The Science Channel delivers content from the science of How the Universe Works to the engineering of Building Giants. It’s available through just about every satellite and cable service. That doesn’t mean, however, that cord-cutters have to miss out. Here are four options that will let you watch the Science Channel without cable.

Internet TV Services

Internet TV services are a big reason why cable companies are losing subscribers. By reproducing the cable experience with live streams over the internet, these services can charge a fraction of what you pay for cable.

Of the seven most popular internet TV services, only the three we’ll talk about below carry the Science Channel. At this time you won’t find the Science Channel on YouTube TV, Sling TV, Hulu with Live TV or fuboTV. The newly introduced AT&T Watch TV channel also does not have The Science Channel.

Philo

 

Philo streaming TV
Source: Philo

Philo burst onto the scene at the end of 2017 with a revolutionary offer: get 43 channels for only $16 per month. Even better, Philo does not require a credit card up front. Just give them your mobile number and you can start a seven-day free trial right away.

It almost sounds too good to be true, right?

 Package 1Package 2
Price$16$20
Channels4355
Simultaneous Streams33
Fire TV SupportNoNo
Roku SupportYesYes
Sign Up7-DAY FREE TRIAL7-DAY FREE TRIAL

Of course, there are some compromises. The way Philo gets to that low price is by not offering the most expensive networks. You won’t find any of the sports networks on Philo. You also won’t get any of the national broadcast channels — or their local stations.

Philo’s focus is on lifestyle, information and entertainment channels like the Science Channel, HGTV, the Food Network and Lifetime. The “information” bracket doesn’t include the cable news networks. The only news channel is BBC World News.

For a mere $20 per month, you can expand your Philo channel lineup to 53 channels. The Cooking Channel, BET Her and AHC are among the extra channels you’ll get.

A complementary service

Philo includes a cloud DVR that lets you record an unlimited number of shows. The recordings automatically disappear after thirty days. Philo also lets you stream to as many as three devices at a time.

Philo Shortcode

 

And while Philo used to be somewhat lacking when it came to devices support, the company has come a long way. Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV are now supported.

  • Living room devices: Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV
  • Smart TVs and Blu-ray players: None.
  • Mobile devices and tablets: iOS, Android (through the Chrome browser)
  • Game consoles: None.
  • Desktop browsers: Chrome, Edge, Firefox and Safari.

Philo has been popular with people who get their local TV the old fashioned way through an over-the-air antenna. Others choose a second subscription to YouTube TV which has a complementary channel lineup – and local TV support.

DirecTV Now

DirecTV Now channels galore
Source: DirecTV Now

DirecTV Now is the second most popular internet TV service in America. Over the past two years, more than 1.2 million people decided DirecTV Now’s channel selection and pricing made it their best alternative to cable.

Subscribing to DirecTV Now is straightforward thanks to the service’s bundled plans. That sounds a lot like cable, but DirecTV Now’s pricing is much lower. There is one catch, however, for fans of the Science Channel. The network is not available in DirecTV Now’s entry-level “Live a Little” plan. You’ll have to pay at least $50 per month for the “Just Right” plan.

  • Live A Little – 65+ channels, $40/month
  • Just Right – 85+ channels, $55/month
  • Go Big – 105+ channels, $65/month
  • Gotta Have It – 125+ channels, $75/month
 Live a LittleJust RightGo BigGotta Have It
Price$35/mo.$50/mo.$60/mo.$70/mo.
Channels60+80+100+120+
Simultaneous Streams2222
ESPNYesYesYesYes
Fire TV SupportYesYesYesYes
Roku SupportYesYesYesYes
Special OffersFREE FIRE TV DEALFREE FIRE TV DEALFREE FIRE TV DEALFREE FIRE TV DEAL

You can get an even sweeter deal if you pay for several months of service. For more than a year, new subscribers who agreed to pay for the first few months in advance got a free streaming device. The specific offer changes every few months, but DirecTV Now has given away various Roku devices, Amazon Fire TV devices and Apple TVs.

Shortcode TV Subscription Desktop Directv black 700px

 

In addition to its live TV service, every DirecTV Now subscription includes a rotating catalog of on-demand TV shows and movies. With more than 25,000 titles, DirecTV Now’s on-demand catalog is second only to Hulu.

A work in progress

If DirecTV Now has a downside, it’s the lack of features compared to competing services. The DVR only provides you with 20 hours of storage. You can only stream to, at most, two devices at a time, unless you pay an extra $5 per month fee. DirecTV Now’s stable of supported platforms also lags behind its competitors to some extent, with no gaming consoles supported.

  • Living room devices: Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast and Roku.
  • Smart TVs and Blu-ray players: None.
  • Mobile devices and tablets: Android and iOS.
  • Game consoles: None.
  • Desktop browsers: Chrome and Safari.

On the bright side, though, support for 4K ultra high-definition video streams is also in the works, so DirecTV Now subscribers can look forward to getting select programs in Ultra HD in the future.

PlayStation Vue

PlayStation Vue has TLC
Source: PlayStation Vue

Sony’s internet TV service, PlayStation Vue, has a channel lineup that’s competitive with DirecTV Now, above-average features and competitive pricing.

Even better for fans of the Science Channel, PlayStation Vue is the only internet TV service that the Science Channel treats as a TV provider. Just use your PlayStation Vue credentials to sign into sciencechannel.com or the Science Channel app. That will unlock all of the live and on-demand content.

PlayStation Vue structures its subscription plans much like DirecTV Now. The entry-level “Access” plan includes the Science Channel, making PlayStation Vue a little cheaper.

