If you’ve been wondering what CuriosityStream is, what kind of content you can watch, and if it’s right for you, you’re not alone. In this CuriosityStream review, we’ll take a deep look at this nonfiction and documentary-focused VOD (Video On Demand) streaming service, and help you decide if it’s a good option for you.
What Is CuriosityStream?
CuriosityStream can be thought of as a VOD alternative to traditional cable channels like Animal Planet, History, Discovery, The Travel Channel, and Science Channel. It focuses on nonfiction, educational content about science, nature, and other such topics.
As a matter of fact, the founder of CuriosityStream is John S. Hendricks, who originally founded The Discovery Channel. You can think of this service as a successor to that channel, built for the on-demand streaming world.
It was first launched in 2015, but has had some trouble attracting subscribers since then, which led to a reduction in its price in late 2018. Now, it’s so inexpensive that it’s definitely one of the best options for cord-cutters who are interested in nonfiction content and documentaries about science and the natural world.
A CuriosityStream 60-second summary
CuriosityStream is not for everyone. If you’re not interested in educational, nonfiction content and documentaries, you’re probably not going to like it. However, if you are a big fan of cable channels like Discovery and Animal Planet and have been looking for a VOD alternative, it’s a great option.
CuriosityStream is easy to use, has great device support, and is very affordable. For these reasons, it’s a great option for those who are interested in its unique – though somewhat small – library of content.
The pros and cons of CuriosityStream
Like any streaming service, CuriosityStream has its good points and its weaknesses. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons we found during our CuriosityStream review now.
- Extremely affordable – CuriosityStream is incredibly affordable, especially compared to most other VOD services like Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and Netflix which are all nearly triple the price of this service. If you’re on a tight budget, this is definitely a good choice for you.
- High-quality of original and licensed content – CuriosityStream has built up a library totalling about 1,800 original and licensed titles such as Stephen Hawking’s Favorite Places, Deep Time History, and Miniverse.
- Great device support – CuriosityStream supports just about every device you could want to use to watch it, so you won’t have any issues with using your favorite streaming devices
- Limited 4K support – A 4K plan is available, but it’s quite expensive, and most titles from CuriosityStream are not yet available in 4K, though its library has expanded throughout 2022 to add a lot more 4K content.
- Smaller overall content library – It may have more than 1,800 titles, but the overall size of the CuriosityStream content library is quite small compared to some competitors like Hulu or Netflix. Of course, the low monthly price helps make up for this.
- It won’t be your only streaming service – Chances are, you’ll need to augment your CuriosityStream subscription with a subscription to another service like Amazon Prime Video or Netflix, unless you exclusively watch informative, educational content and are not interested in top movies or TV shows.
How's CuriosityStream's content library?
The CuriosityStream content library is quite sizeable, with more than 1,800 different titles available. It’s fairly diverse, but all of the shows you’ll find on this service are of an educational, non-fiction nature. Its four primary content categories are:
- Science – Biology, Earth, Genetics, Medicine, Mind, Nature, Physics, Space
- Technology – Artificial Intelligence, Communications, Energy, Engineering, Nanotechnology, Privacy & Security, Social Web, Transportation
- Civilization – Business, Conflict, Democracy, Economics, Entrepreneurship, History, Politics, Society
- Human Spirit – Art, Character & Values, Creativity, Dramatic & Performing Arts, Health & Wellness, Literature, Music, Philosophy
It has plenty of original content, including the Emmy award-winning Stephen Hawking’s Favorite Places, Miniverse with Chris Hadfield, Deep Time History with Jonathan Markley, and David Attenborough’s Light On Earth.
It also licenses content from the BBC and several other production houses. These licensed shows include The Secret Life Of Dogs, The Hawking Paradox and Sex, Death And The Meaning Of Life.
Overall, the content is good if you’re interested in this type of niche programming, but you’ll have to look elsewhere for top TV shows, movies and other such content. CuriosityStream only has educational content.
Is CuriosityStream affordable?
CuriosityStream has two different plans to choose from: Their standard plan and premium 4K plan.
CuriosityStream is one of the cheapest streaming services out there. Even if you only watch it occasionally, you can get your money’s worth.
It costs more than triple the cost of a base-tier subscription to get CuriosityStream 4K. We’re not sure why this is so much more expensive than the base-tier subscription.
Many CuriosityStream shows don't even support 4K, though this is improving, but you still wont' always get 4K support. Our recommendation is to avoid this plan and stick with the basic CuriosityStream plan unless you’re totally committed to watching as much 4K content as possible.
How's the stream quality?
During our CuriosityStream review, we found that the overall quality of CuriosityStream is really good. We had no issues streaming either 1080p or 4K on TVs, and we tried streaming on a Mac, PC, and an Android device to check the reliability and stream quality of CuriosityStream.
All of our testing was done with a 100 Mbps internet connection. CuriosityStream recommends that you have a connection of at least 5 Mbps for HD, and at least 25 Mbps for Ultra HD or 4K streaming. If you have a slower connection, you may experience buffering, service interruptions, and artifacting while watching your shows.
Can I watch CuriosityStream on my devices?
CuriosityStream supports a wide variety of devices, including Mac and PC desktops and laptops, Amazon Fire TV and Kindle Fire, Roku and Roku Streaming Stick, Google Chromecast, Android and iOS, Apple TV, Xbox One, and Smart TVs from Samsung, LG, Sony/Android TV and VIZIO. You can learn more below, or click here for more details.
