Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the lights on at MakeUseOf. Read more.
The new show in the Star Trek franchise has landed. And for now, at least in the U.S., Star Trek: Discovery is available on only one streaming service—the all new CBS All Access. This streaming service also throws in live TV and other movies and shows into the mix.
So, is CBS All Access worth subscribing to just for Discovery alone? Is it a good deal overall? Or a waste of money?
What Does CBS All Access Cost?
First, you should know that you can try out CBS All Access for free, as there is a seven-day trial available for those who want to see what it’s all about. And if you don’t like it, you get your money back.
Otherwise, CBS All Access offers two options:
- $5.99 per month (with ads)
- $9.99 per month (without ads)
Note: CBS All Access only works in the U.S. and Canada. If you are in a different country, you’ll need to use a paid VPN service to subscribe and watch.
What Devices Can I Use With CBS All Access?
Both CBS All Access plans let you stream on up to two devices simultaneously. However, some live TV programs (like NFL games) are not available on mobile.
CBS supports almost every mobile and desktop platform you can think of, as well as Roku, the Amazon Fire TV/Fire TV Stick, the Google Chromecast, and PS4 and Xbox One.
What Do You Get With a Subscription?
The new Star Trek: Discovery is the big exclusive that CBS All Access is banking on to draw people in. But there is some other solid content available on there too.
Beating Netflix and others, CBS All Access can stream live events. The recently held Emmy Awards 2017 were shown live on the service. CBS also offers live streams of NFL games on Thursdays. The next Grammy Awards and Tony Awards will also stream exclusively on CBS All Access. And you can watch CBS News too.
Important: Live streaming isn’t available everywhere. First check CBS’s chart of supported cities.
Apart from Star Trek: Discovery, CBS All Access has a few other exclusive shows, the major ones being Big Brother and The Good Fight, a spin-off of The Good Wife.
What Shows Does CBS All Access Have?
Of course, it would be unfair to compare only the exclusives. You can check the full list of shows on CBS All Access to know what else you get. Here are some of the highlights:
- 60 Minutes
- The Amazing Race
- The Big Bang Theory
- The Brady Bunch
- The Good Wife
- I Love Lucy
- The Late Show with Stephen Colbert
- The Late Late Show with James Corden
- Madam Secretary
- The Odd Couple
- Star Trek: The Original Series
- Star Trek: The Animated Series
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
- Star Trek: Enterprise
- Star Trek: The Next Generation
- Star Trek: Voyager
- The Twilight Zone
- Twin Peaks
- Young Sheldon
Again, while this list includes some big names, they aren’t exclusives. In fact, all of the old Star Trek shows are also available on Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu, in case you want to catch up on 50 years of Star Trek.
Is Star Trek: Discovery Alone Worth the Money?
This begs the question, if you are a Trekkie, does the new Star Trek: Discovery alone make it worth subscribing to CBS All Access? The first two episodes aired on regular TV, but in the U.S. every subsequent episode will only be available to watch on CBS All Access.
- If you are a diehard fan of Star Trek, it’s a no-brainer to subscribe to CBS All Access in order to watch the new series. Go ahead and hit that subscribe button, as nothing will convince you otherwise anyway.
- If you’re new to the Star Trek franchise, we recommend that you catch up with the earlier shows on a streaming service of your choice.
- Finally, if you are simply tired of all these different streaming services with their own subscriptions, don’t rush into a decision. Discovery has got mixed reviews so far, so you may want to reserve judgement for the time being.
Can You Watch Star Trek: Discovery on Netflix?
Here’s the thing: if you are outside of the U.S. and Canada, Star Trek: Discovery will be available on Netflix at the same time as CBS All Access. This is bad news for North American Trekkies.
The question then is whether you want the rest of the CBS All Access catalog, or would you rather get a VPN to watch Netflix from other countries.
Be warned, using a VPN violates Netflix’s terms of service, so the company could shut it down at any point. Free VPNs don’t work well with Netflix anyway, so you will pay about $10 per month for a good Netflix-supporting VPN. That’s the same cost as the ad-free version of CBS All Access, so what’s the point of breaking Netflix’s ToS if you don’t absolutely have to?
What About Hulu or Amazon?
For U.S. Trekkies, the new show shouldn’t be a factor in choosing between Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon. All three have all previous Star Trek shows, and none of them support the new show in the U.S.
You probably bought that Hulu subscription thinking you will get access to any show that plays on TV. Unfortunately, CBS is the one network that doesn’t support Hulu. Hulu users can watch old shows of CBS series like Cheers, but not the new episodes of current series like Discovery. Those might be available only after a season ends.
Things are even more bleak on Amazon. The catalog has some of the classic shows, but not everything from the CBS vaults. As for ongoing shows, don’t hold your breath.
The Bottom Line: Is CBS All Access Worth the Money?
CBS All Access is worth it only if you’re a die-hard Trekkie based in the USA or Canada, who wants to watch every new episode of Discovery as it’s released. If that doesn’t describe you then you should save your money until CBS announces other exclusive shows that you can’t live without.
If you’re on the fence about Star Trek: Discovery, or you’ve watched the show and think it’s worth paying for, what do you think? Is CBS All Access worth it? Or is it overpriced for its current selection of shows?