  • Access – 45 channels, $45/month
  • Core – 60 channels, $50/month
  • Elite – 84 channels, $60/month
  • Ultra – All Elite channels plus HBO/Showtime, $80/month

Family-friendly features

Every PlayStation Vue subscription includes the same features. The cloud DVR lets you record an unlimited number of programs for up to twenty-eight days.

PlayStation Vue’s support for as many as five devices at a time means fewer family arguments over who gets to be streaming. Gadget-friendly households will also appreciate how many streaming platforms PlayStation Vue supports:

  • Living room devices: Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast and Roku.
  • Smart TVs and Blu-ray players: None (not even Sony’s).
  • Mobile devices and tablets: Android, Amazon Fire Tablets and iOS.
  • Game consoles: PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4.
  • Desktop browsers: Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Microsoft Edge.

Two of the PlayStation Vue apps support voice commands. The Amazon Fire TV app includes skills for Alexa that let you change channels and control playback. The Android TV app supports Google Assistant. You can choose a specific program and start or pause playback.

What’s on the Science Channel?

Rebooted Mythbusters on Science Channel
Source: Science Channel

The Science Channel has produced popular science content for more than two decades. Over the past year, though, the network’s fact-based programming has brought it ratings success. The Science Channel kicked off 2018 with its highest ratings yet. The launch of five new or returning series brought record numbers of Millennials and GenX-ers to the network.

How the Universe Works

Now in its sixth season, this astronomy-focused series explains everything from the Big Bang to the heat death of the Universe. How the Universe Works host Mike Rowe joins experts in astrophysics and planetary science to bring cosmic events down to Earth.

This season’s first two episodes were free to watch at the time of publication. Learn how astronomers study invisible black holes. Or find out how Tatooine-like planets exist between two stars.

Mega Machines

Aspiring engineers and gearheads alike flocked to the premiere of Mega Machines. The ten-part series dives deep into some of the most extreme machines on the planet, from superbikes to bullet trains.

Unlocked episodes included a visit to Russia’s Antonov 124, the largest production aircraft in the world.

Building Giants

Over the course of eight episodes, Building Giants looks at marvels of architecture on the land and on the sea.

The premiere episode tours the $1.4 billion Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. Unlike any other stadium, its retractable roof has an amazingly complex six-petal design.

Mythbusters

In 2017, the Science Channel’s highly-rated reality show Mythbusters: The Search discovered new hosts for the rebooted Mythbusters. The new show has taken on a kinder, gentler, more Millennial-friendly tone. But it still has plenty of explosions and busted myths.

Stream from the Science Channel

Science Channel app for iOS
Source: Flixed.io

Whether through the Science Channel’s website or the Science Channel Go app, you can access the network’s live streams and on-demand content. For on-going programs, that content is limited to the current season. You can still watch archival episodes of cancelled series on demand.

TV Everywhere

Like every other cable network, the Science Channel won’t let you watch all of its available content without a paid TV provider. The TV industry calls this system “TV Everywhere”.

In theory, TV Everywhere should be a single list of TV providers whose customers can access online and in-app content. In practice, each network cuts its own deals with each TV provider. That means the list of TV providers varies from network to network and from app to app.

The Science Channel is part of Discovery Communications which is not very friendly to cord-cutters. Most of the internet TV services are not on Discovery’s list. To be fair, some major cable and satellite companies are not on Discovery’s list either.

As a result, PlayStation Vue is the only internet TV service that the Science Channel accepts.

This could soon change. Discovery Communications is merging with Scripps Networks, the home of HGTV and Travel Channel. Once the merger goes through, the new leadership may take a different approach.

Device support

The Science Channel has good support for streaming platforms. The only notable exceptions are Android TV and the PlayStation.

  • Living room devices: Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast and Roku.
  • Smart TVs and Blu-ray players: None.
  • Mobile devices and tablets: Android, Amazon Fire Tablets and iOS.
  • Game consoles: Xbox One.
  • Desktop browsers: Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer and Safari.

The Science Channel does qualify its Android support by specifying the Galaxy S4 and later models of Samsung smartphones. Whether that means owners of other Android-based smartphones may run into issues is an open question.

What people say about Science Channel Go

Science Channel Go gets middling-to-decent scores, ranging from 3.4 stars on Amazon to 4.0 stars in the Roku Channel Store. Customers who get the app working praise it for the content.

Criticism falls into two familiar camps: ads and access.

The network’s live stream isn’t the issue, as it has the same ads you would see on cable. The experience with on-demand video, on the other hand, drives people crazy. Many negative reviews say Science Channel Go serves up as many as four minutes of advertising for every five minutes of content.

As with all on-demand video services, the same ad tends to appear in each break. It’s little wonder you see reviews complaining about dozens of ads for Dixie cups or Gummi Bears.

Another source of negative reviews are the people whose TV providers aren’t on Science Channel Go’s list. They aren’t just cord-cutters either. Many of the negative reviews come from subscribers to Dish Networks and Verizon FiOS. Neither of those major TV providers is on the Science Channel’s TV Everywhere list.

Best Option: PlayStation Vue

PlayStation Vue offers the best overall deal if you’re a fan of the Science Channel. You can choose the most affordable subscription plan and get all of the industry-leading features PlayStation Vue offers. You also get full access to Science Channel Go and the Science Channel’s website.

However, with the addition of a DVR and the option to add another stream, DirecTV Now is a much more attractive choice in 2018, and a reasonable alternative. You still won’t get support for TV Everywhere, though.

Most Affordable Option: Philo

It’s hard to argue with Philo’s $16-per-month price. If you use a traditional TV antenna to get your local and national TV stations, Philo supplements that content nicely, and the new platforms added in 2018 make this streaming service an even better deal.