Paramount Plus streams shows, movies, originals and live sports. Tuesday, it's streaming Manchester United in the Champions League -- but it doesn't have Yellowstone. Here's what to know.
Paramount Plus launched in March as the replacement for CBS All Access, with a big library of shows and movies, plus exclusive originals and some sports -- include a live stream of Machester United playing Villarreal in the Champions League Tuesday. But Paramount Plus doesn't have the single show most associated with the Paramount name: Yellowstone. The first three seasons of the cowboy drama are streaming only on rival service Peacock, and new episodes of the fourth season are available only on the Paramount Network app and website (which is different from Paramount Plus -- yeah, it's complicated).
Down the line, though, Paramount Plus will have exclusive Yellowstone spinoffs, like the prequel titled 1883 that's expected later this year. And Sunday Paramount Plus will debut Mayor of Kingstown, which is somewhat of a spiritual spinoff of Yellowstone with the possibility of some crossover characters.
Paramount Plus also sometimes streams new theatrical movies the same day they hit cinemas. Clifford the Big Red Dog is available to stream on Paramount Plus now at the same time it's in theaters, and Paw Patrol: The Movie was released that way earlier this year too.
But beyond children's films, Paramount holds other big-screen movies from streaming until after they spend 30 to 45 days in theaters. That's a much quicker turnaround than before the COVID-19 pandemic but obviously not the same as same-day streaming. Quiet Place Part 2 was among the movies that followed this track. Mission: Impossible 7 is supposed to stream next summer on a similar schedule after hitting cinemas in May.
Paramount Plus has also promised to debut 36 original series this year. Among those originals are a revival of 1990s sitcom Frasier and reboots of Nickelodeon's Rugrats and iCarly to tap millennial nostalgia. A new studio dedicated to the Avatar: The Last Airbender concept, founded by the original cartoon's creators, will produce a range of programming, including a new animated movie.
Like Disney Plus, HBO Max, Apple TV Plus, Peacock, Discovery Plus and others that came before it, Paramount Plus hopes its particular recipe of TV shows, movies and originals will hook you on its vision for TV's future. For you, these so-called streaming wars affect how many services you use -- and, often, must pay for -- to watch your favorite shows and movies online.
UEFA Champions League matches stream live on Paramount Plus, and replays of the matches are available to watch on demand after the end. They're part of Paramount Plus' standard catalog, so all subscribers, regardless of the tier of service, can watch.
Before Paramount Plus even launched as the revamp of CBS All Access, parent company ViacomCBS had already struck a licensing deal for Yellowstone with Peacock. That's why the first three season of Yellowstone are on Peacock rather than Paramount Plus, and that's why the fourth season will stream on Peacock eventually too. Peacock hasn't announced the timing that it will begin streaming Yellowstone's fourth season yet, but you can expect that it will be sometime after the season finale concludes on Paramount Network.
For more info, read CNET's in-depth explanation of all this confusion.
The main distinction to understand about streaming Yellowstone is that Paramount Plus is different from Paramount Network, which is where Yellowstone premiered its fourth season Sunday.
On Paramount Plus, you can't stream Yellowstone -- old episodes or new -- at all.
Paramount Network is a traditional cable channel available to people who pay for it through a live-TV provider. Paramount Network's shows and movies, including the latest episodes of Yellowstone, are available to stream on the web at paramountnetwork.com or its Paramount Network app. But generally these are available to stream only for those people who are paying for the channel already with one of those live-TV subscriptions, such as cable, satellite or a live-channel streaming service like YouTube TV or Philo.
One exception: Paramount put the first episode of Yellowstone's fourth season outside its paywall, so anybody is able to stream this episode -- titled Half the Money -- free on Paramount Network's app or website. If you want to watch the second episode of the fourth season, titled Phantom Pain, you'll need to sign up for a pay-TV subscription. (Philo, mentioned above, is one of the cheapest online options to get access to Paramount Network; it also offers a weeklong free trial.)
And if you want to stream the the rest of the episodes of Yellowstone's fourth season as they air, the only place to stream them at first will be on Paramount Network's channel, website or app. And these Yellowstone episodes will be available to stream only for "authenticated" online viewers -- that is, people who can log in with their live-TV service's credentials to prove they're already paying for Paramount Network.
If you want to binge previous seasons of Yellowstone, the Paramount Network app and website have those too.
But if you're a cord-cutter or otherwise don't have access to Paramount Network, then you need to go to Peacock to stream the first three seasons. The fourth season will stream on Peacock eventually too. Peacock hasn't announced the timing that it will begin streaming Yellowstone's fourth season yet, but you can expect it will be sometime after the season finale concludes on Paramount Network.
