I'm a big fan of Star Trek. Not quite cosplaying level and going to conventions but I enjoy the shows.
I've enjoyed everything from TNG onward – including the much-maligned Enterprise series (I enjoyed that too) – and so I was excited when CBS announced they'd be bringing the series back.
Yet, when CBS announced a few years ago that the Star Trek: Discovery would only be on their CBS All Access streaming service – I passed.
Then they announced a show with Captain Jean-Luc Picard — OK, now you got me.
That led me to my next question… is there a way to watch it for free?
Not 100% free but they offer free trials and a way to get it for free, at least a little while.
You can time your free trial and binge any show you want. CBS All Access, now Paramount+, releases episodes on a weekly schedule, unlike Netflix which releases them all at once (Disney+ also drips them out like a traditional TV series).
To watch a show for free, you'll just have to wait until the last week of the season to sign up.
On March 4th, 2021, CBS All Access was renamed Paramount Plus. It's a major rebrand (and expansion of content) of CBS All Access and so everything below about CBS All Access still applies – it's just under a new name with a lot more content.
Limited Time Offer: One Month Free
For a limited time, CBS was offering a free one-month trial if you use the code SUMMER.
It works for either plan, so if you're just doing the free month, you might as well avoid the commercials!
Then remember when your month ends because you'll be billed at the regular price ($5.99 or $9.99). This is still a great way to see if it's worth it for you, a whole month of shows for free rather than the regular 7-day trial!
What You Get with Paramount+
Paramount+ has 30,000 episodes on demand from some of the most popular shows on TV today (this is a massive increase from CBS All Access, which had around 10,000 episodes). Shows like NCIS, God Friended Me, Hawaii Five-O, Seal Team, Survivor, Late Show, Young Sheldon, and soap opera stalwarts The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful. You also get a ton of shows in the archives like Cheers, Gunsmoke, Frasier, Family Ties, Happy Days, Macgyver, all the previous Star Treks (DS9, Enterprise, TOS, TNG, and Voyager). It's really a huge catalog of classics.
You also get the live broadcast, which includes NFL on CBS.
They also have several originals that are available only on Paramount+:
- No Activity
- One Dollar
- Star Trek: Discovery
- Star Trek: Picard
- Star Trek: Short Treks
- Strange Angel
- Tell Me A Story
- The Good Fight
- The Twilight Zone
- Why Women Kill
- Limited Commercials – $5.99 per month
- Commercial Free – $9.99 per month
If you are willing to pay for a full year, the price drops a little:
- Limited Commercials – $59.99 per year (~$4.99 per month)
- Commercial Free – $99.99 per month (~$8.33 per month)
How does this compare to CBS All Access' competitors?
Before the expansion to Paramount+, CBS All Access was OK but not great compared to other streaming options. With the expansion to Paramount+ and its library of movies and other shows, it's not getting pretty close (or better) depending on which shows you really like.
Netflix has a huge catalog and starts at $9 per month without any commercials. Hulu has an advertisement-supported plan at $5.99 per month and a no-ads version at $11.99 per month, so CBS is slightly cheaper. But Hulu has content from a lot of different networks, not just one.
All Access Streaming Free
One place you can check is with your existing cable provider – you may be able to get the streaming Live TV option for free. You will have to set up an account and link your cable provider to know whether that's the case.
Paramount+ Free Trial
The standard promotional offer for Paramount+ is a free 7-day trial (this is the same as CBS All Access previously). Everyone can get this offer.
From time to time, they have offered a longer trial or a discount when paired with other services. But at the moment, a week is all they offer. If that changes, we'll update this post with the latest information.
If you're not sure if this is a good fit, I recommend checking out our list of the Best Online Streaming Services for more ideas.
What Changes with Paramount+?
Your existing CBS All Access login will work on Paramount+ (in fact, all the CBS All Access pages redirect to Paramount+). In that respects, nothing changes except you get more content!