Discovery+ is a streaming service that offers content from all the Discovery channels. It’s a great service for fans of the broad range of reality TV. And it’s quite reasonably priced.
In a hurry? Discovery+ is available for as little as $4.99/mo and only $6.99/mo if you want to watch ad-free. It even comes with a free trial!
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If you have a craving for reality shows that feature quirky families and relationships alongside ones with ghost hunters and haunted houses; if you enjoy people flipping pancakes as much as flipping houses; if you love animals, from your living room couch to the city zoo to the wilds of the African steppe; if you have a horrified fascination with both breaking gruesome murder cases and excising equally gruesome blemishes — then baby, get ready to binge, because, have we got a streaming service for you.
|✔ So. Much. Content.||❌ Can’t download episodes|
|✔ Low price||❌ No HDR|
|✔ Originals and classics from 20+ channels||❌ No parental control|
Discovery+ (Discovery Plus) offers all of the above and more, for a very affordable monthly price. Discovery’s service has two plans, Discovery+ and Discovery+ (Ad-Free). The first is cheaper, $4.99/mo, but has limited ads. The second, as the name implies, is completely ad-free, and is $6.99/mo.
Students are eligible for a $2.99/mo ad-supported account. There is currently a seven-day free trial for all plans, and you can switch between plans at any time. All price points have the same content.
There are some omissions of fairly standard features for on-demand streaming subscriptions these days, like the ability to download episodes to watch offline, and basic parental controls. Also, if you’re going to make content available in 4K, you may as well go the whole nine yards and offer HDR too.
But the value for money outweighs those minor issues. Assuming you enjoy the content.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re familiar with Discovery’s brand of content. “Unscripted stories” is how they would frame it, which is corporate network code for “reality TV,” with some documentaries on the side.
Discovery has a number of channels in its stable, which have nominal specialties. For example, HGTV is focused on home improvement and landscaping. And Food Network features food. But there has been some homogenization over the years.
The vast majority of Discovery+’s content is on-demand, like Netflix. You pick what you want to watch from the menu and watch as much (or as little) of it as you want. Note that Discovery+ does not include feeds of the Discovery channels you would get with a live TV streaming service.
Discovery+ Originals are shows and movies made specifically for service. They can only be found on Discovery+. Many of these are spin-offs of well-loved brands, such as 90 Days: The Single Life, Ghost Hunters: TAPS Returns, or American Detective with Lt Joe Kenda. But some are entirely new. Top trending titles include:
- Hillsong: A Megachurch Exposed: The scandal-laced trials and tribulations of Brian Houston’s global megachurch.
- Queen of Versailles Reigns Again: The continuing story of Jackie Siegel and the twenty-years-and-counting construction of her 90,000 square foot Florida ubermansion.
- Serving the Hamptons: In the vein of Below Deck comes this spotlight on the shenanigans of the young staff at a luxurious Hamptons resort.
Just about every Discovery network is represented, plus a few surprise guest appearances: the BBC’s award-winning nature documentaries plus some on-brand faves from A&E, History, and Lifetime.
But remember, you don’t get the channels themselves, just their content. Here’s a quick list:
- A&E: Oddball reality and gritty true crime; featured titles are 60 Days In and A Gray State.
- American Heroes Channel: Inside military and conflict history; featured series are Inside Secret Societies and WWII: Masters of War.
- Animal Planet: Walk on the wild side with pets, zoo critters, and free in nature; trending titles include Lone Star Law and Pit Bulls & Parolees.
- BBC: Brits exploring and explaining nature; landmark specials include Planet Earth, Atlantic, and Dangerous Earth.
- Cooking Channel: Cooking personalities and how-tos; trending stuff includes Man v Food and Food Paradise.
- Destination America: Interesting locales all around the US of A; featured titles are Buying the Rockies and Exorcism: LIVE!
- Discovery: Treasure hunting, myth-busting, and storm-chasing; featured series are Deadliest Catch and Dirty Jobs.
- Discovery Life: Anatomical oddities and medical disasters; featured series are Birth Day and Body Bizarre.
- Food Network: Foody culture and cooking contests; featured series are Bake or Break, Inside Eats, and BBQ Brawl.
- HGTV: Homebuilding, repairing, buying, and selling; featured shows include Lil John Wants to Do What?, Home Town, Celebrity IOU, House Hunters, and Unsellable Houses.
- History: Extreme survival, Ancient Aliens, and conspiracies galore; featured titles are Alone and America’s Book of Secrets.
- Investigation Discovery: True crime and unsolved mysteries; featured series are Evil Lives Here: Shadows of Death and On the Case with Paula Zahn.
- Lifetime: Women-centric stories and voices; featured titles are A Killer Among Us and A Murder to Remember.
- Magnolia Network: The old DIY network has been taken over by Fixer Upper stars Chip and Joanna Gaines; featured shows are The Craftsman, (re)motel, and Magnolia Workshops.
