October 20, 2021

Discovery+ Streaming Service Delivers Content from Discovery Channel, Food Network, HGTV, and Much More

To be honest, the last thing I need is another streaming service. Between the two…

Discovery+ Alton BrownTo
be honest, the last thing I need is another streaming service. Between the two
of us, my girlfriend and I already subscribe to Netflix, Amazon Prime Video,
Hulu, Disney+, Apple TV+, HBO Max, and a cable-TV-replacement service that
Spectrum offers for cord-cutters. Via Amazon, we have add-on channels from
Masterpiece, BritBox, and Acorn TV. Periodically we’ll add Starz, Showtime, or
Epix, when appealing new content is available. It’s hard to keep track of it
all, and those monthly fees really add up. So when Discovery+ launched at the
beginning of this year, I planned on letting it pass me by. Discovery Inc. has
become a powerhouse in the world of cable TV over the last two-and-a-half
decades, and a few of my favorite shows are produced under the Discovery
umbrella. But my Spectrum streaming subscription already gives me access to
some content from Discovery’s flagship networks, like HGTV and Food Network.
Surely that would be enough, right? I began to rethink this position a couple
of months ago when Alton Brown announced that new episodes of his show Good
Eats: The Return
would be available exclusively on Discovery+. The original
Good Eats show launched on Food Network when I was 16 years old, and
just beginning to cook for myself. Brown’s unique program aimed to combine a
Julia-Child-style cooking show with food-science and history education, all
strung together by wacky sketches and comedic narratives, inspired — according
to Alton himself — by Monty Python. I’ve been hooked since 1999, and have
watched every season of every iteration of Good Eats. (Aside from music
and audio, my other biggest hobby is baking. It’s entirely likely that I never
would have become so interested in cooking and baking if it hadn’t been for Good
Eats.
) And so, somewhat grudgingly, I decided to see what else Discovery+
had to offer. I’m certainly not above subscribing to a service to watch just
one show — I originally got HBO just to watch Game of Thrones — but I’m
not proud of that fact. Luckily, another of my favorite shows is also on offer:
a home renovation show called Restored, which follows a restoration
expert and architect named Brett Waterman, who looks like a cowboy and talks
like a surfer dude. In each episode, he meets new clients, and carefully
restores their old home to its former glory, with a focus on improving
functionality while staying respectful to the original materials and
architectural style that would have been present in the home when it was first
built. Restored airs on DIY Network — a channel that’s conspicuously
absent from my Spectrum package. If I wanted to get DIY (or the Cooking
Channel) via Spectrum, I’d have to pay a monthly surcharge that’s higher than
the cost of a Discovery+ subscription. Discovery+ is among the cheapest video
streaming services, costing just $4.99 per month with ads, or $6.99 per month,
ad-free. You can also purchase six months ($41.75) or a full year ($83.75) of
ad-free access to give as a gift. A free seven-day trial is available for new
users. Some Verizon customers get a FREE one year subscription to Discovery+.
If you’re a Verizon Wireless Unlimited subscriber, or if you upgrade your
current Verizon plan to Verizon Wireless Unlimited, you can take advantage of
this promotion. It’s also being offered to those who switch to Verizon
Unlimited from a different carrier, and to new Verizon Fios home internet
customers.

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

 — David Zaslav, Discovery CEO

The
two shows described above are probably worth $5 a month to me, but the
Discovery+ library contains a frankly baffling amount of content from several
categories, coming from a long list of popular cable networks. These include
Food Network, Cooking Channel, HGTV, DIY Network, TLC, Animal Planet, OWN (Oprah
Winfrey Network),
A&E, Lifetime, History Channel, Magnolia Network,
Travel Channel, and of course, Discovery. In
addition to watching new programming from these networks, Discovery+
subscribers can binge past seasons of fan-favorite TV shows, such as House
Hunters
, Iron Chef,
Diners  Drive-Ins and Dives, Worst Cooks In America, Extreme
Makeover: Home Edition
, The Best Thing I Ever Ate, Anthony
Bourdain: No Reservations
, Love It Or List It, Chopped, Salvage Dawgs, Deadliest Catch, Beat
Bobby Flay
, Dirty Jobs, Restaurant: Impossible, Supermarket
Stakeout
, and Say Yes To The Dress. Some headlining shows, including
Property Brothers and House Hunters International will have
dedicated, continuous channel streams. So if you want to watch nothing but Property
Brothers
24 hours a day, 7 days a week, you can. (You should also seek
professional help.) If you’re more of an animal lover, you might gravitate
toward Animal Planet
shows like Crikey! It’s the Irwins, My Cat From Hell, Pit
Bulls and Parolees
, Dr. Jeff: Rocky Mountain Vet, and Shark Week.
Discovery+ has also nabbed exclusive streaming rights to many award-winning BBC
Nature documentary series, including Planet Earth I & II, Blue
Planet
I & II, Dynasties, Frozen Planet, and more. (If David Attenborough is
narrating it, you know it’s going to be good.) New to American audiences is Judi Denchs Wild Borneo
Adventure
, which follows the
esteemed actress as she uncovers the “lush rain-forests, magical wildlife, and spectacular
coastlines
 of Malaysian Borneo.”

