Unlike a lot of the major networks, CBS has done a lot to get into the streaming game. A while back, the network unveiled CBS All Access, a subscription streaming service that costs $5.99 and gives user access to new programming as well as the network’s lengthy backlog of programming. Recently, CBS worked out a deal to allow more internet users to stream CBS live while a show is actually airing on television. It sounds like good news for fans who would love to catch the Big Bang Theory before the latest news about Sheldon or even Bernadette goes viral. However, there’s a catch. Well, really, two catches.
First and foremost, this new live streaming capability will only be available to those who are already paying for cable. Secondly, so far CBS has only launched this live streaming deal with Cablevision, a cable company that is prominent in New York and some other major cities, including parts of Los Angeles, Chicago, Philly, Dallas, Sacramento, Minneapolis, Miami, Denver, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, San Francisco, Boston and Detroit. So, if you do pay for cable but have a package through another company, you’re up the creek with this new CBS deal at this point.
This isn’t the first time a network has tried to make live streaming available. According to The Wrap, ABC worked to gain the right to live stream its programs from an app called Watch ABC. There’s a good chance you’ve never heard of or are only vaguely familiar with that app, as it is only currently available in eight cities. Yes, eight.
The good news? CBS All Access, that aforementioned $5.99 a month service, will also allow Internet users to stream a lot (but not all) of the network’s content live, as well as watch backlogged programming. The Grammys, for instance, were streamed live this weekend via that service. However, If you are already paying around $100 bucks for your cable bill, it’s a little insulting to have to pay separately for CBS All Access on top of that, unless you are a huge Star Trek fan, in which case access to the new show might dampen the blow a little bit.
Theoretically, if you are a Cablevision user, this idea would be good if you were on vacation someplace with internet access but no basic cable. In addition, it could also be helpful, say, if your kids and spouse had commandeered all of the TV’s in the house and you wanted to catch your own shows live in the moment. However, deals like these are really complicated. You have networks that are still working off of the old ad revenue model and trying to figure out how to make streaming work without losing any more actual cable subscribers. Eventually the entire cable model is going to be disrupted and will change. Some day, CBS will figure its act out, but for now, we have to deal with these baby steps..
Photo courtesy of CBS.