You must activate Passport in order to watch the video that displays the PBS Passport icon. You can still watch hundreds of hours of quality public television shows on your computer, smartphone and tablet without Passport.
PBS Passport is simply an additional member benefit that offers eligible station donors extended on-demand access to a library of videos. It is entirely up to you whether or not you wish to activate PBS Passport. You will encounter a message asking if you want to activate PBS Passport every time you come to a video whose streaming rights for non-members have expired. PBS Passport allows eligible members to watch some expired or archival content.
Keep in mind that PBS is not a producer but rather a distributor of programming. Our distribution rights are fairly limited and are sometimes confined to only broadcasting. However, when PBS is allowed streaming rights they are subjected to time limitations, usually of two weeks. Passport allows extended access to many PBS shows.