Discovery+ is a subscription streaming service that features content from popular networks such as HGTV, TLC, A&E and Food Network.
Making a splash as the first new streaming service of 2021, discovery+ launched on January 4. Discovery, Inc. says the service offers more than 55,000 hours of programming from some of its top content producers as well as new shows created just for the streaming service.
The company calls its new venture the “definitive non-fiction, real-life subscription streaming service.” But discovery+ will be looking for a piece of the pie in the increasingly-congested monthly subscription market that already includes big players such as Disney, Apple, Amazon and Netflix.
Will discovery+ be able to differentiate itself in the marketplace?
In this article, Team Clark will explore the streaming service to help you decide if it’s worth your time as a new entertainment option.
Table of Contents
- What Is discovery+?
- How Can I Get discovery+?
- What TV Networks and Shows Are on discovery+?
- Original Content on discovery+
- User Experience with discovery+
- Final Thoughts
What Is discovery+?
Discovery+ is an on-demand video streaming service that features both original content and popular shows from 14 different television networks.
While you can’t stream live channels on this service, the library of on-demand content is more than 55,000 hours deep. That includes series from HGTV, History Channel, A&E, TLC, Food Network and more.
And with personalities like Chip and Joanna Gaines, the Property Brothers and Guy Fieri on board to star in new shows for the streaming service, discovery+ already has an impressive library of original content.
How Can I Get Discovery+?
After a much-anticipated launch on January 4th, 2021, customers in the United States can now access discovery+.
Discovery+’s subscription plans start at $4.99 per month. At this basic level, you’ll have to watch some ads (more on that later).
You have the option to upgrade to an ad-free version for $6.99 per month.
Each account includes up to five user profiles and four concurrent streams.
This pricing is in line with that of Disney+, which is available ad-free for $6.99 per month or $69.99 per year. It’s also comparable to NBC’s Peacock, which has a $4.99 ad-supported subscription level.
Free Trials and Verizon Freebies
Discovery+ is offering a seven-day free trial for all new customers. A credit card is required. You can select either the $4.99 or $6.99 plan for the free trial, which will be billed to your card if you don’t cancel prior to the expiration of your free trial.
If you are a Verizon customer, there’s a chance that you could get up to a year of discovery+ for free.
- New and existing wireless customers with a Play More or Get More Unlimited plan can get 12 months of discovery+ at no charge.
- Customers with Start or Do More Unlimited plans can get six months of discovery+ at no charge.
- New and select existing Verizon 5G Home Internet or Fios Gigabit Connection customers are eligible for a free year of the service.
If you’re unsure which Verizon freebie applies to you, there is more information to help you here.
You can access discovery+ content from the following devices:
- Android phones and tablets (through app in Google Play Store)
- Apple phones and tablets (through app in Apple App Store)
- Amazon Fire TV & Fire Stick
- Android TV
- Apple TV
- Google Chromecast
- Roku devices
- Samsung TVs
- Xbox gaming consoles
- Web browsers via desktop or laptop
If you don’t see your streaming device listed, you can get more information on how to stream discovery+ here.
What TV Networks and Shows Are on discovery+?
If you were going by name alone, you might confuse this as simply a streaming version of the Discovery Channel. But it’s much more than that.
While the Discovery Channel’s content is included, there is a lot more.
I poked around the service to uncover just what type of entertainment you’re getting from the 55,000+ hours of content discovery+ promises.
Content Available from 14 Different Networks
Discovery+ includes content from a total of 14 networks:
- Food Network
- Discovery Channel
- ID (Investigation Discovery)
- Animal Planet
- History Channel
- Magnolia Network (Chip and Joanna Gaines’ new network)
- OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network)
- Science Channel
- Travel Channel
The good news: Most of your favorites from these channels likely are represented with at least a portion of their catalogs. That makes for a pretty robust offering.
The bad news: This is not a live stream of these channels. You’re getting only on-demand content here, so you’re likely going to have to continue to pay for cable or a live streaming service if you want to watch new episodes as they first air.
Popular TV Shows Available to Stream
- Fixer Upper (Chip and Joanna Gaines)
- Property Brothers (Jonathan and Drew Scott)
- Diners, Drive-ins and Dives (Guy Fieri)
- 90-Day Fiance
- Ice Road Truckers
- The First 48
- Pawn Stars
- American Pickers
- Dance Moms
- Storage Wars
- Flip or Flop
- Love It or List It
- Cake Wars
- Good Eats
- Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares
- Dr. Pimple Popper
- Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe
- Gold Rush
- BBC’s Planet Earth
Really, the list of archived content from these 14 networks goes on and on. The list above is just a small sampling of some of the popular titles available.
But there are some things you should know about these titles:
Your mileage may vary on the amount of each series you can stream on discovery+. For example, you can find all 17 seasons of HGTV’s Love It or List It but only three seasons of History’s long-running Pawn Stars.