As
we have come to expect from any new streaming service, Discovery+ will
supplement its immense collection of existing content with a catalog of
original content, covering the lifestyle, reality TV, and documentary
categories. Here are just some of the original shows coming to Discovery+ this
year:

The
popular TLC reality show 90 Day Fiancé has 3 spinoffs on Discovery+. In 90
Day Bares All
, couples from the original 90 Day Fiancé show give candid interviews in which
they reveal uncensored,
behind-the-scenes stories that were too racy or scandalous for daytime cable
TV. In 90 Day Diaries, couples from the show film themselves, without a
crew, and without producers pulling any strings. The show is intended to offer
a more intimate, less dramatized look at the the couples’ lives. 90 Day
Journey
is a collection of limited series, each of which is a pared-down
version of the original show, following one couple from start to finish.

Discovery+ A Perfect Planet 

Sir
David Attenborough narrates a gorgeous new five-part documentary series called A
Perfect Planet
. Pieced together from over 3,000 hours of newly-shot
footage, the series tells “the story of Earth’s power and fragility
by examining the delicate balance of natural forces that shape our environment
and the living things that call it home. Filming took place over four years,
across 31 countries.

Mysterious
Planet
is another
five-part documentary series, narrated by Friends alumnus David Schwimmer. The series examines some of the
greatest mysteries in the natural world, and attempts to unlock the
evolutionary secrets that helped create the world’s most incredible species. In
this “epic journey to the ends of the Earth,” Schwimmer combines humor
with the awe and beauty of the natural world.

As
its title suggests, Bobby and Giada in Italy follows celebrity chefs
Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis
on a culinary tour of Italy. Wanting to explore the lifestyle, the culture, and
the best food that Italy has to offer, Flay calls on his friend Giada to be his personal guide. Having grown
up in Italy, Giada is the perfect person for the job. Together the chefs spend
over a month in Rome and Tuscany, engrossed in the history and traditions of
Italian cooking.

Luda
Can’t Cook
is a one-hour
program in which the hip-hop icon Ludacris
learns how to cook. In addition to being a rapper and actor, Ludacris has owned
more than one successful restaurant, but he doesn’t know how to cook. “I
absolutely love food and have always appreciated the art of cooking, but I can’
t lie — I have no idea what I’m doing in
the kitchen
,” Ludacris
said. “I’m on a mission to change that and master one cuisine at a time.”
In the first one-hour special, Ludacris learns how to make Indian food from the
celebrated chef Meherwan Irani.

Duff’s
Happy Fun Bake Time
is a
new show starring celebrity cake-maker Duff Goldman, along with a cast of
colorful puppets created by Jim Henson’s
Creature Shop. The six-episode series “goes beyond food rules and recipes to
discover how ingredients work together to create delicious dishes and desserts
.”
Goldman says that “cooking is absolutely fascinating and I wanted to make a
show that explained why things happen the way they do in the kitchen.
When I understand the science behind the food I make, I somehow feel more
connected to it, and I wanted to share that with everyone.”

In
Six Degrees with Mike Rowe, the host of Discovery Channel’s Dirty
Jobs
goes back in time to examine the ways in which the most significant
moments in history are interconnected. The show reveals how some of society’s “most
taken-for-granted
” events changed history. “I’m super excited to have a
new show on Discovery+, and delighted to announce that it doesn’t take place in
a sewer
,” Rowe said. If I can remember half of what I learned
while filming this remarkable series, I’ll be twice as smart as I ever was. And
if viewers have as much fun watching it, as I did making it, we’ll be
announcing Season 2 in no time!”

House
Hunters: Comedians on Couches Unfiltered
is a mouthful of a title, but the concept is simple enough.
Celebrity comedians watch classic episodes of House Hunters and
give unfiltered color commentary. Led by Dan Levy and Natasha Leggero, the
series features humorous observations and teasing ridicule from a rotating cast
of characters, including Seth Rogen, John Mulaney, Ali Wong, JB Smoove, Chelsea
Peretti, Witney Cummings, and Margaret Cho.

