PBS Passport: 5 Answers to Common Questions

The PBS app isn’t just a hub for PBS Passport. It continues to offer a library of free programming.

For years, I’ve been an avid PBS viewer. I continue to watch PBS as a free over-the-air channel by using my TV antenna.

Independently owned and reader-supported, The Cord Cutting Report offers in-depth, hands-on testing of TV-related products and services. Learn about our ethics and review process in our review policy and how we may earn affiliate commissions.

The PBS app isn’t just a hub for PBS Passport. It continues to offer a library of free programming.

For years, I’ve been an avid PBS viewer. I continue to watch PBS as a free over-the-air channel by using my TV antenna.  

But in the age of streaming, PBS has expanded its reach as a trusted source of educational and entertaining programming. Some of its shows, such as PBS NewsHour, have dedicated YouTube channels. The Local Now app now live streams PBS in many parts of the U.S. 

Before we even go there, let’s cover the latest with PBS Passport.

What is PBS Passport?

PBS Passport is a premium subscription service that provides exclusive access to an extensive library of content from the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). It’s a valuable resource for avid fans of PBS programming and offers a wealth of content beyond what you’ll find on the regular PBS channels.

How much is PBS Passport?

PBS Passport typically comes with a modest monthly or annual fee. It’s usually $5 per month, or $60 annually. The exact cost may vary depending on your local PBS station, but it’s generally quite affordable. This fee helps support the production of quality programming and gives you uninterrupted access to a treasure trove of content.

What programs are available on PBS Passport?

PBS Passport offers a diverse range of programs that cater to various tastes and preferences. Some of the remarkable titles and genres you can expect to find include:

  • Nature & Science: Dive into the captivating world of wildlife and natural wonders with in-depth documentaries like “Nature” and “NOVA.”
  • Masterpiece Classics: Indulge in timeless dramas such as “Downton Abbey” and “Poldark” that have captivated audiences for generations.
  • Live Music Shows: Enjoy electrifying live music performances, including “Austin City Limits,” showcasing some of the biggest names in the music industry.
  • News Programming: Stay informed with trusted news sources like “PBS NewsHour” and “Frontline” providing in-depth analysis and reporting on current events and issues.
  • Educational Content: Access a wealth of educational programs, including “Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gate Jr.” and “American Experience” for history buffs.
  • Local Content: Enjoy a selection of locally produced content that reflects the unique interests and stories of your community.

PBS Passport essentially grants you the opportunity to explore these and many more shows, making it a fantastic resource for both entertainment and education.

How do I get PBS Passport on my TV?

Getting PBS Passport on your television is a straightforward process:

  • Subscription: First, you’ll need to subscribe to PBS Passport through your local PBS station or the PBS website.
  • Device Compatibility: Make sure that your TV or streaming device is compatible with the PBS Passport app. Most smart TVs, streaming devices, and gaming consoles support the app.
  • Download and Install: Download the PBS Passport app on your preferred device from its respective app store or channel store.
  • Activation: Launch the app and follow the activation process, which usually involves entering a unique code provided during the subscription.

Once these steps are completed, you’ll have PBS Passport content available on your TV for your viewing pleasure.

How can I get PBS Passport for free?

While PBS Passport is a subscription service, there are a few ways to potentially enjoy it for free:

  • The PBS app lets you watch local PBS stations live in most parts of the U.S. Check the time and availability of a PBS show you want to watch. You may be able to watch it live, and for free, through the app.
  • Most PBS content is available on-demand on the PBS app and the PBS website the day after it airs live. The program is available, and free to watch, for roughly two weeks before it becomes part of the PBS Passport library.
  • The Local Now app now streams live PBS programming for more than 300 U.S. cities and markets. The Local Now app is a free streaming service that offers local weather reports, movies and Classic TV shows.

PBS Passport is a valuable resource for enriching your entertainment and educational experiences. While there may be associated costs, exploring free access options can be a great way to enjoy the premium content PBS has to offer, including live music shows and a wide array of engaging programs.

For more news on streaming, how-to guides and reviews, head over to the main page of The Cord Cutting Report or follow the CCR on Google News.

Jim Kimble is a seasoned industry expert with over two decades of journalism experience. He has been at the forefront of the cord-cutting movement since 2016, testing and writing about TV-related products and services. He founded The Cord Cutting Report in 2016, and serves as the editor.

Major publications, including MarketWatch, Forbes, and South Florida Sun Sentinel, have interviewed Kimble for his years of expertise. He gives advice on the complexities consumers are navigating with streaming options, and over-the-air TV. Kimble has been a staff writer or correspondent for several award-winning, daily newspapers, including The Boston Globe.

4 thoughts on “PBS Passport: 5 Answers to Common Questions”

  1. You can watch virtually all broadcast shows free via streaming in the 2 weeks from the day after the show airs. After that they go into the Passport box.

  2. I guess public has gone out of public broadcasting. I went to watch the new Ken Burns documentary on Vietnam. I’m a veteran of that little police action and got showered with agent orange for my efforts. I couldn’t watch on regular broadcast because of travel plans. So when I got home tried to watch on my Roku box. So they teased me with the first two episodes, but if I want to see the others I must pay up.

  3. OK fine. I’m not using my local Cincinnati/Covington Ky zip code. I will use Boston, at least they actually produce programming.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.