At a reasonable $4.99 per month in the US ($6.99 for the ad-free version), you have access to an impressive library of over 55,000 episodes from Discovery’s iconic brands. Where Quibi tried to do something completely new with its “quick bites” of TV shows, movies, and documentaries, Discovery+ is sticking to what it does best and what it has successfully been able to do for years, only this time, all of its diverse unscripted content is neatly wrapped up in one easy-to-use streaming service. There are a few key features missing from the platform that we would have liked to see, but overall, Discovery+ makes a compelling debut in the Streaming Wars.
Discovery Plus’s TV Shows and Movies
With over 55,000 episodes from Discovery’s vast catalog of unscripted series to binge at launch, the streamer isn’t lacking in the content department. Discovery+’s lineup is very diverse, offering engaging true-crime series like American Detective with Lt. Joe Kenda, who offers unique insights into disturbing real-life cases around the United States.
If you’re more into home repair and DYI projects, Chip and Joanna Gaines bring their bubbly personalities to the Magnolia network, which will be home to several new series like The Courage to Run, Restoration Road with Clint Harp, and The Lost Kitchen. Other popular HGTV hosts such as Tarek El Moussa and Christina Anstead of Flip or Flop fame are featured in new Discovery+ Originals that can only be seen on the streaming service.
And as a brand renowned for releasing jaw-dropping nature documentaries like BBC’s Planet Earth and The Blue Planet, it’s no surprise that Discovery is bringing even more nature docs to its new platform. At launch, David Attenborough’s A Perfect Planet and Judi Dench’s Wild Borneo Adventure offer breathtaking glimpses at some of our planet’s most fascinating features like volcanos and the oceans.
Looking ahead, the streamer is working on several more Discovery+ Originals, including an unscripted series called Route 66 starring comedian and actor Kevin Hart. Per Discovery, “Route 66 features Kevin Hart hitting the road, going along America’s famous Route 66 to see what’s going on with America. He will visit people and places and bring along friends in an exploration of the U.S. heartland from Chicago to L.A..”
Discovery+’s User Interface
While not groundbreaking when compared to other streaming services, Discovery+ does offer an attractive user interface that’s easy to navigate. The app and website layouts feature a colorful array of logos highlighting Discovery Inc.’s various networks, including TLC, Discovery+ Originals, History, and more. There’s also a “Top Genres” section conveniently located at the top of the page, which includes links to shows focused on lifestyle, home, food, true crime, adventure, relationships, and nature, to help you find the types of programming you love.
Streaming mainstays such as adding shows to a “favorites list” and features like “continue watching” are all easily accessible throughout the platform. Some 4K content is available at launch as well for no extra charge (4K content on Netflix costs extra), most notably seen on the Discovery+ Originals and some of the high-production nature series such as Planet Earth and A Perfect Planet. Overall, there is far less 4K content than Netflix or Amazon, but since many of the shows fall in the reality TV genre, I wasn’t expecting Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos sound while watching Joanna Gaines cook homemade comfort food. Sure, it would be nice to have more 4K content, but it’s not a deal-breaker for this type of programming.
The one noticeable omission at launch is the lack of a “download option” for offline viewing. While a source close to the service did inform IGN that offline viewing options are in the works for 2021, this oversight is difficult to ignore since streamers like Amazon and Netflix have made this feature commonplace over the past few years.
How and Where to Watch Discovery Plus:
Discovery+ is currently available in the U.S., and the U.K. via its partnership with Sky. The streamer also announced a multi-year deal with Vodaphone in Europe, which will bring the platform to several markets across Europe, including Germany, Turkey, Italy, Spain, Romania, Portugal, Greece, Czech Republic, Hungary, Ireland, and Iceland. No exact timetable has been revealed for the European rollout. In terms of accessibility, Discovery+ can be easily found on numerous streaming platforms and set-top-box devices:
In terms of pricing, Discovery+ falls in the lower-priced tier of streaming services at $4.99 per month with ads and a modest $6.99 for the ad-free version. For 55,000 episodes to binge at launch, we’d say that’s a pretty good deal considering streaming services like Apple TV+ launched with just a handful of shows for the same price. And while there is (at the time of writing) a 7-day free trial and even 12 months free for qualified Verizon Wireless customers, it would have been nice to see Discovery+ offer a limited “free tier” just like Peacock introduced back in August 2020.