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Paramount+ Essential vs. Paramount+ with SHOWTIME

Paramount+ offers two main plans, and one is significantly better than the other (if you have the dough for it.)

No ads, premium content
Paramount+ with SHOWTIME
Free trial:
7 days
30,000+ hours plus SHOWTIME
Ad free?:
Free trial:
7 days
30,000+ hours plus SHOWTIME
Ad free?:
Ad-supported, fewer live channels
Paramount+ Essential
Free trial:
7 days
30,000+ hours
Ad free?:
Free trial:
7 days
30,000+ hours
Ad free?:

Is Paramount+ Essential or Paramount+ with SHOWTIME better?

We think all streaming should be ad-free, so we recommend going with the premium Paramount+ with SHOWTIME package over Paramount+ Essential if it’s within your budget. It’s also got an entire additional library of premium content to sweeten the deal.

It’s more expensive than Paramount+ Essential, but compared to Disney+’s $13.99, Max’s $15.99, and Hulu’s $17.99 monthly price tags, Paramount+ with SHOWTIME’s $11.99 per month cost doesn’t seem so bad.

Paramount+ Essential

Low price
No SHOWTIME titles

Paramount+ with SHOWTIME

No ads
SHOWTIME library
More expensive

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Paramount+ prices and plans

Plan Price Video Streams SHOWTIME? Ad-free? Details
Paramount+ Essential $5.99/mo 1080p 3 View plan
Paramount+ with SHOWTIME $11.99/mo. 1080p, 4K 3 View plan

Data effective as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

As is the growing trend with modern streaming services, Paramount+ offers two plans: The ad-supported Paramount+ Essential and the ad-free Paramount+ with SHOWTIME. But unlike most other services, Paramount+ adds a bunch of extra content onto its ad-supported plan to sweeten the deal.

Paramount+ Essential

Paramount+ Essential gets you access to all of the CBS and Paramount+ Originals you’d expect from the service, including all of those The Good Wife and Star Trek spinoffs. You’ll even get to watch select live sports, like the NFL and Champions League.

The main drawback to this plan is the presence of ads on all on-demand content.

Paramount+ with SHOWTIME

To get rid of ads on Paramount+, you’ll want to upgrade to Paramount+ with SHOWTIME. This premium plan comes with a few added perks—including a live CBS channel, additional live sports like March Madness, and SHOWTIME’s entire library.

Paramount+ Essential specs and features

Simultaneous streams

Paramount+ Essential comes with three simultaneous streams per account, which is a pretty average number for streaming services. Upgrading to Paramount+ with SHOWTIME, however, does not give you additional streams like with Max or Netflix’s premium plans.

Live sports

With the $5.99/mo. Paramount+ Essential plan, you get access to NFL on CBS Live and top soccer livestreams like the UEFA Champions League. This is great if you don’t have access to CBS’s NFL coverage through a cable or satellite plan, and is an especially good deal for soccer fans.

CBS News

Like with sports, Paramount+ provides CBS News as a replacement for the traditional CBS channel. You won’t get access to actual CBS, though—that’s locked behind the premium Paramount+ with SHOWTIME plan.

Big Brother Live Feeds

Eat your heart out, The Truman Show—the magic of modern streaming means that fans can watch the Big Brother cast at all hours of the day.

Paramount+ with SHOWTIME specs and features

Ad-free streaming

The ad-free Paramount+ with SHOWTIME subscription comes with all of Paramount+ Essential’s perks, plus several additional features.

More live sports

In addition to the football and soccer games available with Essential, upgrading to Paramount+ with SHOWTIME will get you access to March Madness, the PGA Tour, and B1G Football.

Offline viewing

If your mobile device is running on iOS 14+ or Android 5+, you can download most shows and some movies for offline viewing. You’ll be able to keep that download for 30 days, but if you start watching, that number goes down to 48 hours. You’re also limited to 25 downloads at a time, so choose wisely.

