A Paramount Plus subscription does include live TV so it is possible for subscribers to watch some live programming. However, the channels are not only limited in terms of the selection, but are also unlikely to be exactly what a consumer expects when thinking of live TV. Not to mention, the degree of live TV does depend on the Paramount+ plan.
Those considering signing up to Paramount Plus currently have the option of either subscribing to the Essential plan at $4.99 per month or the Premium plan at $9.99 per month. As to be expected, at twice the price, there are a number of benefits of going with the Premium plan, including the option of watching without ads. However, another benefit of going with the more expensive plan is the ability to watch some local live TV programming.
The $9.99 Premium Paramount Plus plan includes access to a subscriber’s local CBS channel. This is actually the same local CBS a consumer would get with a live TV subscription, making it a good addition to have. While those signed up to the cheaper plan don’t get access to their local CBS, those who are still subscribed to the older—and no longer available—Limited Commercials plan still do get access to their local live CBS channel.
It is also worth noting that although Paramount+ Premium subscribers pay for an ad-free streaming experience in general, ads will still be shown while watching CBS. After all, the channel does shows live broadcasts making it impossible to skip the commercials. Unlike with the ads that are often inserted into streaming content, these commercials breaks will be exactly the same as those shown when watching local CBS through a live TV plan and service.
Live TV you get (and don’t get)
Besides local CBS, which is only available to Premium and Limited Commercials subscribers, all Paramount Plus subscribers gain access to a selection of live TV channels that can be watched at any time. These channels can be found by selecting the “Live TV” menu option in the app on a supported device or when visiting the Paramount+ website. However, these are not like the many live TV channels available with a traditional live TV subscription. Instead, these live channels are curated channels.
These curated channels are specifically designed to show episodes of a show, or videos of a similar theme, and are similar to the channel selections provided with free streaming services. For example, there are Survivor and Star Trek channels that play non-stop Survivor and Star Trek episodes, and a Crime & Justice channel which shows episodes of various crime-related shows like Bull and CSI Miami. Some of the other generic channels include Movies, Nostalgic Hits, and Kids & Family Fun.
While the additional channels are live and contain ad breaks, Paramount Plus subscribers don’t get any traditional live TV channels outside of CBS. This is in spite of some of them sounding like channels that traditional live TV viewers might be used to. For example there is a CBS Sports HQ channel, but this is not the same as CBS Sports. While the channel does provide access to sports news, scores and highlights, it doesn’t show any actual live sports events. Due to this, the live TV experience on Paramount+ is unlikely to be a replacement for a traditional live TV subscription.
Live TV on Paramount+ summary
Paramount subscribers do get access to a limited live TV experience. For those that are signed up to the Premium plan or the older Limited Commercials plan, local CBS is included with a subscription and at no additional cost. Subscribers to these plans can tune into CBS just like they would through any other live TV service, or when using an antenna to receive the over-the-air station.
Regardless of plan, all Paramount+ subscribers can watch a number of curated channels at any time. Unlike traditional live TV channels, these curated channels constantly show different episodes of the same show, or various shows and movies that have been grouped together based on a similar theme. Overall, the live TV on Paramount Plus experience is a nice addition to have, but it’s not a replacement for any individuals or households wanting access to a traditional selection of live TV channels.