CuriosityStream on Vizio
TV-maker Vizio and documentary streaming service CuriosityStream have joined forces to turn American living rooms into knowledge showcases.
CuriosityStream’s Chief Distribution Officer Clint Stinchcomb explained the move. “Ease of use is a key reason viewers are gravitating to smart TVs, and the VIZIO SmartCast TV platform excels at giving consumers direct access to the entertainment they want, all in one place.”
CuriosityStream’s app is now part of the Vizio SmartCast system. That means any Vizio P-series, M-series or E-series television made from 2016 on can get CuriosityStream’s unique content.
Documentaries are also great ways to show off a 4K Ultra-HD television. Spectacular images of lush jungles, sea creatures and foreign lands pop off the screen.
CuriosityStream on Roku
Currently, you can watch CuriosityStream on Roku with any Roku 2, 3 or 4 device, as well as all Roku TVs and the Roku Streaming Stick 8.1+. Download it from the Roku Channel Store, and you can start watching right away.
CuriosityStream on Amazon Fire TV Stick
CuriosityStream is supported on the Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick (2014+). You can download it from the Amazon App Store and start streaming right away.
CuriosityStream on Apple TV
You can only watch CuriosityStream on Apple TV 3rd gen via Airplay, which is a bit inconvenient. But given that this model was introduced in 2012, it’s not surprising. You can watch on the newer 4th gen Apple TV and 4K Apple TV using the CuriosityStream app from the App Store.
CuriosityStream on iPhones and iPads
CuriosityStream is available on both iPhone and iPad, and supports all iOS devices using iOS 11 or newer. The CuriosityStream app on the App Store has a rating of 4.7 stars out of 5, which is really good, and users report consistent stream quality and a good overall user experience.
CuriosityStream on Android Phones and Tablets
CuriosityStream supports all Android phones and tablets which are running Android 4.1 or higher. The CuriosityStream App on the Google Play Store has a rating of 3.8 stars out of 5, which is much lower than its App Store counterpart. Most of the criticism is based around an outdated design, though, rather than issues with functionality.
Can I watch CuriosityStream offline?
You can download videos for offline viewing using CuriosityStream for both iOS and Android. Just select the video you want to watch and download it, and you can watch it on-the-go. This makes it easier to watch videos if you have a spotty internet connection, or if you’re on an airplane or anywhere else where you don’t have access to WiFi.
How is the CuriosityStream customer support?
There are a few different ways you can get help with any issues you may be having with CuriosityStream. Let’s take a look at the CuriosityStream customer support options below.
CuriosityStream has self-help customer support
If you’ve just got a basic question you want to be answered, you can click the blue Help button on its homepage, as seen in the above screenshot. Then, a small chat window will open up, and you can enter a keyword about your issue to see if there’s an answer for your problem.
If you can’t find an answer, just like “Leave us a message.” Then, you’ll enter your personal details and a question for CuriosityStream, and they’ll get back to you – usually within a day.
The CuriosityStream help page
CuriosityStream also has a help page, which can be accessed here. Its categories include:
- Getting started, which helps answer some common FAQs and get you set up with CuriosityStream.
- Streaming, which will help you get information about streaming connections, using 4K and setting up your favorite devices.
- Account & billing, where you can get answers about common billing questions, policies and more.
- Resolve issues, which is intended as a general troubleshooting section where you can get help if something is going wrong.
CuriosityStream email and phone support
If you can’t find answers to your issues with any of the above methods, you can also give CuriosityStream a call at 1-844-778-8999. Monday through Friday, you can talk with a live representative from 9am to 9pm. On Saturday and Sunday, these hours are limited to 9am to 6pm.
You can also send email queries to [email protected] for any other issues you may be having.
How do I cancel CuriosityStream?
Canceling CuriosityStream is easy, and takes just a few clicks. Here’s what you’ll need to do. First, head to the CuriosityStream website and sign in, then click My Account from the drop-down menu.
Next, click Cancel plan from the Plan Details section.
A window will appear asking why you wish to cancel. Choose whatever reason you want, and click Cancel Subscription.
Then, once you’ve cancelled your account, a confirmation box will appear.
That’s it. In just a few clicks, you can cancel your CuriosityStream subscription.
What's CuriosityStream's refund policy?
CuriosityStream has no refund policy. Once you purchase a monthly or yearly subscription, you can cancel it at any time. However, you can’t get a refund for your money. If you decide to cancel CuriosityStream, your subscription will remain valid up until the end of your current subscription term. There is no way to get your money back.
Our takeaway: CuriosityStream is a great niche streamer
In this CuriosityStream review, we've found that it's a good streaming option for those who are interested in its unique content. It’s quite niche—and has none of the top movies or TV shows offered by the other streamers—but if you’re a fan of educational content and documentaries, there’s a lot to like about this low-cost streaming service.
Kelsey Reynolds • Editor
Kelsey is a content strategist based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Minnesota. Kelsey was drawn to working at Flixed because the team was so open, motivated, and curious. She most enjoys thinking about how to blend programmatic and editorial content to answer readers’ questions as completely and efficiently as possible. When she’s not at her computer, Kelsey can usually be found working in her garden or walking her two dogs in the park.