Hands On: discovery+ Streaming App

Discovery+ launched at the beginning of January with a massive amount of content from over 25 niche reality channels— from Discovery Channel to Food Network, Lifetime, TLC HGTV, A&E, and many more. With 55,000 episodes to choose from, you are bound to find something to watch. I've been checking it out for the past couple of weeks and find myself regularly going back and streaming an episode or two.

Although I've never been a devoted fan of these programs, occasionally, while channel surfing on DISH, I'd catch a few minutes of My 600 LB Life or Strange Addictions. With all of these titles available on-demand, it still draws me in, and I continue to watch with a train-wreck curiosity.

There is a non-fiction show to suit most any taste—from history buffs and true crime fans to 90 Day Fiance and Ghost Adventures followers. There are plenty of normal shows——makeover and DIY, travel, food, nature, and wildlife— to go with the paranormal.

Unlike streaming services such as CBS All Access that make current programming available and have live TV feeds, discovery+ does not include all the newest episodes until after the season is completed on linear TV. While its focus is on a library of past favorites, new discovery+ originals are exclusive to the service. Bobby and Giada in Italy combines food and travel hosted by famous chefs Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentis.

Six Degrees with Mike Rowe is another original series exclusively on discovery +. Each episode connects a current invention or trend to past events. The first episode is "How Hungry Civil War Soldiers Produced This Show." Starting with Union soldiers needing better food to prevent food-borne illness, the show follows how this influenced transportation and storage of meat, continues by connecting people and businesses, and ends with an important invention required to stream from the internet. It's a combination of history and science facts you've likely never known.

The discovery + originals can be easily found by clicking its icon in the home menu. Channel icons are displayed near the top of the home screen. There are over 25 channels—HGTV(House and Garden), food network, TLC (The Learning Channel), ID (Investigation Discovery), OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network), Trvl (Travel) Channel, Discovery, A&E (Arts & Entertainment), History, Lifetime, SCI (Science Channel), DIY Network, Cooking Channel, AHC (American Heroes Channel), Destination America, Discovery Life (medical shows), Animal Planet, Planet Earth, and internet channels— The Dodo, Pop Sugar (workout videos), Now This, Seeker, Thrillist.

You'll find home makeover shows on HGTV and food-related titles on the Food Network and the Cooking Channel. Oddly, the Travel channel has more ghost, monster, and paranormal programming than shows about destinations. 90 Day Fiance can be found on TLC along with Breaking Amish, Return to Amish, and Amish Haunting. Amish Renogades is on the DIY channel. Amish Mafia, available on the Discovery Channel, caught my eye. Yes, there is a group of men that strong-arm people in an effort to protect the Amish both from those breaking the rules within the community and those outsiders who have harmed the Amish.

On each network there is a “Every Episode Ever” category. Some examples include Good Eats, available on the food network, and Who the Bleep Did I Marry on ID. Naked and Afraid and Mythbusters are a couple of the legacy shows on Discovery Channel.

Crikey! It's the Irwins where the late Steve Irwin's family continues his animal education work, is on the Animal Planet channel. I got hooked on the Too Cute series about baby animals, that tells stories of puppies, kittens, bears, bunnies, and baboons. For those who need more cuteness after the three seasons of animals, there is Babies, Babies, Babies on TLC.

The Planet Earth channel has BBC content. The programming centers around wildlife, conservation, David Attenborough series, science, and travelogues. These shows are well written and produced, and beautifully shot. Most of the wildlife titles are available in 4K and can be found in a category displayed on the channel's page.

There is no submenu for 4K content, but I could search for "UHD," and it displayed a list of 4K shows. Along with the Planet Earth series, there are a couple of shows on Animal Planet and American Titans on AHC. There is no indication that a show is 4K on its series or episode pages.

With so much content, the search feature is beneficial as it displays both series and episode results. Searching for “salmon” brought up episodes of Good Eats,Tyler’s Ultimate and more with salmon recipes and cooking tips.

You can browse for shows either by channel or category— Relationships, True Crime, Home, Food, Paranormal and Unexplained, Lifestyle, Adventures and Exploration, Documentaries, Nature and Animals, Science and Technology, and Automotive. Each category brings up a list of shows from across all discovery+ channels. There is also a tab to browse trending shows or display titles alphabetically.

Playback controls are less than ideal. There are no thumbnails while using the scrub bar or fast-forwarding and rewinding. It isn't possible to navigate to a specific scene or to see where you are when rewinding.

With over 2500 current (2020) and past shows, the price is reasonable. It's $5 per month with ads and $7 for a commercial-free subscription.

The discovery+ service is more likely an add-on to services like Netflix, Hulu, or Disney + than a replacement. Still, for cord-cutters, it offers a huge library of reality shows to round out your streaming entertainment subscriptions.

John_Werner's picture

I often get upset when I get my monthly bill from Uverse. I'm not complaining about Uverse either, though I can certainly go on about artifacts and too slow and interupted internet. No what I get mad about is the fact that about 80% of the channels i get are channels in which I must suffer commercials. That brings me to th Discovery channels which quite a few have at least a few shows I like to watch. What I detest is the commercials. They are way over what I consider reasonable in number and frequency. An hour show is actually about 39 minutes which means the commercial breaks are a full 20-minutes. Add in the annoying recaps that one must suffer through as the program resumes and I'd say the content of that hour show, at least of worth, is quite likely about half of an hour. So...$2 is really worth it to eliminate the commercials even if I doubt it eliminates the recaps (that would require a re-edit of the source material in order to restore some "cuttings" to make up recap times). Back to the bills we pay for cable. The high cost of cable is really irritating as one has to watch an unreasonable amount of commercials. For the first twenty years of my life we watched free TV that was subsidized by commercials. I'd be inclined to think we've pretty much been duped because we all to readily pay for what is in effect, commercial TV. Ahh, venting here is nice!

Nabeet's picture

Looks rather interesting, perhaps I`ll try it.