If you’re looking to watch some of the most popular TV shows shown in the United States, then shows from the CBS network – such as The Big Bang Theory, Survivor, Blue Bloods, 60 Minutes and many others – are likely to be on your viewing wish list.
CBS All Access, the CBS television network’s streaming service, has become a popular way to view CBS shows, both past and present. However, the service is not available to viewers outside U.S. borders.
In this article, I’ll share the best way to gain access to your favorite CBS shows when you’re not stateside.
The Best Way to View CBS All Access in the U.K. (or Anywhere Else Outside the U.S.)
The problem CBS viewers outside of the U.S. run into is that the CBS All Access service is blocked to viewers located overseas.
Luckily, you can use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to temporarily change your IP address and make it appear as if you’re “Back in the USA.”
My testing shows that the best VPN for unblocking CBS All Access (and numerous other streaming providers) is ExpressVPN. The provider delivers super-fast connections to numerous VPN servers located in the United States.
The provider offers a 30-day, no-risk money-back guarantee.
What Is CBS All Access?
CBS is an American English language network headquartered in New York with its own production facilities in New York City and Los Angeles. The network has been broadcasting since the early 1940’s, so it has a huge back catalog of famous shows.
CBS launched its on-demand, subscription-based streaming service called “CBS All Access” in October 2014.
There’s a “limited commercials” subscription available for CBS All Access that as of this article includes more than 10,000 episodes of CBS shows, but plays ads during episodes.
There’s also a “commercial free” option that is a little more expensive. (Note that commercials will still air as usual when viewing a live stream of your local CBS affiliate.) The commercial-free plan also allows users to download videos and play them offline.
Let’s look at how you can sign up for a VPN and use the service to access CBS All Access with just a few simple steps.
Why Does CBS Block International Viewers?
CBS purchases its shows from production companies. Those production companies contract with CBS to show the content within the borders of the United States.
Producers sell many of the same shows internationally to other networks and streaming services. This means CBS must do its best to prevent anyone from viewing the shows from outside U.S. borders.
How Does CBS Block International Viewers?
When your computer, smartphone, tablet or other connected device connects to the internet, it is assigned an IP address.
This IP address acts much like the mailing address of your home does, identifying where an internet request has been sent from, and where the requested information is to be sent to. The IP address not only identifies your device, it identifies your geographical location.
CBS All Access, and other streaming services like Netflix or Hulu, can identify your geographical location by reading your IP address. If the address shows up as being located outside the United States, the streaming service can block devices at that IP address from accessing their servers.
This is how CBS All Access knows to block users from the United Kingdom, France and any other country outside of the U.S.
How Can I Watch CBS All Access From Outside the U.S.?
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) can temporarily assign your device a new IP address, making it appear to the outside world that you are in another location, which could be across the state or across the world.
By selecting a VPN server located inside the United States, you can appear to be located stateside, tricking CBS into allowing you “All Access” to their shows. (See what I did there?)
How to Stream CBS All Access With a VPN
To unblock CBS All Access content from anywhere, here’s all you need to do:
- Pick a VPN provider and sign up for a new account with them. You’ll need to choose a provider that has servers in the USA capable of unblocking CBS streams. ExpressVPN is the best option for unblocking CBS All Access.
- Install the VPN app by downloading it from your provider’s website and onto the device you intend to use to watch CBS All Access content. There should be an app available for major platforms like Android, iOS, Mac and Windows.
- Once logged in to the VPN app on your chosen device, find and connect to a server in the USA.
- Now load the CBS All Access app or visit their website and watch your favorite CBS show from anywhere in the world!
When it comes to considering which VPN is right for you to use, you should also know that a VPN can do much more than just unblock geo-restricted content such as CBS All Access.
Many internet users also use a VPN to gain stronger security and privacy online. The top VPNs can encrypt your content in virtually unbreakable code and make your identity, real location and IP address anonymous.
This offers a clear advantage of paid VPNs over free VPNs, which can’t match this level of protection.
