As the most-watched network in the US, a huge number of people watch CBS live every day – and even those who aren't regulars will want to tune in year-round for mega events like the Super Bowl and the Grammys.
CBS is the home to lots of flagship sporting and event content, including the current NFL season, but it also delivers a huge range of quality programming too. The Late Show, RuPaul’s Drag Race, NCIS and more are also on the network for you to watch.
However, while it's relatively simple to access CBS in the US, you might run into problems if you're outside the States – even if you pay for the network. So, here we'll explain exactly how to watch CBS live anywhere in the world.
- Check out our rundown of the best streaming VPN (opens in new tab) services
- Here's how to watch Paramount Plus (opens in new tab) anywhere
- For something a bit different, here's how to watch NBC live (opens in new tab) anywhere
How to watch CBS live in the US
If you're in the USA, it couldn't be easier to watch CBS live.
If you pay for cable, Paramount Plus (opens in new tab), or another OTT subscription package that includes CBS, you can simply turn over to the channel on your TV or open up the app. If you're on a mobile device, all you need to do is open up your streaming provider's app and get watching.
If you haven't got a TV package that includes CBS and want more than Paramount Plus can offer, we recommend checking out FuboTV (opens in new tab). For $64.99 a month it's a worthy cable-replacement service, and you'll get CBS alongside tons of other essential networks and excellent sports coverage.
FuboTV also offers a 7-day free trial (opens in new tab) so you can test out the service without commitment, letting you effectively watch CBS live for free.
How to watch CBS live abroad
ExpressVPN is our #1 recommendation (opens in new tab) for accessing CBS outside the US. With excellent speeds, unrivalled location spoofing power and easy-to-use apps, it's the perfect choice for watching CBS for free anywhere. Plus, Tom's Guide readers can now claim three months free (opens in new tab) on any 12-month plan.
Things are a little different when you're outside the US.
While viewers in America have a great range of providers that can access CBS, if you're out of the country or live elsewhere there's not a lot of choice.
If you already have cable, Paramount Plus, or an OTT provider like FuboTV and you're out of the US, the most efficient way of getting access is to use the best VPN to change your location. All you need to do is select a US VPN (opens in new tab) server, then head over to the your streaming provider's site as if you were back home. Then sign in with your details, and get watching.
Our top recommendation is ExpressVPN, thanks to its super simple yet powerful apps, excellent unblocking power, and a great number of server locations worldwide.
However, for some particular events like Meghan and Harry's Oprah interview, CBS often broadcasts for free in the US. All you need to do is switch on your VPN, connect to a US server, and watch. You won't even have to sign in!
Watching NFL on CBS
CBS is the place to be to watch the Sunday afternoon NFL games. So if you pay for a cable subscription or Paramount Plus, simply switch to the correct channel or launch the app at 1pm and 4pm each week when the games kick off.
If you’re looking for a streaming service that packs more of a punch and offers more than Paramount Plus, FuboTV (opens in new tab) is a great option. For $64.99 a month you can watch an NFL live stream on CBS, get access to over 100 channels, and stream simultaneously on three devices.
This is a pricier subscription but it's cheaper than paying for cable – and now you can make the most of a 7-day free trial (opens in new tab) to see if the service is for you and get a taster of the NFL action.
How to sign up to CBS
For those in the US, signing up for CBS is super simple – in fact, you've probably already got it.
It comes with just about all basic cable and satellite TV subscriptions, and if you've totally cut the cord it's also available on OTT services like FuboTV (opens in new tab), AT&T TV Now (opens in new tab), Hulu with Live TV (opens in new tab) and others – check out our full TV provider comparison (opens in new tab) to choose.
However, Paramount Plus (opens in new tab) is probably the most sensible option, delivering tons of CBS content for just $5.99 a month (or $59.99 a year). It's just $5.99 a month, and is a useful way of topping up services like Sling TV (opens in new tab) that don't offer the network out the box.
How to sign up to CBS outside the US
If you're a US resident (or at least have a US credit card), you can sign up to Paramount Plus (opens in new tab) or any OTT provider that carries CBS wherever you are in the world.
All you need to do is sign up to ExpressVPN (opens in new tab), change your location to the US, and head over to the provider's website as usual. Then input your US credit card details and get watching!
However, if you don't have a US credit card, you may be able to use a Paramount Plus gift card. To do this, switch your VPN to the US, head to somewhere like Walmart and buy an Paramount Plus gift card, and then make an account on-site.
You'll need a US address and phone number, but these are easily found for free. When you get to the payment section of sign up, just head to the gift card PIN page (opens in new tab) instead, and enter the one you bought. Choose your plan, and then get watching!
How to watch CBS live on Roku
If you've got Paramount Plus, or a streaming or cable subscription that allows you regular access to CBS, you'll be able to watch it on your Roku, too. All you need to do is add the Paramount Plus channel (or your streaming provider's app) on your Roku device, and then input your subscription information.
However, if you want to use a VPN to watch CBS on your Roku outside the US, you'll have to install a router VPN. This is because Roku devices don't support VPNs themselves. It's a little more complicated than on a desktop or smartphone, but our top choice ExpressVPN (opens in new tab) makes it super easy with a dedicated router app and clear walkthroughs.
How to watch CBS live on Fire TV stick
Paramount Plus is available on the Amazon Appstore, and all you need to do is download the app and sign in with your relevant credentials. You'll also be able to watch CBS through your respective streaming provider's app.
Plus, because the Fire Stick is Android based, it supports VPNs. If you want to watch CBS on Fire Stick outside the US, check out our guide to the best Fire Stick VPN (opens in new tab) services available.
Why should you use a CBS VPN?
The first and most important reason to use a VPN with CBS is to get access to the content you pay for anywhere in the world. So, if you're in Canada, the UK, or anywhere else, you can connect to a US server and log in to CBS as if you were in your living room.
There's more to it than that, though. If you have a good Internet connection but still find that CBS is buffering or playing at a low quality, it could be because you're being subjected to network throttling.
This happens when your ISP detects high-bandwidth usage of your connection and intentionally slows you down to make sure everyone gets a similar speed. High-bandwidth uses include torrenting, gaming, and, of course, streaming HD content.
A VPN anonymizes what you're using your connection for, which means your provider can't tell you're streaming. Subsequently, it can't choose to slow down your connection.
Plus, a VPN gives unrivalled privacy and security for any kind of browsing, so if you want to watch CBS live abroad as well as keep your personal info safe, a secure VPN (opens in new tab) is the perfect solution.
What is the best CBS VPN?
If you're looking to stream CBS live outside the US, a VPN is essential – and our #1 choice is ExpressVPN (opens in new tab). With searing speeds and easy-to-use apps that work on tons of devices like Roku, Fire Stick, and Apple TV, as well as desktop and mobile, it's the perfect solution for accessing blocked content. Plus, you'll have 30 days to test the service before you commit.
Try the best CBS VPN risk-free for 30 days (opens in new tab)