This post may contain affiliate links. We earn a commission when using these links. Learn more
You don’t need cable or a live TV streaming subscription for Discovery+, but the Discovery+ service is not a replacement for cable either. Whether one is more suitable than the other, or whether a combination of both cable and Discovery+ is best, will depend on the individual’s needs.
Discovery+ is a new streaming service and by all accounts, it’s cheap. A standard subscription costs $4.99 per month. However, that’s with ads. For anyone wanting an ad-free experience the price jumps up to $6.99 per month. Although an increase, it is still cheaper than many other services and especially considering what’s included.
Discovery+ launched with on demand access to more than 2,500 shows from a variety of popular Discovery networks, resulting in the ability to stream more than 55,000 episodes. This is just what the service has right now, with Discovery+ planning to add even more in the future.
Discovery+ not a replacement for cable
The variety and selection of shows makes Discovery+ a great option for consumers, especially those that want access to popular shows from HGTV, Food Network, ID, and other Discovery networks. However, it is not a full replacement for a cable or a live TV subscription Discovery experience in itself.
The reason for this is simple. Discovery+ does not include all of the shows available through the different networks. Even if a show is included, that doesn’t mean every episode is. Instead, the exact selection of episodes for a show will vary at any given time. Furthermore, they will change over time, as Discovery+ adds some to the service and removes others.
In addition, the streaming service does not include any of the linear channels. Discovery+ does include channels, but they are dedicated show channels. For example, there are 90 Day Fiancé, Fixer Upper, Homicide Hunter, and Property Brothers channels, among others, but each channel just continuously plays episodes of the same show.
What’s more, the newest episodes for many popular shows are also missing and that’s intentional. Discovery+ is not designed to be a cable replacement and this approach allows Discovery to provide both live TV subscribers and Discovery+ subscribers with enough to satisfy both groups. This may change in the future, if and when Discovery moves even more into streaming, but until then, there is a difference in the content.
The best of both worlds
While few are going to like hearing the best option is to spend more, that’s the reality. Those who want access to the live Discovery family of channels, or guaranteed access to the latest episodes will still need either cable or a live TV steaming subscription.
However, Discovery+ will act as a great addition, due to the on demand access to so many episodes from so many popular shows. Not to mention, there are also Discovery+ exclusives. These shows and episodes are only available with a Discovery+ subscription, so cable or live TV streaming subscribers are unable to access them.
By combining both a cable or live TV package with a Discovery+ subscription, everything the two have to offer will be available to stream. While there will be some overlap at times, these two Discovery approaches are likely to continue becoming more different than similar, resulting in the best way to guarantee the most access to Discovery networks and shows.
Cable and Discovery+ summary
Discovery+ does not require cable or a live TV streaming subscription and it won’t be a full replacement for many consumers. For some, Discovery+ will offer enough shows and episodes to satisfy the needs for many households.
However, for any cable or live TV subscription customers that are looking for a direct replacement for the live Discovery experience they are used to, Discovery+ is not going to be it. While combining both a live TV and Discovery+ subscription will result in the ultimate Discovery experience, they are different products and aimed at different Discovery users.