App Review: CBS App

Sections: Software / Applications

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I recently saw a teaser clip for the new Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D show, and I started looking around for a way to watch it. Yes, I’m a cord cutter. I watch a few recent shows by purchasing a Season Pass on iTunes or Amazon, but I don’t want to gamble on a pass with a brand new show.

Several years ago, when I wanted to watch a CBS show on my iPhone, the only option was the horrible app. Fortunately, CBS has joined many other networks in providing a dedicated app.

The video quality is excellent. They say the shows are in full HD, and what I watched looked great on my Retina iPad. Playback was mostly smooth. I did have some trouble with glitches over the weekend, but they just updated the app, and when I tested it today, the glitches I had experienced were gone.

The first episode I watched (the Pilot of Elementary) was ad-free, which thrilled me. Unfortunately, there were ads in the second and subsequent episodes I watched. One of the reasons we cut the cord was to avoid ads, and it was disappointing to have to deal with them in the app.

CBS App screen

Show selection was spotty. Some current shows, like Elementary, are currently in catch-up mode, which means all episodes from the previous season are available, presumably until the new season begins. Other shows, like CSI: New York, had only clips available. Big Bang Theory had a few episodes, but not the entire previous season.

My verdict? If you want to binge watch a show, it’s not a good option. The selection is too spotty. You’re better off finding the show on Netflix or Amazon. Entire seasons of shows become pretty inexpensive if you wait until later in the summer to purchase them. If you want to keep up with a show during the regular season and can tolerate the ads, it’s not a bad app.

Note that if you get your Internet through Time-Warner, you won’t be able to watch anything in the app until CBS and Time-Warner (hopefully) get over their disagreements.

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  • Chris

    Pay attention to the news. The Time Warner / CBS dispute has been settled for about five days now.