CBS is one of the most important networks on TV. From sports to news to popular shows like Big Bang Theory and NCIS, there’s a ton to watch on this key channel. But what if you don’t have cable anymore? Can you watch CBS without cable TV?
You sure can! And in fact, it’s easier than ever to watch CBS online without cable TV. The guide below will show you how.
How to Watch CBS Without Cable: At a Glance
There are essentially two different methods that you can use to watch CBS live without cable. Here are the basics:
Streaming Services, like CBS All Access, give you access to the CBS live stream for a monthly fee. CBS All Access costs just $5.99 per month, and covers CBS live and on-demand. There are other services that offer packages of up to 50+ channels, but they cost more (around $40/mo). These services work over the internet on various devices, and don’t require cable TV.
Digital Antennas give you access to broadcast networks in your area. Depending on where you live, this could include CBS, FOX, NBC, ABC, and others. Antennas have an upfront cost, but there’s no subscription or ongoing expense to worry about. They’re a good option if you live near your local broadcasting station.
In the sections below, we will cover more details about these two options.
Using Antennas to Watch CBS for Free
Antennas can pick up free, over-the-air broadcasts of some channels. They’re an affordable option for accessing some of the most popular channels on TV.
A digital antenna is the only way to watch CBS free without cable. Once you have an antenna, you don’t need to pay for a membership fee or anything like that.
Depending on where you live, you can either install an antenna inside your home, or on your roof. Outdoor, roof-mounted antennas typically have better range, and are therefore more suited to rural areas.
A good digital antenna will pick up any broadcast TV networks that are in your area. This includes your local CBS affiliate, and potentially local affiliates for FOX, NBC, ABC and others. These local networks are key for watching sports online (CBS is essential for watching NFL without cable, including streaming the NFL Playoffs), particularly for local teams.
With that said, the availability of these channels depends on the signal strength, the distance from your local broadcasting station, and other factors. You can plug your address into the FCC DTV map or AntennaWeb to estimate what channels you might pick up.
Using these tools, you can see if it’s worthwhile to get an antenna. And if so, you can note what signal range you will need. Once you know that, you can move on to purchasing an antenna!
Antenna Options to Watch CBS without Cable
If you need a digital antenna, these are some great options:
For indoor/city use, we recommend the Mohu Leaf 30.
- Great for cities and suburbs
- Range reaches up to 40 miles
- Very easy to use
- Slim, unobtrusive design
- A best-seller online
- Picks up full HD streams (and up to 4K, if available)
- Great reviews
For outdoor/rural use, we recommend the Winegard Elite 7550.
- Great for rural use
- Range reaches up to 70 miles
- Durable, weatherproof design
- Installs on your roof
- Includes a built-in digital amplifier to improve signal
- Great reviews
Keep in mind that even with a good antenna, you’ll still be at the mercy of signal strength in your area. See this guide to getting better TV antenna reception for some helpful tips. Or, if you don’t think an antenna will work well in your area, you might consider a streaming service.
Using Streaming Services to Watch CBS Online Without Cable
The alternative to using an antenna is using a streaming platform to watch CBS without cable.
Streaming services are quite popular nowadays. Most people think of Netflix, but there are also various live streaming services that provide access to live TV channels. Examples include Hulu with Live TV, Sling TV, and CBS All Access.
A streaming service gives you a package of TV channels to watch live. You use it on your favorite devices, including streaming players (Apple TV, Roku, etc.), computers, and smartphones.
You pay a monthly fee for access, and you can stream channels live over the internet. Services don’t require a contract, so you can cancel any time.
Most services offer a bundle of channels for around $40 per month. But, in this case we recommend a service that’s specific to CBS, called CBS All Access. This option is very affordable at $6/mo, but only offers CBS.
Use CBS All Access to Watch CBS Without Cable TV
Our top recommendation for watching CBS shows without cable is a service called CBS All Access.
For $5.99 per month, this service offers a lot of value for CBS fans. For one, it offers the CBS live stream in many areas. That means that anything that airs on CBS will also air live on CBS All Access.
Beyond that, the service also gives you access to an on-demand library of past CBS show episodes. The library features over 10,000 episodes to watch on-demand! To sum up:
- $5.99 per month, with no contract
- Gives the CBS live stream in most areas
- On-demand library of 10,000+ episodes of CBS shows
- Exclusive access to CBS All Access Originals, like Star Trek: Discovery
- Works on most devices
- Does not require cable or satellite
- Cancel at any time
For $6 per month, it’s tough to beat this value! And CBS All Access is continually expanding their selection, including an expansion into All Access Originals, which are not available ANYWHERE else. For CBS fans, this service is a must-have.
You can try CBS All Access free for 7 days.
Other Ways to Watch CBS Online Without Cable TV
There are several other services you can use to watch CBS shows without cable TV. Other options include:
YouTube TV – a newer option that offers a solid 50+ channel lineup for $40 a month. Read our YouTube TV review for more info.
PlayStation Vue – a well-established platform with 45+ networks for $45 a month.
CBS fans actually have several great options to watch CBS without cable – which is great news! If you have any questions about the best option for your situation, feel free to ask.
For more info on how to get rid of cable while still watching your favorite TV, feel free to explore the rest of our website.