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Paramount Plus Essential: everything you need to know about the $4.99 per month plan

Paramount Plus on Roku
(Image credit: WhatToWatch.com)

Options are a big part of the game when it comes to streaming and Paramount Plus has those with its two main plans, the Paramount Plus Essential and Paramount Plus Premium plans. Here, we're focusing on the cheaper of the two options, Paramount Plus Essential.

Each Paramount Plus plan gives subscribers the ability to watch Paramount Plus originals and the full catalog of more than 30,000 shows and movies. They both have access to live sports, including regional NFL games on Paramount Plus.

We've dived into what separates Paramount Plus Essential from the Paramount Plus Premium plan below.

How much does Paramount Plus Essential cost?

Paramount Plus Essential is the cheaper of the two subscription options, available for a monthly fee of $4.99. Subscribers can save some money by signing up for a full year, with a 12-month commitment to Essential costing $49.99.

Comparatively, Paramount Plus Premium goes for $9.99 per month or $99.99 for the full year.

What's different about the Paramount Plus Essential plan?

The first big difference between Paramount Plus Essential and the Premium option is that Essential comes with "limited commercial interruptions," whereas Premium is commercial free.

The other thing that separates the two subscriptions is that Essential subscribers do not have access to a live stream of their local CBS station, so they can not watch CBS shows like NCIS, Ghosts, Young Sheldon or Blue Bloods when they air live and have to wait until they are available on-demand the next day.

However, this does not apply to NFL and UEFA Champions League games, as games that air on subscribers' local CBS stations are available on their own live streaming feeds

Another difference is that you won't be able to download shows and movies for offline viewing. (That's also in line with the ad-supported plan for HBO Max.)

What if you had the $5.99 Paramount Plus plan before?

Some Paramount Plus subscribers signed up for what was known as the Limited Commercials plan that cost $5.99 per month. This plan has been discontinued, though if you signed up for it when available and still have an active account, then you still have access to all the features of this plan until you decide to cancel and resubscribe or change your plan.

What is the Paramount Plus Essential + Showtime plan?

There is an option to add to your Paramount Plus subscription that gives you access to Showtime programming, including The First Lady, Yellowjackets, Dexter and more. This includes being able to add that to the Essential Plan in what is dubbed the Essential Plan + Showtime.

This version of the Essential Plan has all the same features as the normal Essential Plan, just with the added benefit of access to Showtime shows. The monthly cost for Essential Plan + Showtime is $11.99, while it is available for a year at $119.99.

Through October 2, Paramount Plus is allowing people to sign up for the Essential Plan + Showtime bundle for $7.99 per month.

Is there a Paramount Plus Essential plan in the UK?

Paramount Plus UK launched in June 2022 with a single plan for £6.99, so there is no Essential or Premium plan for UK subscribers. Everyone gets the same plan.

Phil spent his 20s in the newsroom of the Pensacola (Fla.) News Journal, his 30s on the road for AndroidCentral.com and Mobile Nations and is the Dad part of Modern Dad.