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Last modified: February 13, 2019
By Stephen Lovely
CBS is a big TV network. In fact, it's a “major network” – one of just four channels that we consider to be the biggest and baddest of the channels. CBS is also one of our country's oldest television networks – in fact, it predates cable itself! So you might wonder: if CBS is so big, and is older than cable, then why do I need cable to watch it? The simple answer is that you don't. In this article, we'll show you how to watch CBS without cable. We'll cover a number of ways to get a (legal) CBS live stream, and we'll also remind you of the merits of broadcast television – that old-school over-the-air TV that predates cable, albeit with the many modern perks that you may not realize over-the-air TV now offers. It's all below in our guide to watching CBS without cable.
Here are a few of our favorite ways to stream CBS:
Below, you'll find the various services and methods that you can use to watch CBS without cable, listed one by one and with links to relevant free trial offers, websites, and explanatory articles. But before we go too much further, we should take a closer look at a type of service that not everyone may be familiar with.
It's the live TV streaming service, or “skinny bundle” service, and it's exactly what it sounds like: a way to watch live TV over the internet. These live TV streaming services are aiming to beat cable at its own game by offering live network television that feels like old-school cable but is delivered in a way more reminiscent of “cable-killers” like Netflix.
The “skinny bundle” nickname comes from the size of the channel packages: most live TV streaming services offer smaller bundles than cable does, though some offer add-ons and larger options for the super-fans among us. The slimmer bundles are, as you might expect, more affordable than their beefy cable counterparts.
On top of this, the live TV streaming services offer you the ability to watch CBS without cable on multiple devices, including mobile devices and streaming boxes. They won't demand long-term contracts, keep prices low, and almost always offer great free trials.
There's just one more thing to say about live TV streaming services, and it's our only bit of bad news: in the case of each of the live TV streaming services we list, CBS coverage will vary by region. Not every local CBS affiliate is on board with every streaming service, unfortunately.
There are multiple great live TV streaming services that you can use to watch CBS without cable, and we'll list them first. After that, we'll cover over-the-air TV and CBS's own app, CBS All Access.
Stream CBS for free with Hulu
Hulu has been in the streaming game for longer than skinny bundles have existed. Now the service offers a live TV streaming service of its very own, which it has chosen to dub “Hulu with Live TV.” That's pretty straightforward, and so are Hulu with Live TV's offerings: its only bundle is $39.99 per month and includes a CBS live stream. You can read our review of Hulu with Live TV here, or you can just check it out for yourself by taking advantage of the week-long free trial. You can sign up for that free trial with the link above.
Stream CBS for free with FuboTV
If you're interested in CBS because of its sports broadcasts, you may want to pay extra attention to fuboTV, which purports to be the best live TV streaming service for sports fans. Whether it lives up to that billing is a debate for a different piece, but there's no denying that fuboTV has plenty of sports channels, as well as plenty of networks that will appeal to the non-sports fans among us. One of them, of course, is CBS. fuboTV has two base packages, both of which include access to live local CBS streams in select markets: “fubo,” which costs $44.99 per month, and “fubo Extra,” which costs $49.99 per month. Both bundles offer a discount for your first month, and both can be tested out risk-free when you take advantage of fuboTV's free trial offer. To get your hands on that free trial offer, just click the link above.
Stream CBS for free with PlayStation Vue
PlayStation Vue is owned by Sony, the same company that makes the PlayStation family of gaming consoles. Despite Sony's decision to launch the service with PlayStation-related branding, this service is not tied to PlayStation consoles, and you won't have to use a PlayStation 4 to stream it. All of PlayStation Vue's multiple bundles (available at different size and price points) work just fine on Roku, Fire TV, and other popular platforms – and all of them include CBS, making PlayStation Vue a great way to watch CBS without cable. The most affordable of PlayStation Vue's streaming bundles is “Access,” which costs $44.99 per month. You can check the service out for free for five days by clicking the link above.
DirecTV Now may be playing dress-up with the brand name of a certain legacy pay TV provider, but this AT&T-owned service is plenty modern. It streams smoothly, offers subscribers a choice of various bundles at various sizes and price points, and, of course, includes your CBS live stream. CBS is included in every one of DirecTV Now's bundles, including the cheapest, which is the $40-per-month “Live a Little” package. You can read our review of the service here or can check it out for yourself by signing up for the week-long free trial.
YouTube TV is Google's skinny bundle service, and it's a great way to watch CBS online. YouTube TV costs $40 per month and offers live local streaming of CBS in select markets. You can test out YouTube TV risk-free by taking advantage of the service's free trial offer which lasts seven days.
Over-the-air TV is “broadcast television,” and it's the perfect way to watch CBS without cable for free. CBS, like the rest of the major networks, boasts a huge network of affiliates all across the country. These affiliates often have their own broadcast towers, which send a live feed of CBS all over your region. It's all around you, so grab an antenna and take advantage! You'll find your reception is in crisp HD: antennas have changed quite a bit since your grandpa's day.
Stream CBS for free with CBS All Access
CBS has a streaming service all its own. It's called CBS All Access, and it offers tons of CBS content on demand – as well as a live feed of your local CBS station, provided you're in one of the covered markets (yes, even CBS's own app deals with the “select markets” issue that also plagues the live TV streaming services). This is a single-channel solution, which makes it the most efficient and cost-effective way for CBS die-hards to watch CBS without cable.
You can indeed! Every single solution listed above can be used to watch CBS without cable on your big screen.
If you use Roku devices, you'll be pleased to learn that you can get great apps for any of the following services: Hulu with Live TV, fuboTV, PlayStation Vue, YouTube TV, and DirecTV Now.
Want to watch on a Fire TV device, instead? No problem: just grab an app for Hulu with Live TV, fuboTV, PlayStation Vue, or DirecTV Now.
Hulu with Live TV, fuboTV, PlayStation Vue, YouTube TV, and DirecTV Now all work well on Apple TV devices.
You can use Chromecast to watch Hulu with Live TV, fuboTV, PlayStation Vue, YouTube TV, and DirecTV Now, thanks to their cooperative apps.
Android TV, Google's streaming platform, plays nice with Hulu with Live TV, fuboTV, PlayStation Vue, and YouTube TV.
Going mobile is easy, thanks to mobile apps (including both Android and iOS apps) from each of Hulu with Live TV, fuboTV, PlayStation Vue, YouTube TV, and DirecTV Now.
Hulu with Live TV, fuboTV, PlayStation Vue, YouTube TV, and DirecTV Now each also offer in-browser apps that make it a breeze to watch CBS without cable on your desktop or laptop computer.
Even video game systems are in on the fun. Hulu with Live TV and YouTube TV work on modern Xbox video game systems, while PlayStation Vue works, of course, on modern PlayStation consoles.
We didn't forget about our other solutions, either: let's talk about CBS All Access and free over-the-air TV.
CBS All Access works on Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV, and Chromecast, as well as on iOS, Android, Windows, Xbox, and PlayStation.
Over-the-air antennas are able to plug directly into your TV, but you can also find ways to integrate them into other platforms if you wish. An OTA DVR and the relevant app – or a PC TV tuner and a Plex server – can help you turn OTA TV into streaming content you can view on your favorite device.
Got all of that? Suffice it to say that if you're wondering how to watch CBS without cable on your device, the answer is somewhere in this article! You should be able to watch CBS without cable no matter what device you use.
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