If you’re a cord-cutter looking to stream Discovery Channel shows like Deadliest Catch and Ice Road Truckers over the internet, you’re in the right place. Read on to find out how to watch the Discovery Channel without cable.
Streaming Discovery Channel Live
People all around the US are cutting the cord. To help salvage some of their profits, many cable companies have begun partnering with other distributors to create “skinny bundles”.
Skinny bundles offer inexpensive access to live cable channels and are usually free of any contracts or fine print. This makes them very attractive to cord-cutters.
There are three different skinny bundles that include Discovery Channel. Here’s what you need to know about them.
Philo is a newer streaming service, which got its start on college campuses. Philo’s business model is simple – by eliminating expensive sports networks and local TV affiliates, they can offer a pared-down selection of channels at the lowest price in the market.
Price and packages
For just $16/month, you can get access to The Discovery Channel, AMC, A&E, Spike, and Comedy Central. There are a total of 40+ channels in the base package.
You can also upgrade to a $20/month package to unlock more channels like The Cooking Channel, MTV Live, Nicktoons, and Destination America.
Philo recently added more channels to both of its channel packages, without increasing the price for either. The service appears to be dedicated to keeping its prices low for customers, even if it takes a bit of a financial hit itself — which does not appear to be the case for most of its competitors, such as DirecTV Now and YouTube TV.
The primary drawback of Philo is, as mentioned, you do not get access to any kind of sports coverage, or FOX/NBC/CBS/ABC. There are some occasional MMA and boxing matches that play on Paramount Network, which Philo does carry, however. All told, if you are interested in coverage of sports and special events, this service is definitely not for you.
Features and devices
A key issue with Philo is its limited platform support. You can only use Philo on iOS devices, your web browser, Roku devices, Amazon Fire TV, and Apple TV – that’s it. No support for Chromecast, and surprisingly no native Android app.
Of course, Philo does have some strong selling points. One of these is its simultaneous streaming policy. You can stream on 3 devices at once, which is better than DirecTV Now and a number of other streaming “skinny bundles”.
You also get a really good DVR, which is included at no extra cost. It’s pretty similar to the DVR offered with PlayStation Vue. You can save unlimited shows for later viewing for up to 30 days – so it just barely edges out PlayStation Vue’s 28-day policy.
Philo is, by no means, a comprehensive alternative to cable. It does not include local channels or sports coverage. But if you don’t mind that, and just want The Discovery Channel and a few other cable channels for a low price, it’s an excellent pick.
You can get started with this service on the Philo website, and you don’t even need a credit card. You can sign up for a 7-day trial with just your mobile phone number.
If you have a large family, or you plan on sharing an account with friends or roommates, PlayStation Vue is definitely the best choice for watching Discovery Channel without cable – for a number of reasons.
Price and packages
First, PlayStation Vue offers a reasonable, customizable channel lineup. You can get the base-tier “Access” package for $44.99/month, which is a good deal compared to the cost of a cable subscription. In this package, you will get Discovery Channel, as well as a good selection of other top networks like CNN, Animal Planet, AMC, Cartoon Network, ESPN, and Fox Sports. You can also subscribe to additional sports channels for an added fee.
For $5 more per month, you can unlock a number of other channels with the “Core” package, like the Cooking Channel and ESPN U. And with the $60.00/month “Elite” package, you’ll get IFC, FreeForm, TCM, and more. However, even with the basic $44.99 “Access” package, you get plenty for your money.
Features and devices
The next reason PlayStation Vue is a great choice for watching the Discovery Channel is its excellent 5-device simultaneous streaming policy. This is the most generous policy out of any “skinny bundle”, including those not listed in this article. You can watch PlayStation Vue on up to 5 devices in your home – so you will almost never have an issue being “locked out” of streams due to multiple users.
PlayStation Vue also comes with a pretty good DVR, for no extra cost, though some recent DVR changes have confused PS Vue users. Still, you get unlimited recordings – with no show “slots” or hourly limits.
Your DVR content will be deleted after 28 days. But until then, you can watch it as much as you want with no limits. While the four-week limit is a bit restrictive, it’s still acceptable and gives most people plenty of time to stream their content.
This service also has fairly robust platform support. You can watch PlayStation Vue on all modern web browsers, on iOS/Android, on Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV. You can also watch via the PlayStation 3 or 4 console. Naturally, Xbox support is missing, due to the well-known Microsoft-Sony gaming console rivalry.
PlayStation Vue is a very good choice for streaming the Discovery Channel without cable. A good selection of channels, a solid DVR, and a fantastic simultaneous streaming policy make it a great choice for families. It’s more expensive than the other options on our list, but well worth it for most cord-cutters.
You can try the service for yourself with a free 5-day trial at the PlayStation Vue website.
DirecTV Now is a good choice for watching Discovery Channel live.
Price and packages
The basic $35/month “Gotta Have It” package offers Discovery Channel and 60+ other channels. Other channels in the basic package include news stations like CNN and MSNBC, sports channels such as ESPN and Fox Sports and other entertainment channels like FX/FXX, AMC, A&E, and quite a few more.
The overall channel lineup that DirecTV Now has is exceptionally good. You can’t get this many channels for such a low price with any other service.
Features and devices
DirecTV Now offers a small cloud DVR, included with all of its service packages. The DVR offers up 20 hours of cloud storage, which is a small amount compared to most other services around. It also limits your recordings with a 30-day expiration date. After that, the oldest recordings start to disappear. DirecTV Now took a long time to add its DVR function and it’s currently underwhelming, although thankfully not provided at an extra cost.