The Best VPN for CBS All Access
While a number of VPN providers have proven themselves to be capable of reliably unblocking streaming services around the globe, only one has proven to be the best at unblocking CBS All Access, in addition to other providers.
Here is my mini-review of ExpressVPN.
ExpressVPN delivers excellent unblocking power for CBS All Access from around the globe. A large server network and fast connection speeds make it a good choice for those looking to watch content overseas. There’s also a 30-day money-back guarantee.
1. Connection Speed
According to our most recent round of speed tests, ExpressVPN’s connection speeds are the fastest of any VPN provider.
Streams begin playing quickly and with minimal buffering. All streams play smoothly. ExpressVPN doesn’t impose any data caps or bandwidth limitations on your usage, so you’ll be all set for a weekend-long Star Trek: [fill-in-the-title] binge.
Those connections are well protected, thanks to ExpressVPN’s top-notch online security, with military-level encryption, kill switch protection, and IPv6 and DNS leak protection. More details about VPN security features here.
CBS All Access is by no means the only streaming service available out there, so you should also consider a VPN’s performance in unblocking content on other popular streaming services when deciding on a VPN.
In addition to CBS All Access, ExpressVPN provides optimal unblocking power for numerous streaming services, including:
- Netflix in the U.S., U.K. and numerous other countries;
- Hulu in the U.S.;
- Amazon Prime Video (in multiple countries around the globe);
- BBC iPlayer and Sky in the U.K.;
- Network streaming services from ABC, NBC and other cable and broadcast networks.
3. Multi-Platform Support
CBS All Access is available on multiple device platforms, making comprehensive multi-platform app support a must. ExpressVPN provides native apps for all of the most popular device platforms.
You’ll find apps for the iOS, Android, macOS, Linux, Windows, Chromebook and Amazon Fire device platforms. If you do your viewing in your browser, you can use the provider’s Chrome and Firefox extensions.
If you have an Apple TV, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 or other set-top box or game console, you can make use of the provider’s MediaStreamer DNS service to open “all access” to CBS’s content. Be advised, however, that MediaStreamer does not encrypt your device like the provider’s VPN service does.
Express VPN allows up to 5 simultaneous connections on one username. If that’s not sufficient, or if you need to protect devices not on the above list, you can make use of the provider’s excellent router compatibility.
4. Customer Support
There may come a time when you have a question or require help in using a VPN with a particular device. That’s when reliable customer support comes in handy.
ExpressVPN offers around-the-clock support thanks to its 24/7 live support agent chat feature, email support, support ticket tracking system and searchable troubleshooting and support library.
5. Global Server Coverage
The ExpressVPN network is comprised of over 3,000 servers in 94 countries.
Of that number, 30+ of their server farms are located in the United States. This provides excellent access to CBS All Access and other United States-based streaming services.
Admittedly, ExpressVPN is priced a bit more dearly than many of its competitors. However, I believe you’ll find that the price is by no means outrageous when you consider the excellent services you receive for your money.
A 30-day money-back guarantee is available, so new users can try out the service without risk.
Read my full review of ExpressVPN.
What Programs Can I Watch With CBS All Access?
Some of the most popular shows available on the network include:
- Blue Bloods
- The Big Bang Theory
- Star Trek: Discovery
- Star Trek: Picard
- Undercover Boss
- Hawaii Five-0
- The Late Late Show with James Corden
- Big Brother
- Young Sheldon
In addition to current primetime series, CBS All Access offers daytime series, classic series from the history of CBS, and professional and college sports, like NCAA and NFL football.
With so many VPNs on the market, finding the best one to unblock CBS All Access is no easy feat.
ExpressVPN has fast speeds and a large number of reliable U.S. servers. It uses the highest-grade encryption available and offers some of the best app support and customer support around, making it the top choice for accessing CBS content from anywhere around the world.
For more information or to purchase a subscription, visit the ExpressVPN website.