If your favorite show is still in production for network television, you’re not likely to see the latest episodes on this service right away. As with Netflix or Hulu, there appears to be a waiting period before you’ll be able to binge the newest episodes.
Original Content on discovery+
If you are worried that a subscription to discovery+ is just asking for old reruns of legacy shows … don’t be.
There is a large helping of new content that is original to the streaming platform. And it includes some pretty big Discovery, Inc. stars:
Discovery+ promises more than 1,000 hours of original content during its first year of operation in 2021.
This will include some spinoffs from some of the company’s existing television talent. These may be the biggest draw for consumers who love the channels but are on the fence about paying for the service.
Some big names, including Kevin Hart, Ludacris, Amy Schumer and David Schwimmer, have projects set to launch on the platform in the next year.
Here’s a look at some of the original content you can already enjoy on discovery+:
Magnolia Table with Joanna Gaines
During my trial subscription, I was able to watch the debut episode of Joanna Gaines’ new cooking show.
And that’s really just the beginning of Magnolia Network content that discovery+ subscribers will get to see, as Chip and Joanna Gaines roll out their own network in 2021. Here are the details for all you Fixer Upper fanatics:
“[discovery+ subscription] includes advance access to some of the Gaineses’ most-anticipated projects, including the newest iteration of the show that started it all with Fixer Upper: Welcome Home; episodes of the cooking series Magnolia Table with Joanna Gaines, where viewers will spend time in the kitchen with Joanna as she shares with us her favorite recipes, where they come from, and why she finds herself returning to them time and time again; Road to Launch, featuring intimate conversations between the Gaineses and various talent from the upcoming Magnolia Network programming slate; the documentary Courage to Run, which chronicles a fortuitous meeting that inspired Chip to train for and complete his first marathon; and premiere episodes from ten upcoming Magnolia Network original series.”
Bobby and Giada in Italy
Popular Food Network stars Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis’ new show chronicles their road trip across Italy in search of the country’s top culinary experiences.
Six Degrees with Mike Rowe
The no-nonsense handyman who is famous for his hit Discovery Channel show, Dirty Jobs, has a new project on discovery+ that sets out to prove that all things are connected.
American Detective with Lt. Joe Kenda
This true-crime series is hosted by popular Investigation Discovery detective Joe Kenda. It promises to guide you through “complex twists and turns” of some of the most “incredibly disturbing and mind-blowing cases” from across the United States.
User Experience with discovery+
For this review, I took advantage of the seven-day free trial and loaded discovery+ onto both my Google phone and TV streaming device.
I found the television interface to be pretty straightforward with the focus on easily searchable categories in a tile menu format. It reminds me of the Disney+ layout in that it has both horizontal and verticle menu bars that help you navigate the app in different ways.
As you can see in the photo above, the left side of the screen has a five-option menu:
- My List (The + indicates content that you’ve favorited for easy access)
- Tile Menu
- Profile Options
You can also select one of the 14 featured television networks to drill down into content that originated on that particular network.
Phone and Tablet App
As you can see in the image above, the landing page for the Android app is different from the TV app, but it does accomplish many of the same objectives with its table and tile options.
It was very easy to search through tiles of content, pick a season of a show and then a specific episode. The app also keeps up with your progress on shows, giving you the option on the landing page to “continue watching” a series where you left off without having to go back through the search process.
How Bad Are the Ads?
As I mentioned earlier, I opted into a seven-day free trial of the $4.99 ad-supported version of discovery+. This was intentional, as I wanted to be able to report back to you on what you could expect to see at the basic subscription level.
Here’s what my research uncovered:
- For your typical “30-minute TV show” with a run-time of 22-24 minutes, you can expect to endure two commercial breaks. Each is going to be one minute long and typically includes one 30-second commercial and two 15-second commercials.
- For the typical “hour-long show” with a run-time of 43-45 minutes, you can expect three commercial breaks. I found each of the breaks to last a minute; they sometimes included just one ad in the whole break.
- The ads you’ll see are from major American brands. There was nothing shady or seedy in my experience: They’re the same kinds of ads you’d probably see on one of the 14 Discovery cable networks.
Final Thoughts on discovery+
After watching NBC, HBO, Disney, Apple and a few others jump into the on-demand streaming game during 2020, I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical that discovery+ would make much of a splash with its early 2021 release.
But after spending time on it during a free trial, I can confidently say that my household would get its $4.99 worth each month if we decided to keep the subscription.
Not only does it have a little bit of something for everyone from 14 popular television networks, but it also has a surprisingly good menu of original content options that feature stars and brands that could have lasting power.
As with all streaming services, it’s a good idea to take advantage of the free trial to check out discovery+. But I think plenty of cord-cutters will find it offers many of the hit non-scripted shows they enjoyed on cable.
And at $4.99 with no long-term obligation, it’s hard to go wrong with this one.
Will you be looking to add discovery+ to your streaming options in 2021? Let us know what you think in the comments below!