In
addition to new shows, Discovery+ will be home to several new documentary
films, including the following:

The Parachute Murder Plot tells the incredible story of Victoria
Cillier. Though her parachute failed to open,
she miraculously survived. As she tries to understand what has happened,
Cillier discovers that her parachute fiasco was an attempt by her husband to
murder her. And it wasn’t the first time he tried.

In
The Impossible Row, professional endurance athlete Colin O’Brady and his
crew of adventurers attempt to complete “the world’s first completely human-powered ocean row across The Drake
Passage, the most dangerous 600 miles of open ocean on Earth
.” The 6-man crew faces the iciest
waters in the world, where the Atlantic, Pacific, and Southern seas meet. High
winds, freezing temperatures, and 50-foot-high ocean swells stand between the
crew and the seven world records they hope to smash. Most consider it an
impossible mission. Can it be done?

P.S.
Burn This Later Please
has
its origins in a 60-year-old, secret
box of letters discovered in a Los Angeles storage unit in 2014. This
collection of letters led directors Michael Seligman and Jennifer Tiexiera on a
journey of discovery as they tracked down the men who wrote the letters in the
late 1950s and early ‘60s — and the men they were written about — all of whom
were key figures in New York’s drag scene. According to the filmmakers, the
documentary chronicles a unique perspective of gay life in midcentury NYC, and opens “a window into a forgotten world
where being yourself meant breaking the law, and where the penalties for ‘
masquerading’ as a woman were swift and severe.

Discovery+
will also feature new paranormal content
that is currently in development in conjunction with some yet-to-be-revealed
“big names” in the world of Horror film. Travel Channel has increasingly
embraced the paranormal in recent years, exploring so-called haunted locations in
long-running shows like Ghost Adventures and The Dead Files.
At launch, Discovery+ featured a two-hour Ghost Adventures spin-off
special called Ghost Adventures: Cecil Hotel, featuring the Los Angeles
hotel where Night Stalker Richard Ramirez was thought to have carried out some
of his grisly murders.

More Original Content and 55,000 TV Episodes!

More
original content will come from Group Nine Media digital providers like The
Dodo, NowThis, and Thrillist. This overview has only scratched the surface of
the Discovery+ library. I don’t think any other TV-centric streaming service
that I have used has this much content on offer (though to be fair, I haven’t
had a chance to check out Paramount+). There are reportedly more than 55,000 TV
episodes available. Even if the vast majority of the Discovery+ catalog doesn’t
interest you, there is probably a significant amount of content that you’d be
into. That said, there are a few areas where Discovery+ falls a bit short. For
example, although Discovery+ can be streamed on a wide variety of devices
(including computers, Android or iOS mobile devices, and media streamers from
Roku, Apple, Google, and Amazon), only certain Fire TV and Apple TV devices
support UHD (4K) resolution. If, like me, you’re a Roku user who loves watching
nature documentaries in pristine UHD, you’re out of luck. For now, at least,
1080p is as good as it gets on Roku’s Discovery+ channel. The same goes for
users of Google-branded streamers, Samsung smart TVs,
and Xbox consoles. Sony
PlayStation users have it even worse — there’s no Discovery+ app on the
Playstation at all. Discovery+ does not list any specifications for its audio
quality, and it’s safe to assume that Dolby Atmos is NOT supported at this
time. Average video and audio quality may be sufficient for watching Fixer
Upper
, but something like BBC’s Planet Earth series really deserves
to be experienced in the best possible quality. Of course, the average consumer
might not care about the last ounce of AV quality, but I know plenty of regular
folks who would be quite disappointed to discover that Discovery+ has no
parental controls. For all the great educational programming on the service,
there’s plenty of more grown-up (i.e., trashy) reality TV content that many
parents would rather keep away from their young kids. Lastly, you can’t
download episodes for offline viewing on mobile devices, as you can on many
other streaming services. That might be a major disappointment for someone who
wanted to zone out during a long flight while watching a House Hunters
marathon, or for someone who hoped to occupy a kid on a road trip by loading up
the iPad with episodes of Duff’s Happy Fun Bake Time.

 Discovery+ 2

Complaints
aside, Discovery+ clearly offers a tremendous library of content for a
reasonable price, and the service allows each subscriber to create up to 5
separate profiles, with four simultaneous streams. I hope that UHD support will
eventually come to more devices, but it’s hard to argue with the $4.99 price
($6.99 ad-free), when you consider the sheer number of cooking shows, home-improvement
shows, history documentaries, travel features, true-crime reports, nature
documentaries, and romance reality TV shows available, not to mention the
growing list of original content. It certainly beats paying $15 per month just
to watch Game of Thrones.