Paramount Plus Review
CBS All Access is now Paramount+, but it’s mostly the same streaming service—with a few twists.
What is Paramount Plus?
As of March 2021, Paramount+ is the new name of streaming service CBS All Access—because no rebrand is complete without a “+” next to the title. It retains all of CBS All Access’s programming (like The Good Fight, Why Women Kill, and the Star Trek catalog), and adds more shows and movies from parent company ViacomCBS’s vaults.
In all, Paramount+ features around 30,000 shows from its CBS, Comedy Central, Paramount Network, BET, MTV, VH1, and other channels, and hundreds of movies from the Paramount Pictures library. It’s a lot like CBS All Access, plus more.
Is Paramount Plus good?
Paramount+ is an overdue refocus of CBS All Access, which was a scattershot of originals, older shows, random movies, and stacks upon stacks of Star Trek. In our review of CBS All Access, we suggested that CBS All Access could just as easily be titled Star Trek+, but Paramount+ spreads the entertainment love more evenly and widely.
CBS All Access fans won’t find anything to complain about with Paramount+, and newcomers will probably be less confused—it’s not just about CBS TV shows. We thought CBS All Access was OK; Paramount+ comes much closer to good (but not quite perfect) with more content from all of ViacomCBS’s networks.
Paramount Plus pros and cons
- Deep library of TV shows and movies
- Local CBS livestream ($9.99 version)
- Limited sports and movies
- Small lineup of originals
Paramount Plus free trials and deals
Paramount+, like CBS All Access before it, offers a seven-day free trial period to try out the service. You can also sign up for a full year of Paramount+ for 50% off, which adds up to $36.94 for 12 months of the ad-supported version, or $54.94 for commercial-free.
Paramount Plus plans and pricing
Data effective as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
Paramount+ recently dropped its ad-supported tier by a dollar, from $5.99 a month to $4.99 a month. The new, cheaper Essential plan also dropped local CBS station live TV streaming, as well as offline downloads for mobile viewing.
Also, be aware that “no ads” on the Premium plan only applies to on-demand content—you’re still going to see ads on live TV, because it’s live.
Paramount Plus vs. the competition
|Price||Editorial rating||Video||Streams||Compatible devices||Details|
|$8.99–$17.99/mo.||4.33/5||1080p, 4K||1–4||14+||View plans|
|$5.99–11.99/mo.||4.22/5||1080p, 4K||2||13+||View plans|
|$8.99–$11.99/mo.||4.19/5||1080p, 4K||3||13+||View plans|
|$7.99/mo.||4.46/5||1080p, 4K||4||13+||View plans|
|$14.99/mo.||4.5/5||1080p, 4K||3||10+||View plans|
|$4.99/mo.||3.93/5||1080p, 4K||6||7+||View plans|
|Free–$9.99/mo.||4.33/5||1080p, 4K||3||12+||View plans|
|$4.99–$6.99/mo.||4.00/5||1080p, 4K||4||12+||View plans|
Data effective as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
Paramount+ falls in the inexpensive end of the streaming pack, in line with Apple TV+ and Discovery+. Only the ad-supported free tier of Peacock goes for less per month.
Shows and movies on Paramount Plus
Paramount Plus shows and movies
With over 30,000 TV shows and around 650 movies at our count, Paramount+ can hold its own against corporate vault streamers like Peacock and HBO Max. Like those two, Paramount+ features content-specific hubs: CBS, Comedy Central, BET, MTV, Nickelodeon, and Smithsonian Channel. You can also find shows, movies, and live TV through the top menu.
You’re able to watch the latest episodes of CBS shows the day after they’ve aired on CBS live TV, including comedies, dramas, late-night talk shows (like The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and The Late Late Show with James Corden), and news (like 60 Minutes, Face the Nation, and 48 Hours).
There’s also a deep trove of shows and stand-up specials from Comedy Central, as well as all 10 seasons of VH1 staple RuPaul’s Drag Race, and every Star Trek series and movie from the ‘60s forward. Previously aired CBS specials like The Grammy Awards can also be found on Paramount+.
