be the best deal in town compared to an antenna/DVR setup. That said, it’s a solid alternative to cable if you just want CBS programming and minimize your costs. CBS All Access let’s you try out its service free for a week.
Live Stream CBS on DirecTV Now
DirecTV Now lets you live stream CBS from your smartphone whether you’re walking down the street, or sitting at home. It has a great app for Roku, and aside from live TV channels, DirecTV Now has an impressive on-demand movie selection.
About 70 percent of U.S. TV-watching households can watch local channels like CBS, ABC, NBC and FOX through DirecTV Now. If you’re not sure whether these local channels are offered where you live, you can easily check with DirecTV Now’s local search tool.
CBS is available across all four channel bundles offered by DirecTV Now. The least expensive bundle gives you 60+ live channels, including AMC, Animal Planet, History, HGTV and Viceland. You’ll also get DirecTV Now’s Audience Channel, which has original programming like Mr. Mercedes. Subscribers will have access to about 54 TV Everywhere apps, including CBS Sports, WatchESPN, FOX Now and Spike.
Just about every streaming device has a DirecTV Now app, including Roku, Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV. You can cast a DirecTV Now app to Chromecast and NVIDIA Shield TV.
Try out DirecTV Now with a free 7-day trial. Just cancel before the trial ends if you’re not interested or you don’t like the service. If you prepay for just one month of a subscription, then you get a free Roku Streaming Stick. You can also get a free Apple TV by prepaying for four months of a subscription. There’s no obligation to continue your subscription after that.
Watch CBS online, and CBS Sports Network with fuboTV
Getting CBS Networks was a big deal for the fuboTV channel lineup. It brought subscribers a local CBS live stream along with CBS Sports Network and The CW. You can look over all the markets where fuboTV offers a CBS live stream.
fuboTV is a sports-first platform, but doesn’t leave out your entertainment needs. A&E, History, Bravo, HGTV, Food Network and Travel Channel offer plenty of favorite shows like Live PD and House Hunters. Soccer fans will get to watch all the matches they want with beIN Sports. There’s 64+ channels in all, including local FOX and NBC in many markets across the U.S.
fuboTV just got a brand new app for Roku that’s really slick. There’s a fuboTV mobile app, and ones for Fire TV devices and Android TV. A subscription costs $19.99 per month during the first two billing cycles. After that, fuboTV costs $39.99 per month. Read my review of fuboTV if you want more details about their service.
A fuboTV subscription also gets you access to TV Everywhere apps for more than 30 networks. You can check out fuboTV free for 7 days.
CBS Live Stream on PlayStation Vue
PlayStation Vue has CBS in select markets across the U.S.
A CBS live stream is available on the Access channel bundle for $39.99 per month. The Access plan gives you 48+ live channels. Bravo, CNN and National Geographic are among the channels in this package. A limitless Cloud DVR feature is offered as part of your subscription.
PlayStation Vue works on Roku, Amazon Fire TV and Android TV devices. You can also stream it on a PC. PS Vue has up to five simultaneous streams on different devices, but you will have to watch most of your programming within your home network. PlayStation Vue offers a free 5-day trial.
YouTube TV has a CBS Live Stream
When YouTube TV began expanding its coverage across the U.S., its parent company, Google, made sure to include local channels. CBS is available in many markets with YouTube TV. You will get 40+ channels for $35 per month. You will get ABC, ESPN, NBC, FOX AND CBS. The live streaming platform started out with just support for Chromecast and Apple TV via AirPlay.
YouTube TV now has apps for a number of Smart TVs that operate on Android TV software. NVIDIA Shield TV also got its own app. So far, there’s no app for Roku or Amazon Fire TV. You can try out YouTube TV with a free 14-day trial.
Is CBS on Sling TV?
No. According to The Chicago Tribune, CBS continues to be very selective about which streaming platforms the company partners with. CBS has struck agreements with DirecTV Now, YouTube TV and PlayStation Vue.
What’s the best way to get a CBS Live Stream?
If you’re not buying an antenna at the moment, I would go with DirecTV Now because you are getting the most value for your money.
For $35 per month, you’re getting 60+ live channels including a CBS live stream that you can take with you anywhere. As a subscriber, you’re also getting access to roughly 54 TV Everywhere apps and a massive on-demand movie selection. You can get a free Roku Streaming Stick if you prepay for one month. New subscribers that want a free Apple TV (32GB) only need to prepay for four months. You can also just try out DirecTV Now free for 7 days if you don’t want to prepay for anything.
Sports fans, especially ones that watch a lot of NFL and college football, might want to check out fuboTV free for 7 days. You’ll also get CBS Sports Network, NFL Network, Big Ten Network, PAC 12 Network, FS1 and FS2.
What’s your favorite way to live stream CBS? Tell fellow readers in the comments below.