With final week’s launch of Paramount+, one may nearly hear the collective groan from cord-cutters. Much like Disney+, Apple TV+, HBO Max, and NBC’s Peacock, it represents yet one more streaming service to consider paying for.

While the launch of Paramount+ received all the eye—maybe undeservedly, provided that it’s only a rebranded CBS All Access—the greater information slipped underneath the radar: Parent firm ViacomCBS additionally launched a separate, standalone model of the CBS app. Unlike each Paramount+ and CBS Access earlier than it, the brand new app permits you to watch on-demand CBS shows for free. (In reality, it was the very best place to observe Oprah Winfrey interview Prince Harry and Meghan Markle with out cable.)

For years, free network TV apps from NBC, Fox, ABC have felt like one of many best-kept secrets and techniques in streaming. Now that CBS has joined them, you can watch new shows from all the main networks with out paying a dime.

Free streams from CBS, ABC, NBC, Fox, and extra

Technically, CBS was providing free episodes of its network shows earlier than, however solely on the CBS web site and CBS cell apps. Although you possibly can ship video from these apps to Google’s Chromecast dongles, you couldn’t watch CBS shows on different TV gadgets with out utilizing the CBS All Access app as a substitute. That in flip required both a $6-per-month subscription or a login with a pay TV supplier.

The new CBS app for Roku, Fire TV, Android TV, and Apple TV is totally separate from All Access (now Paramount+) and lets you watch latest episodes for free. You can additionally still use CBS’s iOS and Android apps to play movies on a Chromecast.

Jared Newman / IDG

The CBS app permits you to watch latest episodes with out a Paramount+ subscription.

Once you’ve downloaded the app, simply choose “Watch free episodes.” You’ll get to observe new shows like Clarice, the most recent episodes of Late Show and Late Late Show, new editions of 60 Minutes, and extra. There’s additionally a stay part the place you can watch the CBSN information channel, CBS Sports HQ, and ET Live.

Of course, there are catches: Some new episodes of CBS shows have an eight-day delay earlier than you can watch them for free. They even have business breaks, and every collection solely affords a handful of latest episodes.

cbsfreelive Jared Newman / IDG

The CBS app additionally affords some stay channels, although you’ll want a pay TV subscription to observe your native station.

If you subscribe to a pay TV bundle that features CBS, you can check in to take away the delay, entry extra episodes from every collection, and watch your native CBS channel. Otherwise, you’ll want to remain up to the mark (or use a recording service like PlayOn) to keep away from lacking any episodes.

Still, it’s good to see CBS fall consistent with different main networks, which have been streaming full episodes of their latest shows at no cost for years. By including the CBS app alongside Fox Now, the NBC app, the ABC app, the CW app, and PBS, you can entry so much network TV content material with out paying for a bloated channel bundle.

foxnowapp Jared Newman / IDG

Like CBS, the Fox Now app affords free episodes of latest shows.

The CBS app vs. Paramount+

Why pay $6 per 30 days for Paramount+ whenever you can watch CBS shows for free?

With Paramount+, the aim is to supply a wider service during which CBS is only one side. It carries unique shows like Star Trek: Picard and The Good Fight, a again catalog of shows from ViacomCBS cable channels (Comedy Central and Nickelodeon amongst them), and new films like The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run. The service additionally affords stay streams of native CBS channels and older episodes of CBS shows, which might in any other case require a login with a pay TV supplier. And for those who pay for the $10-per-month tier of Paramount+, you can watch these shows with out business breaks.

abcfreestreaming2 Jared Newman / IDG

The ABC app affords a number of free shows to observe, but additionally advertises extra content material on Hulu.

The technique is considerably just like that of rival networks. NBC affords free shows in its NBC and Peacock apps, but additionally encourages $5-per-month Peacock Premium subscriptions for extra content material. The ABC app offers loads of new shows to observe, but additionally pushes individuals to pay for Hulu if they need extra shows and older episodes.

At the identical time, these corporations are still reserving a lot of their common shows for network TV. If you’re seeking to maximize your financial savings as a cord-cutter, my recommendation can be to make use of these networks’ free apps—maybe mixed with an antenna or Locast for stay TV—and solely dip into their paid companies on a one-month foundation to binge-watch the very best programming. It seems you may not want yet one more subscription in any case.

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