So what does Paramount Plus actually have related to Yellowstone? Eventually, spinoffs. On Dec. 19, Paramount Plus will begin streaming a prequel titled 1883, which focuses on the Dutton family more than a century ago as they move west and establish the Yellowstone Ranch. And on Nov. 14, Paramount Plus will premiere Mayor of Kingstown, a drama series co-created by Yellowstone's creator Taylor Sheridan; while Mayor of Kingstown isn't directly tied to Yellowstone, Paramount Plus is pitching it as a bit of a spiritual spinoff.
Clifford the Big Red Dog is part of Paramount Plus' standard catalog, so all subscribers, regardless of the tier of service, can watch.
However, the film is available only in the US. If you're a subscriber in Canada, Latin America or elsewhere, it isn't available.
Paramount Plus has two tiers. The pricier, premium one costs $10 a month or $100 annually to stream ad-free, a membership that also includes access to your live, local CBS network. Or you can subscribe for $5 a month or $50 annually on a tier with advertising that lacks the live network.
Some of the programming that's typically broadcast on CBS' network will be made available for $5-tier subscribers -- just not everything. So, for example, a base-tier subscriber will be able to watch live NFL games on Paramount Plus but won't be able to see all of CBS' live sports. A base-tier subscriber won't be able to watch the majority of the programming on the CBS live channel.
The Paramount Plus premium tier includes the breadth of everything on Paramount Plus, including livestreams of the CBS Network's local channels; though this is an ad-free tier, there will be advertising in the live channels.
The pricing for Paramount Plus' competitors runs the gamut.
Among the services that have ad-supported options, Hulu is $6 a month with ads and $12 a month ad-free. Peacock has a free, limited tier with ads, but you can pay to unlock its full catalog. Those paid, premium Peacock memberships are $5 a month with advertising, or you can upgrade to an ad-free version for $10 a month.
Netflix, which has no ads, offers its cheapest tier at $9 a month, while its most popular plan is $14. Apple TV Plus is $5 a month, Disney Plus is $8 next month, and HBO Max is $15 a month. None of those includes advertising.
Yes, Paramount Plus offers a standard seven-day free trail for new subscribers. After a week, you're automatically charged for either a monthly or yearly subscription, depending on what you signed up for.
Paramount Plus is the subscription streaming-video service that has replaced CBS All Access.
Generally, Paramount Plus features live news and sports as well as on-demand shows and movies, including originals -- all of which lean into parent company ViacomCBS' brands, like CBS, MTV, BET, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon and Paramount Network, plus the Paramount Pictures movie studio. It also licenses shows and movies from others to round out its streaming library.
Current CBS All Access subscriptions transfer automatically to Paramount Plus. The CBS All Access app flipped to being Paramount Plus through automatic updates. Your subscription doesn't change, and you will continue to pay the same rate you paid before.
If you subscribe to CBS All Access' ad-free, $10-a-month tier, then you will be able to watch everything on Paramount Plus without ads, as you did before. If you subscribe to CBS All Access' ad-supported, $6-a-month tier, then you also will be able to watch everything on Paramount Plus, but you will be served ads as you were before.
When Paramount Plus launched its $5-a-month option in June, nothing changed for any legacy CBS All Access members' subscriptions nor for anybody on the previous $6-a-month Paramount Plus plan, so long as they stay active members without changing their plans.
So what's the difference between the grandfathered $6-a-month tier and the $5-a-month tier of Paramount Plus? The ability to watch your live, local CBS channel is the only difference. If you have the grandfathered, $6-a-month access to Paramount Plus, you will continue to have access to the live channel. If, at any time, you want to save yourself a dollar a month by cutting out your access to the live channel, you can switch your membership to the $5 tier. But you cannot resubscribe at the $6 level to resume access to the live channel once you've made the change.
Your route to canceling Paramount Plus depends on how you signed up for the service. If you signed up directly online at paramountplus.com, you must revisit the sign and click on user initials in the upper righthand corner. You then select "Account" and scroll down to "Cancel subscription." But if you signed up on another billing platform, you'll need to return to that platform to cancel.
Amazon Fire TV and Prime Video
Paramount Plus will be available to stream at ParamountPlus.com and on Paramount Plus mobile apps for Apple iOS devices and Android devices.
Beyond that, ViacomCBS said Paramount Plus will have the same "broad distribution" that All Access had. CBS All Access had support on:
Paramount Plus tech features include:
Paramount Plus launched in the US, Latin America and Canada on March 4. It widened to Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland on March 25, 2021.
In Latin America, Paramount Plus arrived initially in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.
Paramount Plus also widened to Australia with a rebrand and expansion of 10 All Access in 2021.
A European expansion is expected in 2022, with additional markets to follow. The company hasn't specified dates yet for any of these markets.