The biggest MIA show: popular Paramount Network drama Yellowstone, which streams exclusively on Peacock. If you’re looking for Kevin Costner’s Sons of Anarchy on a Ranch, it’s not on Paramount+. A close runner-up: former CBS series The Big Bang Theory (it’s on HBO Max).
The Paramount+ live TV streaming channels (Premium plan only) are composed of CBS (your local station), CBSN (24/7 news), CBS Sports HQ (around-the-clock sports analysis and live games), and ET Live (Entertainment Tonight on a perpetual loop).
Shows on Paramount Plus (partial list):
- Young Sheldon
- The Neighborhood
- Love Island
- Chappelle’s Show
- Bar Rescue
- Key & Peele
- RuPaul’s Drag Race
- All Rise
- The Good Wife
- Beverly Hills, 90210
- Big Brother
- Star Trek series
Kids’ shows on Paramount Plus (partial list):
- Peppa Pig
- SpongeBob SquarePants
- The Fairly Oddparents
- Blue’s Clues
- Bob the Builder
- The Backyardigans
- Bubble Guppies
- Are You Afraid of the Dark?
- Clarissa Explains it All
- Dora the Explorer
- Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness
- Inspector Gadget
- Strawberry Shortcake
- Super Mario World
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
- The Thundermans
Movies on Paramount Plus (partial list):
- Indiana Jones movies
- Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle
- Sin City
- From Dusk till Dawn
- The Uninvited
- Vanilla Sky
- Failure to Launch
- Minority Report
- Black Sheep
- Nacho Libre
- Snow Day
- Up in Smoke
- Aeon Flux
- Comedy Central standup specials
- Star Trek movies
Paramount Plus original shows and movies
The Paramount+ roster of exclusive originals is small but growing, and includes critical hits like The Good Fight, Why Women Kill, and the latest adaptation of Stephen King’s The Stand. There’s also a trifecta of excellent Star Trek series, and new crime thriller, Coyote.
On the other side of the reviews, Jordan Peele’s Twilight Zone revival has received mixed reactions, and so-so series Strange Angel and Tell Me a Story were both canceled after two seasons. Apart from a few gems, the value of Paramount+ isn’t in the originals.
Paramount Plus originals (partial list):
- The Good Fight
- Why Women Kill
- The Stand
- Star Trek: Discovery
- Star Trek: Picard
- Star Trek: Lower Decks
- The Twilight Zone
- Strange Angel
- Tell Me a Story
- No Activity
- One Dollar
Paramount Plus live sports
Live sports on Paramount+ is limited to what’s carried by CBS TV and cable’s CBS Sports Network (again, Premium plan only). NFL games (including the Super Bowl on select years), NCAA March Madness games (excluding those aired on TBS, TNT, and truTV), Masters golf, and college hockey (yes, it’s a thing) can be found on Paramount+.
Paramount+ also features a healthy lineup of UEFA (Union of European Football Association) soccer matches, and National Women’s Soccer League coverage. It probably won’t cater to all of your sports needs, but Paramount+ has a bit more than most other on-demand streaming services.
Paramount Plus local channels
You get exactly one local channel with Paramount+: a live feed of your area CBS affiliate. Since all CBS shows are available on-demand, Paramount+ doesn’t offer a cloud DVR to record anything from its live feed.
Also, the live schedule doesn’t include any local or news programming, just CBS’s primetime series. You’ll have to find The Drew Barrymore Show on your own.
Paramount Plus channel add-ons
Like the local channel selection, Paramount+’s add-on options are singularly slim—but it is cheap: ViacomCBS cousin SHOWTIME for $5.99 a month, which is about half the usual rate for the premium channel.
Combine Paramount Plus with another service
Chances are you’re not going to get everything you want from Paramount+, or any one streaming service. Sign up for a second (or third) to expand your viewing horizons.
|Everything Disney, Marvel, Star Wars, The Simpsons, and more in one streaming service.||Up to 45 entertainment, sports, kids, and news channels, plus dozens of add-on packages.||Thousands of shows from HGTV, TLC, Discovery, Animal Planet, Food Network, ID, and more.|
|View plans||View plans||View plans|
Paramount Plus specs and features
Paramount+ carries over the same specs and features from CBS All Access; no major overhauls have been announced for the rebrand. So far, it’s just a new logo, though there are a couple of areas where Paramount+ could improve on CBS All Access—like its simultaneous streams.
