Discovery+ Review

Discovery+ Review: 5 Things to Know Before You Sign Up

Discovery+ is the new streaming TV home for fans of shows like 90 Day Fiancé, Flip or Flop, The Pioneer Woman and Gold Rush. 

But is it worth subscribing to another streaming service? This review will help you decide.

What Is Discovery Plus And Is It Worth It?

Discovery+ features a streaming library of non-fiction and reality shows, plus exclusive original series. However, it doesn’t carry live feeds of Discovery-owned networks including HGTV, TLC, Food Network and ID. 

Discovery CEO David Zaslav views the service as a complement to every household’s streaming portfolio, which may include Netflix or Disney+.

During an investor presentation, Zaslav said: 

“We’re not in this to be small. We’re in this to be very big.”

David Zaslav, Discovery CEO

Based on what I’ve learned about the Discovery+ product, I believe the service will appeal to three types of people: 

  1. Cord-cutters or cord-nevers who like non-fiction programming and don’t get enough of it from their existing streaming options. 
  2. Pay-TV subscribers who want access to Discovery’s library content ad-free. 
  3. Superfans of Discovery’s shows and personalities who want to stream Discovery+ originals in addition to their pay-TV subscription. 

If you’re thinking about joining Discovery Plus, I’ve put together this list of things that you need to know before you sign up. Let’s get started! 

1. How Much Does Discovery+ Cost? 

Discovery+ is one of the more affordable streaming TV options in 2021. Its ad-supported plan is $4.99 per month and its ad-free plan is $6.99 per month

Although there is no free plan, some Verizon customers can get complimentary access.

Verizon is offering “discovery+ on us” for up to 12 months to customers with select unlimited wireless plans. Some home internet customers are also eligible. Learn more here.

Discovery+ has a 7-day free trial. There are no contracts or long-term commitments, so you can cancel at any time.

2. What’s Included With a Subscription? 

At launch, Discovery+ offers access to more than 55,000 episodes from more than 2,500 current and classic shows in the Discovery portfolio of networks. 

Those networks include HGTV, Food Network, TLC, ID, OWN, Travel Channel, Discovery Channel and Animal Planet.

In addition, Discovery has struck deals to bring non-fiction content from outside partners like A&E, History and Lifetime to the streaming platform. 

Discovery+ primarily features library content, but the second component is original programming.

During its December 2020 investor call, company executives said the service is launching with 50 original series and exclusive content will be added every week. 

Four of those originals tie in to TLC’s popular 90 Day Fiancé franchise. Other Discovery+ programming features household names like Chip and Joanna Gaines, Bobby Flay, Giada De Laurentiis and Mike Rowe.

3. Does Discovery+ Offer Live TV? 

Discovery+ includes library content and exclusive original series, not live TV from its family of networks. You’ll need a cable, satellite or live TV subscription to watch shows as they premiere. 

Discovery CFO Gunnar Wiedenfels confirmed during a December 2020 investor call that most shows will not show up on Discovery+ until the end of the current season. 

However, there are exceptions. Some shows are being added to Discovery+ the day or week after they air.

“The vast majority of our linear content will stay on linear and will only be on Discovery+ at a later time after the end of the season.”

Gunnar Wiedenfels, Discovery CFO

The absence of live TV makes the streaming service a tougher sell for some fans of Discovery-owned networks.

For example: Let’s say that you watch TLC’s 90 Day Fiancé on Sunday nights. You talk about it with your friends and occasionally read the blogs to see what the cast is up to.

To continue doing that, you’ll still need a pay-TV subscription.

Discovery is not including live TV because it makes a lot of money from affiliate fees. It wants to continue the relationships with cable, satellite and live TV streaming services, while adding this new source of revenue with Discovery+.

That’s frustrating to many consumers who would prefer if Discovery+ had an add-on option for live TV.

4. How Do You Stream Discovery+? 

Whether you’re at home or on the go, you can stream Discovery+ using an internet-connected device.

Discovery+ is available on devices including phones, tablets, computers, gaming consoles and connected TVs. Supported devices for TV include Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV, Google Chromecast and Roku. (Full list here)

Discovery+ allows up to five user profiles and four simultaneous streams per account. 

From my testing of Discovery+ so far, the user experience is good. I’ve tried out Discovery+ on my phone, computer and streamed it to a TV using a Roku Premiere player.

The first thing I noticed was how quickly I was able to browse Discovery+ with no lag or buffering.

When you launch the Discovery+ app, you’ll see a “For You” section with personalized content recommendations based on your viewing history.

Navigation is sorted by genres: food, relationships, true crime, etc.

Home Screen For You Section Discovery+

You can browse by the Discovery brand that most interests you. And when you select a brand logo, you’ll see a list of the best that network has to offer — including trending content.

When you click on a show, you can either watch it now or add it to “My List” to stream later.

ID Channel Page Discovery+

5. Discovery+ Pros and Cons

For most people, Discovery+ isn’t likely a replacement for Netflix, Disney+ or even HBO Max.

However, it may be a good complementary service depending on your household’s streaming budget and desire for additional non-fiction and reality programming.

Pros Cons
Affordable plansNo free tier
Tons of non-fiction and reality contentNo live TV option
Ad-free option

Discovery+ is a great value if you don’t have a pay-TV service, but it may not be essential if you’re keeping cable, satellite or a live TV streaming service.

Look at it this way: With YouTube TV or Philo’s unlimited DVR, you can record your favorite shows from Discovery’s family of networks to create your own personal library of content to stream at your convenience.

And unlike with Discovery+, YouTube TV and Philo subscribers can still watch the latest episodes as they premiere. 

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