- OWN: Oprah’s lifestyle network; featured series include Ready to Love and Put a Ring on It.
- Science: Explore inner workings of everything from bottles to the cosmos; trending series include Mysteries of the Abandoned and Unearthed.
- TLC: Intensely personal relationship and family reality; featured series include 90 Day Fiance, Body Parts, and Unexpected.
- Travel Channel: Aliens, ghosts, and Bigfoot — oh my! Trending titles include Ghost Adventures and Portals to Hell.
These are less well-known to TV viewers, but are internet/YouTube sensations:
- The Dodo
- Now This
Discovery+ User Experience
Discovery+ provides an excellent overall user experience.
Discovery+ Supported Devices
A full (very detailed) list is available on Discovery+’s website, but here’s a quick rundown:
- Amazon Fire TV
- Amazon Kindle Fire Tablet
- Android Mobile (version 5 or later)
- Android TV (version 5 or later)
- Apple TV (4th gen & tvOS 12 or later)
- Chromecast (gen 2 or newer)
- iPad (3rd gen & iOS 12 or later
- iPhone 6 (or later, with iOS 12)
- LG TVs (webOS 4X/5X)
- Samsung smart TVs (2017 or newer)
- VIZIO SmartCast TVs (2017 or newer)
- Web browsers
- Xbox One, X, or S gaming consoles
- Xfinity Flex.
Discovery+ is also pretty magnanimous with its user features, especially for the price. You get a generous 5 profiles per account and can stream on up to 4 devices at one time.
Where available, 4K content is included in the price. The interface is familiar and smooth and easy to navigate.
One thing we really liked was that each show has an icon on it identifying which channel it’s from, so you can presumably check out that channel for more of the same (or avoid it). On the landing page, “For You,” there’s a row near the top of the various contributing channels in distinctive round icons, which include all the channels listed above plus four collections of marginalized groups: AAPI Stories, Always Proud, Black Voices, and Her Story.
Further down there’s a row of “Discovery+ Channels,” which confusingly are not actually counterparts to Discovery’s TV channels, but are instead with 24/7 streams of various shows. Some contain just highlighted episodes, while some feature marathon-style runs of entire series, beginning to end.
About the only major omission, aside from not being able to download shows for offline viewing, is the complete lack of parental controls. Given the breadth of content from the truly peerless nature documentaries from the BBC to Surviving Evil, an ID show that lets women relate horrific stories of assault and abuse in their own words, it’s a little baffling that there’s no way to allow selective access, especially with 5 profiles to take advantage of.
How to Get Discovery+
Discovery+ is available directly through the Discovery+ website, or you can subscribe through The Roku Channel (Roku’s streaming app, it’s not exclusive to the Roku device) or Amazon Prime Video Channels.
Of course, Discovery+ isn’t the only streaming service with bingeable unscripted content. Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, and HBO Max all have decent collections of reality TV, true crime, and especially quality documentaries.
But if you’re looking to feed that addiction with a dedicated service, you still have options. Demons, Bigfoot, serial killers, or bridezillas — whatever your flavor of real-life monster, check these out:
- A&E Crime Central: Because A&E is graciously sharing some of its shows (and its sister-channels’ shows) with Discovery+, there may be some overlap, but this true crime-centric service is slightly cheaper ($4.99/mo, without commercials). It also has a much smaller library, drawing on series from A&E, Lifetime, and History.
- History Vault: If World War II and speculative alien civilizations are your thing, you can get History and Military History on demand for $4.99/mo.
- Peacock: NBCUniversal is the home of some of the best in the salacious, juicy, wallow-in-it reality shows, like Keeping Up With The Kardashians, the various Real Housewives series, Below Deck, anything that’s ever been on Bravo, and more. Best of all, it’s free, if you don’t mind ads. (Peacock review)
There really is something for everyone on Discovery+, though obviously there will be more for some than others. But even if you’re one of the curmudgeons that is perpetually disgusted that TLC doesn’t even pretend anymore to be The Learning Channel, or Science Channel has a lot less science, or that the History Channel doesn’t show any history, there’s still plenty for you.
Maybe 21 seasons of Mythbusters? Or 24 seasons of How It’s Made? Or 8 seasons of How the Universe Works? What about 10 seasons of What on Earth? Or, if you prefer the soothing voice and dry wit of Sir Attenborough, the entire BBC Earth catalog is available, much of it in 4K. You could spend months watching and not even acknowledge 90 Day Fiance‘s existence.
The bottom line is, we are talking a truly, truly huge library of content — over 2,500 shows (that’s shows, not episodes), with over 50,000 hours of content. If you sat down and started watching it without sleeping, you’d be on that sofa for over five and a half years. So take seven days and check it out — for $4.99/mo (or even $6.99/mo), it really is a great deal.
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That’s it — you’ll save money, take back control, and enjoy TV more!
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