CBS to offer stand-alone Web streaming service

CBS announced a new online streaming subscription service on Thursday that will let people watch the station’s programming on their computer, mobile phone or tablet.

The announcement from one of the country’s top broadcast channels comes just a day after HBO announced a similar move, and could spell a radical change for the TV industry. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Under the new plan, called CBS All Access, people can pay $5.99 per month to watch the company’s catalogue of old TV shows as well as live streaming programming on the Internet.

“Watch your local CBS broadcast as it happens — all from your mobile device or computer,” CBS advertised on its website. “Just sign in and enjoy live news, sports, special events and all the shows you love.”

For the time being, however, there will be a number of limits on what CBS’s new subscribers can watch.

Some sporting events, including NFL games, won’t be streamed online.

Live TV service is also only available in 14 cities around the country, including major markets like Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco.

The success of services like Hulu and Netflix have pointed to a transformational change in the way that people watch TV, with many calling for the ability to watch programming over the Web rather than through a traditional cable package.

Ceding to that pressure, HBO announced on Wednesday that it would allow people without a cable subscription to buy access to its online streaming service, HBO GO, starting next year. 

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court reviewed the upstart service Aereo — which allowed people to watch nearly live broadcast TV over the Web for a small fee — and decided that it was a violation of the companies’ copyright licenses. 

CBS had threatened to move to an online-only model if Aereo won that case.