Paramount Plus number of streams vs. the competition
|Included streams||Upgrades||Offline downloads|
|3||None||Yes (Premium, $9.99/mo.)|
|1–4||Varies by plan||Yes|
|2||None||Yes (Hulu No Ads, $11.99/mo.)|
Along with its plans and pricing changes, Paramount+ also upped its simultaneous streams from two to three, which is the average for most streaming services (what’s up with two, Hulu?).
The Premium tier of Paramount+ allows for offline downloads of most content for viewing on-the-go, minus Comedy Central, BET, MTV, Smithsonian, and some Nickelodeon shows; Essentials does not.
Paramount+ supported devices vs. the competition
|Amazon Fire TV Cube|
|Amazon Fire TV|
|Amazon Fire TV Stick|
|Android phones and tablets|
|Apple TV (4th gen.)|
|Apple TV 4K|
|iPhone and iPad|
|PC and Mac Web browsers|
|PlayStation 3, 4, 5|
|Paramount+||Netflix||Hulu||Prime Video||Disney+||HBO Max||Apple TV+||Peacock||Discovery+|
What CBS All Access got right was making itself available on all the major streaming platforms, which means Paramount+ likely won’t be absent from your device. Unless it’s a Nintendo.
Paramount Plus video and audio quality
Paramount+ streams at 1080p HD on-demand, though live TV is more in the 720p range due to the nature of livestreaming. As we mentioned in our CBS All Access review, it’s kind of a shame that shows like Star Trek: Discovery can’t get the 4K treatment, but Paramount+’s 1080p resolution still looks (dilithium) crystal clear.
The Paramount+ home screen is fairly easy to navigate, with a top menu, six channel (or “Brand”) hubs, and descending rows featuring “Latest Full Episodes” from CBS, “Trending Shows,” “Recently Added Shows,” “On Now” livestreams, “Sports,” and more.
While the shows and movies sections are neatly sortable by genre, like “Comedy,” “Drama,” “Documentary,” etc., the hubs don’t offer the same navigation. Sure, it would be redundant to search “Comedy” within the Comedy Central hub, but some specific options (like “Standup” or “Animation”) would be nice.
Paramount+ streams in standard 2.0 stereo audio.
Final take: Is Paramount Plus worth it?
If you were already a CBS All Access subscriber, you now have Paramount+, so it’s not like we have to convince you to switch—it’s the same service, but with more shows. For those who were on the fence about CBS All Access, however, Paramount+ is easier to define: it’s not just NCIS and Star Trek reruns.
The real selling point of Paramount+ is its deep catalog of shows from CBS, Comedy Central, BET, Nickelodeon, and MTV—that’s a gold mine of content by itself. The handful of original shows are appealing, but Paramount+ (and every other big-brand streaming service, really), is going to have to step up production to compete with Netflix and Hulu.
Lastly, Paramount+ doesn’t offer much for sports or movie fans. Unless you’re into European soccer and dusty flicks you haven’t watched since the last time you visited a Blockbuster Video, that is.
Paramount Plus FAQ
Is Yellowstone on Paramount Plus?
Kevin Costner cable hit Yellowstone, which first runs on Paramount Network, is not streaming on Paramount+. Since it’s not owned or produced by Paramount Network or ViacomCBS, the production company was free to shop Yellowstone to other streaming outlets. The first three seasons of Yellowstone are currently streaming on Peacock.
What’s the difference between Paramount Plus and Paramount Network?
Paramount Plus and Paramount Network aren’t the same thing. Paramount+ is the new name of the original streaming service CBS All Access, while Paramount Network (formerly Spike TV) is a cable/satellite TV channel. Both are owned by ViacomCBS.
Paramount+ streams some shows from Paramount Network (like Bar Rescue and Ink Master) but doesn’t have the rights to other popular series (like Yellowstone and Lip Sync Battle).
Is Paramount Plus replacing CBS All Access?
As of March 4, 2021, Paramount+ is the new name of CBS All Access. Paramount+ is a rebrand, not a replacement, of the same streaming service, which will function as it did before, with new content additions from networks Comedy Central, BET, MTV, and Smithsonian Channel.