Premium audio and video formats

Paramount+ with SHOWTIME lets you access premium streaming with 4K, Dolby Vision, and HDR10 video formats on select titles, as well as Dolby Atmos surround sound. It’s not clear which titles support these formats, but you will have to have a compatible device (although most modern smartphones and streaming devices will do the trick).

What’s new on Paramount+?

Paramount+ is constantly adding new content to both of its plans’ libraries. Find up-to-date, monthly recommendations with our What To Watch on Paramount+ guide.

Shows and movies on Paramount+

Paramount+ Essential boasts “tens of thousands” of episodes and movies, including buckets of content for fans of Star Trek, Nickelodeon, CBS, and MTV. You can also supersize your content offerings with Paramount+ with SHOWTIME, which combines all the content from Essential with SHOWTIME, previously a standalone service.

Shows on Paramount+ Essential

  • 1883: A Yellowstone Origin Story
  • 1923: A Yellowstone Origin Story
  • Ghosts
  • Another Period
  • Colin From Accounts
  • Why Women Kill
  • The Good Fight
  • Halo
  • Star Trek: Discovery
  • Star Trek: Strange New Worlds
  • Mayor of Kingstown
  • Survivor
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender
  • The Backyardigans
  • Blue’s Clues
  • RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Stars
  • School Spirits

Movies on Paramount+ Essential

  • Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves
  • Mean Girls (2024)
  • Mean Girls (2004)
  • Clueless
  • She’s the Man
  • The Big Short
  • Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning
  • Jack Reacher
  • Top Gun: Maverick
  • Transformers: Rise of the Beasts
  • Transformers: Age of Extinction
  • Transformers: The Last Knight
  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon
  • Bumblebee
  • Scream VI

Shows on Paramount+ with SHOWTIME

  • Dexter
  • The Chi
  • Billions
  • Ray Donovan
  • Yellowjackets
  • The Tudors
  • The Curse
  • Penny Dreadful
  • This American LIfe
  • Twin Peaks: The Return
  • Ziwe

Movies on Paramount+ with SHOWTIME

  • The Last Voyage of the Demeter
  • Marcel the Shell with Shoes On
  • Everything, Everywhere, All At Once
  • Pearl: An X-traordinary Origin Story
  • The Whale
  • Bodies Bodies Bodies
  • It Follows
  • Emma
  • Mr. Malcolm’s List
  • Jane Eyre
  • Fences
  • Only Lovers Left Alive
  • Pride

What is the difference between Paramount+ Essential and Paramount+ with SHOWTIME?

Paramount+ Essential is a cheaper, ad-supported plan. You’ll get access to all of the on-demand content Paramount+ has to offer, plus live news and select sports. For the full experience, Paramount+ with SHOWTIME adds SHOWTIME’s library to the mix, plus additional sports and access to your local CBS affiliate’s livestream.

The biggest deciding factor between the two plans is the presence of ads—if you want those pesky ads to go away, you’ll want the more expensive Paramount+ with SHOWTIME plan.

Paramount+ Essential vs. Paramount+ with SHOWTIME FAQ

What’s the cheapest way to get Paramount+?

The cheapest Paramount+ plan is Paramount+ Essential, which costs $5.99 per month.

What is the difference between Paramount+ Standard and Premium?

Paramount+ Standard is now called Paramount+ Essential and is the service’s cheaper, ad-supported plan. Paramount+ Premium is now called Paramount+ with SHOWTIME, which provides access to both Paramount+ and SHOWTIME’s libraries—it’s the only ad-free plan.

Which Paramount+ plan has no commercials?

Paramount+ with SHOWTIME is the only Paramount+ plan with no commercials (except on certain livestreams). Paramount+ Essential, on the other hand, has plenty of commercials.

Why you should trust us

We are, a dedicated team of entertainment experts here to help you make the most out of your TV, internet, and streaming plans. We’ve spent thousands of hours researching and testing streaming services, including Paramount+, in our quest to categorize and explain every option in the modern streaming landscape. For more on our process, see our How We Rank page.

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