Discovery+, the new streaming subscription service from Discovery – which replaces their free service, dplus – went live today, with a big library of nature and lifestyle shows.
But don’t expect to watch it on your telly just yet, as most streaming devices are not supported at launch, unfortunately.
A free tier also exists on the new Discovery+ service, and you can watch it after you register on the new site.
The free tier lets you watch some of the channels – live and on-demand (with a 30-days catch-up window) – with advert breaks.
The channels that are currently available on the free tier are:
- Quest Red
- Food Network
These channels are also available for free on Freeview, but this will let you watch some of the programmes on-demand, as the old dplus service did.
The paid tier, called “Entertainment Pass”, costs £4.99/month, or £29.99 for 12 months, as a limited-time launch deal – the regular annual price will later convert to £49.99/year.
New users can get a 14-days free trial to the premium tier, which will then renew automatically – so remember to cancel if you don’t want to keep it.
Some of the premium channels, which are available live and on-demand (again with a 30-days catch-up window) on the paid tier, are:
- Discovery Channel
- Animal Planet
- Discovery Science
- Discovery Turbo
- Discovery History
In addition, Discovery is promising “Discovery+ Originals” that won’t be available anywhere else, like Prince Andrew, Maxwell & Epstein, Faking It: Jimmy Savile and Salvage Hunters: Design Classics.
Sky Q customers will be able to access Discovery+ for 12 months at no extra cost, but when the year is up, you will need to add it to your regular Sky bill.
It’s also worth mentioning that the Discovery Channel is also available as a premium Amazon Prime Video channel for £4.99/month (with a 7-days free trial) – but it only has the fraction of the content offered by Discovery+. It does, however, work on every device with a Prime Video app.
How Can I Watch Discovery+?
At the moment, the Discovery+ app is only available for mobile phones (both iOS and Android), tablets, and a small number of Android-TV based TVs.
It also supports Google’s Chromecast, so you can at least cast the content to your TV that way.
Launching a new streaming service in this day and age without most users being able to watch it on their TV is a disappointment.
But Discovery says that the new service is expected to be rolled out on additional devices and platforms in 2020 and 2021.
First Look At Discovery+
On the desktop, Discovery+ has a clean, easy-to-use interface which looks similar to most of the streaming services you’ve seen before (why change something that works?)
The main screen doesn’t make a distinction between free and paid content, so you might try to play something and then get a message that you need to upgrade.
There is, however, a useful “Free” tab that curates all the free content in one place.
On the mobile app, you won’t find a prominent “Free” tab, something which already brought on a few angry comments on the Google Play Store, from users who discovered they needed to pay for a show on the main app’s screen.
But there’s a “Free” ribbon on free shows, and you can also find a “Free” category, which again curates the free content.
Once you register (which is required even for the free tier), you can mark shows as “Favourites”, and there’s also a “Continue Watching” section, if you start to watch something and don’t finish it in one go.
The content is what you would expect from the Discovery brand – Animals and Nature, Health, Home and Property, Sports, True Crime and more.
On the free tier, there are pre-roll adverts both on the live channels and the on-demand content, and advert breaks throughout the programme.
Picture quality on the content I sampled was good (all in Full HD, but not 4K). Subtitles are available for some of the content, but not all.
All in all, this is an interesting new launch, with good content (if you’re interested in these niches), and a disappointing number of supported devices.
Whether people would be willing to pay for yet another streaming service – remains to be seen.