Scripted shows have been a staple of the streaming world for the past several years. But for those of us that have “cut the cord” from cable, it is perhaps those unscripted shows that we miss the most. Nothing quite beats vegging out on the couch while you watch a trashy reality show. In this Discovery Plus review, I will break down the pros and cons of their streaming service.
Discovery Plus provides a goldmine of reality shows, cooking shows, home improvement, dating shows, and the like. For those looking for that kind of programming, it's hard to be disappointed. That being said, there are some significant drawbacks to the service, too. Read on to find out more.
Take note! While Discovery Plus is available in countries across the world, this blog post is relevant to the U.S. version.
What is Discovery Plus?
Discovery Plus is the streaming service from Discovery, Inc., the company behind the famed Discovery Channel. While some may perceive their gradual transition from science docs to reality programs as evidence of Western civilization's decline, I will admit their shows are entertaining as heck. (Since we're on the subject, you can always check out CuriosityStream for cheap access to science and nature docs).
The service features content from channels owned by Discovery as well as some outside channels that partnered with them for Discovery Plus. Those include HGTV, Food Network, TLC, ID, OWN, TRVL Channel, Magnolia Network, Discovery, Planet Earth, Animal Planet, A&E, History, Lifetime, Sci, DIY Network, Cooking Channel, the dodo, Popsugar, Now This, Seeker, thrillist, Destination America, AHC, and Discovery Life.
Discovery Plus is solely focused on unscripted programming, You will not find any fictionalized drama shows. movies, or sitcoms on the service, even from networks like OWN or Lifetime.
What's On Discovery Plus?
Discovery Plus has both content from their various channel's libraries, as well as Discovery Plus Originals. Current season shows are a little hit and miss. Some appear on Discovery Plus the day after they air, others the week after, while others the end of the season.
The Discovery Plus Originals include spin-offs of some of their most popular shows as well as some standalone documentaries and docuseries. I counted at least ten (yes… ten!) individual spin-offs from 90 Day Fiancé. Food Network stars Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis have a show called Bobby and Giada in Italy. Chopped has a marijuana-themed spin-off called Chopped 420.
There's also a gardening competition show called Clipped. Besides that, it's a mixed bag that ranges from Meet the Merkats to Queen of Meth.
The back catalog features most (if not all) of the greatest hits you'd expect to see: Diners, Dine-Ins, and Drives; Flip or Flop; Little People, Big World; Deadliest Catch; Sister Wives; Cake Wars; Mythbusters; Naked and Afraid; Say Yes to the Dress; My 600 Lb Life; Pawn Stars; Dr. Pimple Popper; and, yes, 90 Day Fiancé.
Discovery Plus Price and Subscription Options
The pricing and Discovery Plus subscription options are fairly straightforward. There are two options.
The first membership costs $4.99/month and gives you access to all of the content on Discovery Plus BUT you will need to sit through ads. I found the ad breaks to be frequent and somewhat obnoxious. You'll see the same ad repeat several times in one show and the ad volume is often louder than the show itself.
The next membership option is $6.99/month and is ad-free. I highly recommend paying the extra two bucks to avoid the ads.
Besides the ads, both membership options are exactly the same with the same features. Both offer 7 day free trials. You can sign up for the trial here.
Verizon customers can also get the ad-free version of Discovery Plus free for 12 months with certain plans. See more details here.
Discovery Plus App and Features
I've had no problem with video playback on my Apple TV, iPhone, or laptop. I found the menus in the app to be a little too responsive, though. If I glide my thumb across the Apple TV remote too quickly, I've blazed past dozens of shows. If I move the cursor too fast on the desktop version of Discovery Plus, a series of windows expand and contract in a convoluted manner. That being said, I guess being fast is better than too slow.
As for the features, Discovery Plus allows you to create up to five profiles per account. You can also stream from four devices at once. Certain shows and documentaries, particularly nature docs, are available to stream in 4K on certain Apple TV or Amazon Fire TV devices.
On he downside, despite offering some kids content Discovery Plus doesn't have any parental controls. They also don't offer the ability to download shows to your mobile device for offline play. As stated before, certain current season shows and specials aren't immediately available on Discovery Plus, either.
Discovery Plus is available on a variety of mobile devices, smart TVs, and game consoles. You can see the full list here.
Discovery Plus Review Wrap-Up & Final Thoughts
Discovery Plus does one thing and does it well: provides a vast library of reality shows and docuseries in one streamlined package. What it doesn't do is replace Netflix, Hulu, or HBO Max. The scope of its programming is just too limited. Yet at the lower-than-average price point it makes for a nice companion to your Netflix subscription.
This may soon change, as HBO Max's parent company, WarnerMedia, is set to combine with Discovery Inc. sometime in 2022. Time will tell if Discovery Plus merges completely with HBO Max or remains it's own service that likely will be bundled together with its sibling streaming service in some way.
Until then, Discovery Plus remains the definitive way to stream Dr. Pimple Popper.
Shall I Stream It? As a companion to your main favorite streaming service it's a nice, affordable addition
Best for: Fans of Food Network, HGTV, TLC and Discovery shows