Thrilling news for BT TV fans – your streaming world just got bigger: Discovery+, the streaming service that provides a mix of lifestyle, factual, and sports content, is now part of all BT TV subscriptions at no additional charge.
Previously, only BT TV Sports subscribers had free access to Discovery+ as part of their package.
The expansion of the service to include all BT TV subscription tiers, such as Entertainment and Big Entertainment, marks a significant shift in the company’s offerings.
Naturally, there are a few caveats, the main one being that BT Entertainment subscribers will only be getting the Discovery+ Entertainment plan, WITHOUT the Sports tier – so they won’t be getting Eurosport or the upcoming TNT Sports (see below for full details).
Ironically, while the Discovery+ app is available on most streaming devices and Smart TVs in the UK – it’s STILL not supported on the BT TV 4K Pro box – so customers will have to find other ways to use the app.
What Is Discovery+?
Discovery+ is a streaming service that launched in 2020 in the UK, replacing Discovery’s Dplay service (which was totally free), with a combined offering of both free and “premium” channels.
The free (for everyone) tier on Discovery+ includes the streaming version of several Freeview channels, such as Quest, Really, HGTV and others, while the paid tiers add additional live premium channels, along with their on-demand content – Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, TLC and more.
Some of the popular shows you’ll find on Discovery+ include 90 Day Fiance, Gold Rush, Deadliest Catch and many others.
Discovery+ currently has two premium tiers:
The Entertainment Tier, which includes everything from Discovery+ EXCEPT for sports, normally costs £3.99/month (or £39.99/year) – and it also includes adverts.
On July 18, 2023, a third tier will be added to Discovery+, for TNT Sports.
TNT Sports is the new name for BT Sport – a joint venture that was created following a merger between BT Sport and Discovery+.
BT’s TV Platform Explained
The 4K BT TV Pro box is a 4K/HDR YouView-based device with streaming apps and plenty of storage for Freeview recordings.
It supports Dolby Atmos audio, has 4 tuners (so you can record up to three shows on separate channels and watch a fourth), 1TB of storage, a Bluetooth remote and both WiFi and Ethernet connectivity.
The BT TV Box Pro also supports quite a few streaming apps – Netflix, Amazon’s Prime Video, NOW, BT Sport, BT Player, Milkshake and more, as well as all the standard catch-up streaming apps – BBC iPlayer, ITVX, All4, My5, UKTV Play, S4C, STV Player and BBC Sounds.
As mentioned, however, even though BT TV subscribers now get Discovery+ for free – BT’s own box doesn’t support the Discovery+ app – though it will supposedly be added in the near future.
In addition to the streaming apps, you can use BT’s box to watch many (but not all) Freeview channels without an aerial – and even record programmes from those channels to its internal hard drive, something both Sky Glass / Sky Stream and Virgin’s Stream Box can’t do.
For those who want to watch in additional rooms – BT also offers the BT TV Mini Box, which includes streaming apps and the ability to stream Freeview channels via broadband. But the Mini box doesn’t have any recording capabilities.
BT’s “Flexible” TV packages are attached to BT’s broadband plans (you can’t get BT TV on its own, except for BT Sport – soon to become TNT Sports – which is also available as a monthly pass and on Sky and Virgin Media).
The BT TV packages, along with BT’s broadband, come with a 24-months contract – so in practice, they’re not very “flexible” – not as flexible as standard streaming services, at least.
The flexible part comes from being able to change your TV package every 30 days – switch from Entertainment to Sports, cancel one and add another, or just get the VIP package which includes everything (but you can’t cancel the TV contract completely until your contract is up).
In addition to seamlessly switching between packages, customers can also attach stand-alone add-ons to their packages – such as Sky’s NOW streaming plans, Amazon’s Prime Video, and more – or upgrade to Netflix’s higher tiers (to get 4K content, for example).
How To Get Discovery+ Free On BT TV
As mentioned, Discovery+ has two plans – Entertainment, and Entertainment + Sports.
Which plan you get at no extra cost – depends on your BT TV plan.
If you subscribe to any of BT TV’s Sports plans – Sport, Big Sport or VIP (which includes everything) – you’ll get the Discovery+ Entertainment + Sport plan.
And, since you’re also subscribing to BT Sport – you will also be getting the third, premium tier on Discovery+, which includes the streaming version of TNT Sports.
If you subscribe to any of BT TV’s Entertainment Plans (‘Entertainment’ or ‘Big Entertainment’) – you’ll be getting Discovery+ Entertainment, without the sports content, at no extra cost.
The free Discovery+ subscription will continue as long as you keep being a BT TV subscriber.
To get the free Discovery+ subscription, you need to activate the subscription via your BT account, and then download the Discovery+ app to a supported device.
Also note that if you already have an existing Discovery+ subscription, you may end up with two – so be sure to cancel your standalone subscription once you get the free one via BT TV.
How Can I Watch Discovery+?
Discovery+ is a streaming-only app, therefore it relies on your broadband connection.
Discovery+ is available on most streaming devices sold in the UK, including:
- Amazon Fire TV
- Google Chromecast
- Android / iPhone
- Apple TV
- Samsung Smart TVs
- Sky Q
- Sky Glass / Sky Stream
- Major web browsers
The app is NOT available on the BT TV boxes, though BT is expecting to launch it on the TV 4K Box Pro and the TV Box Mini soon.