Paramount+ Review: Is the Streaming Service Worth the Cost?
Many of us have spent the past year on our couches, lending our time to streaming services that promise to carry us away from the day’s many stresses. Despite having myriad options, many of us ran out of entertainment months ago, which is why we generally welcome news of a new streamer in town.
On March 4, ViacomCBS launched its streaming service, Paramount+, in a bid to compete with established players like Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Discovery+, Apple TV+, HBO Max and NBC’s Peacock.
What does Paramount+ look like and how’s it going so far? Make some popcorn and settle in for a preview.
What Does Paramount+ Offer?
In 2019, CBS and Paramount Pictures’ parent company, Viacom, merged. This led to the Paramount+ streaming service replacing the CBS All Access platform.
With Paramount+, you can continue to stream all your favorite CBS shows, originals, classics and live TV, with access to a significantly expanded set of content offerings.
Here’s the lowdown on what you can expect when you subscribe to Paramount+.
What Paramount+ Includes
The new offering includes the following:
- Full range of Viacom channels
- Select films from Paramount Pictures
- Live sports, replays and expert analysis on CBS Sports HQ
- News, including CBSN national and CBSN local
- Children’s programming, from “SpongeBob SquarePants” to “PAW Patrol,” “Dora the Explorer,” “Peppa Pig” and “Blue’s Clues”
You can continue watching your local CBS station live, but you must be a subscriber of Paramount+ to do so. If you stream local CBS live using your cable provider credentials, you can sign in at CBS.com or download the new CBS app for access.
Multiple Devices and Profiles
With Paramount+, you can watch on up to three devices and create separate viewing profiles for each member of your family.
Paramount+ accommodates streaming in 4K for those with a 4K TV and streaming device. Older TV shows and movies may not be 4K-friendly quite yet.
Content Offerings and Plans for Paramount+
What kind of content can you expect from Paramount+? Here are the details.
The Vault Is Open
The service’s streaming library includes more than 30,000 on-demand episodes and movies from ViacomCBS, Paramount and their subsidiaries. That includes CBS shows as well as other channels, like BET, CBS Sports HQ, Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central and the Smithsonian Channel. That means you’ll have access to tons of shows, including the following:
Series in Progress
- “SpongeBob SquarePants”
- “RuPaul’s Drag Race”
- “The Young and the Restless”
- “Blue Bloods”
- “Young Sheldon”
- “NCIS: Los Angeles”
- “Big Brother”
- “CSI: Miami”
- “Avatar: The Last Airbender”
- “Laguna Beach”
- “Beavis and Butt-Head: The Mike Judge Collection”
- “Perry Mason”
- “Hot in Cleveland”
- “The Twilight Zone”
The team at Paramount+ plans to continue to add assets from Viacom’s library, including films from Paramount Pictures.
The offerings on Paramount+ should be available permanently since they’re owned by ViacomCBS and Paramount, so users won’t have to worry about them disappearing. The library is only expected to get bigger.
Access to Originals
Paramount+ produces original content that you won’t find anywhere else, including:
- “Star Trek: Picard”
- “Star Trek: Discovery”
- “The Good Fight”
- “Why Women Kill”
- “Tooning Out the News”
- “The Stand”
New Paramount+ original programming plans include:
- A “Frasier” reboot
- “Kamp Koral,” a new original from Nickelodeon’s “SpongeBob SquarePants”
- “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run”
Several popular Paramount films will also be brought to the small screen, like “The Italian Job,” “Love Story” and more. These adaptations promise to give devoted fans a new way to watch their favorite movies and engage in a new way with popular characters and storylines.
From Theaters to TV Within Weeks
Paramount plans to allow some of its big new blockbuster films to stream on Paramount+ within 45 days of premiering in theaters. That’s big news for fans who want to watch the next “Mission: Impossible” movie or “A Quiet Place Part II” from the comfort of their living rooms.
Subscription Process and Fees
CBS All Access subscribers were transitioned to Paramount+ automatically. Currently, Paramount+ has no plans to change the subscription price for these customers.
New subscribers can choose from a few offered plans. A very competitive $5.99 per month will get you viewing rights with some commercials. For $9.99, you can watch Paramount+ commercial-free. For $59.99, you can prepurchase one year of service, and for $99.99, you can buy a year of commercial-free streaming. If you’re a student, you’re eligible for a 25% discount.
Later this year, Paramount+ plans to discontinue its Limited Commercials plan and roll out a $4.99 per month plan that will not include access to your local live CBS station. This change in plans only affects subscribers who cancel and return — it does not impact current subscribers.
Subscribers can cancel their Paramount+ plan at any time.
CBS All Access Gift Cards Still Apply
If you have a CBS All Access gift card, feel free to use it any time you’d like. It won’t expire and can be applied to your Paramount+ purchase. You can also buy new gift cards from Paramount+.
The CBS All Access app has switched to Paramount+, so you won’t need to download a new app. You might need to sign in again.
Noggin Remains Intact for Young Audiences
Your child can continue using the Noggin app for educational games, e-books, activities and ad-free, full episodes of preschool-age shows like “PAW Patrol,” “Peppa Pig” and “Bubble Guppies.”
7-Day Free Trial Available
Users can sign up via the Paramount+ website or via the Paramount+ app on iOS and Android devices. There’s no need to invest in the service right away — a free seven-day trial is available. When the trial ends, you can opt in for a paid subscription.
Key Takeaway on Paramount+: Good Value for a Good Price
With a large library of assets, plans to stream new movie releases in close to real time, and considerable plans to expand original content offerings, Paramount+ appears to be a strategic offering with significant value. Starting at $5.99 monthly, it’s priced in such a way that dedicated streamers don’t need to worry about choosing one service over another. In comparison, Hulu starts at $5.99 for basic service, Netflix starts at $8.99, and Disney+ starts at $7.99.
That’s good news for boredom levels — the view from the couch just got much more interesting.