The other problem with DirecTV Now is that it doesn’t have the best simultaneous streaming policy. You can only stream on 2 devices at once with DirecTV Now – so if you have a larger family, that might be a problem.
However, DirecTV Now does have some other good points. Platform support is great, with a smooth user experience across different apps. You can use DirecTV Now on your browser, iOS/Android devices, Chromecast, Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV, but not on modern gaming consoles.
For the price, you won’t find a better variety of channels with a better coverage of top networks. That’s DirecTV Now’s biggest advantage over the competition.
Unfortunately, the service is somewhat hamstrung by its 2-device streaming policy and its total lack of a DVR. Unless you always watch Discovery Channel live, you’re going to miss out quite a bit of content that you could have recorded, if you used any other service.
There is a unique exception, though. Because AT&T owns DirecTV and DirecTV Now, they offer AT&T subscribers a special deal on DirecTV Now service. If you have an AT&T Unlimited Choice subscription, you can get this service for just $20/month. This is a significant discount – and though you still miss out on DVR service, it’s definitely worth considering.
You can try the service out below with a free, 7-day trial subscription.
AT&T Watch TV
A Philo contender, AT&T Watch TV comes in at $1 less than Philo. AT&T attempts to undercut Philo’s pricing, but it may not do a good job of it when you look at the service as a whole.
Price and packages
As stated, AT&T Watch TV is a slightly cheaper competitor to Philo. At just $15 per month, Watch TV also goes with the “no sports channels” theme. You’ll find Discovery Channel here, alongside many other entertainment TV channels that Philo offers.
Unlike Philo, however, you’ll also find a small number of news networks, like CNN. Additionally, Watch TV offers one “premium channel” for each subscriber, in the way of a movie channel such as HBO or Cinemax. In comparison, Philo offers no premium movie channels at all.
Features and devices
Simply put, AT&T Watch TV is effectively featureless. You only get one stream with this service per account. There is also no cloud DVR option. You can’t pay any extra money per month to get any of these benefits. They’re simply not offered to any extent.
On the bright side, AT&T Watch TV does have a native app for Android devices, which Philo lacks. And like Philo, it works with iOS devices. You can stream from the web as well and on Chromecast and Apple TV.
If you’re in the market for a low-cost option to watch Discovery Channel, AT&T Watch TV edges out even Philo’s cheap service. But it’s not a strong contender if you actually want a service with features.
Additional option: Red Stick TV
The streaming services market is growing, so new options are coming online regularly. Red Stick TV, from Red Stick Wireless, is offering over 50 channels for $29 per month, which includes Discovery channel. We’re keeping our eye on this service as it’s currently a relative unknown in the market. We mention it here as it does provide Discovery Channel and is a legitimate option from what we can tell.
Our Verdict: The Best Way to Watch The Discovery Channel Without Cable
Our top overall pick
This goes to PlayStation Vue. It’s hard to beat streaming on 5 devices simultaneously, and PlayStation Vue also offers great device coverage, a good DVR, and plenty of channels. At $39.99/month, it’s the priciest option on our list – but it’s definitely the best.
Best on a budget
Philo wins here. If you don’t care about local or sports coverage, Philo offers you a great selection of channels for just $16/month – so it’s by far the cheapest way to watch The Discovery Channel live.
DirecTV Now comes in a close second here, but only if you have an AT&T Unlimited Choice plan and can get it for $20/month. At $35/month, it’s just not worth it compared to PlayStation Vue.
Streaming Discovery Channel Content On-Demand
Not interested in streaming Discovery Channel live? You’re in luck. You’ve got several options for watching Discovery Channel content on-demand. Here are your choices.
DiscoveryGO is the streaming app offered by The Discovery Channel. If you do have a cable login, you can use it to access a full lineup of shows and a Discovery Channel livestream.
However, even if you don’t have a cable login, you can enjoy some free episodes, clips, and other Discovery Channel content on-demand – completely free! The selection of content is quite limited, which is to be expected from a free app.
You can download Discovery Go from either the Google Play Store, or the App Store, and stream to Chromecast devices, as well as Roku, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire devices. The app is easy to use and navigate. You’ll have no trouble accessing clips of popular Discovery Channel shows on your favorite devices.
If you’re looking for a large library of on-demand Discovery Channel content, Hulu is by far the best choice. Hulu has on-demand episodes of almost every Discovery Channel show – from Mythbusters to Naked and Afraid, Fast N Loud, and dozens more.
Altogether, Hulu has thousands of hours of streaming Discovery Channel content. Best of all, Hulu is very inexpensive. You can get a basic, commercials-included Hulu subscription for just $7.99. If you pay an extra $4/month, you can remove these commercials, and watch all of your favorite Discovery Channel shows uninterrupted, whenever you want.
It’s also worth noting that even though The Discovery Channel is not included in Hulu With Live TV, the $39.99/month Hulu With Live TV subscription does include a base-tier Hulu on-demand subscription. Or in other words, you can watch on-demand Discovery Channel content with a Hulu With Live TV membership, but you can’t stream the Discovery Channel live.C
Hulu also offers incredible device support. You can watch Hulu almost anywhere. The app supports Android and iOS device, modern web browsers, Amazon Fire TV, Roku devices, Apple TV, Chromecast, Smart TVs, most internet-connected Blu-Ray players, the Nintendo Switch and Wii U, Xbox 360/One gaming consoles, and PlayStation 3/4 consoles.