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CBS All Access for Apple TV Hands-On Review

CBS All Access for Apple TV Hands-On Review
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CBS President, Les Moonves, has been in the news recently after making the statement that CBS would most likely sign a content deal with Apple for their rumored TV streaming service.

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Already the network has scored some prime advertising space with Apple, as its blockbuster show The Big Bang Theory has been featured on new Apple TV ads, including the promo webpage.

It’s no secret that the two companies have been working well together recently and this week CBS made another push into Apple space by adding a new CBS streaming app on the 3rd generation Apple TV just days before preorders start for the new model.

The new app requires a $5.99 subscription to CBS All Access which opens the door to all sorts of CBS content including over 7,500 of on demand episodes.

The service does provide a seven day free trial which automatically renews after you forget to cancel, which is usually frustrating, but on the bright side, it does give you a chance to dig in to see if CBS All Access is right for you.


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After spending a few days with the new CBS app, I’ve come away with an overall positive impression but there are still some glaring issues.

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With over 7,500 episodes to stream there is obviously a major back catalog of episodes available on demand. Every episode of popular shows like CSI:Miami and NCIS are available but it’s important to know that those shows are already available on Netflix. Similarly, the back catalog of The Good Wife, another hit CBS show, is available on Hulu.

So where does the new CBS Apple TV app set itself apart? First, episodes of major primetime shows that aren’t available anywhere else, like The Big Bang Theory, will be offered a day after they air. The only negative with some of the current primetime shows is that their back catalog is not available.

Another compelling feature is Live TV. As long as your local CBS affiliate supports CBS All Access, a live feed will be offered in the app so that you can catch whatever is airing live, with some exceptions of course.

Because of contract issues some broadcasts won’t be available, like NFL football games which is a big blow for me. But this isn’t a major surprise considering how stingy the NFL has been about streaming its games over the last few years.

Some Final Thoughts

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If you have a current Apple TV and are overwhelmed by Netflix or just find yourself constantly hooked to CBS shows then the new CBS app may be just what the doctor ordered. It is essentially an avenue into the CBS All Access service which isn’t a bad thing. At only $5.99 a month it is cheaper than Netflix and Hulu but is obviously limited to CBS programs. But on the practical side, if you have a pair of old school rabbit ears that can pick up your local CBS affiliate then you can already get CBS live, including the football games.

If you are already a CBS All Access subscriber, the new app is an excellent supplement. For new users, I think the service will only benefit you if you want to watch the most recent primetime shows whenever you want.

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