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Everything you need to know about CuriosityStream

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Sep 23, 2020 — 6 min read

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  • Plans start at $2.99/mo.
  • Get 4K high-definition (HD) streaming with the Premium plan for $9.99/mo. 3000+ original and licensed titles
  • Unlimited simultaneous streams
  • Save up to 10 hours of video to watch offline

With a sole focus on educational and informative documentaries and a low price tag, CuriosityStream is an excellent supplementary service to your streaming plan. The basic plan costs just $2.99/mo., so it won’t put too much strain on your monthly entertainment budget even if you combine it with another streaming service.

This gives you access to 3000+ original and licensed documentaries from across multiple subjects. While the basic plan lets you watch documentaries in HD, you can also upgrade to the Premium plan for $9.99/mo. to get 4K HD streaming instead. This may be a great option if you have a 4K TV and want excellent picture quality.

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CuriosityStream channels

Since CuriosityStream doesn’t offer live TV streaming, you won’t get access to any cable channels through the service. It solely focuses on on-demand documentary videos.

What channels are missing from CuriosityStream?

CuriosityStream provides only on-demand content, so all live TV channels are missing from the service.

CuriosityStream add-ons

CuriosityStream currently doesn’t offer any add-on channels or features to customize your plan. So you only get what the Base and Premium plans offer and nothing more. This might be a slight drawback for those who like customizing their streaming subscriptions.

Alternatively, you can get CuriosityStream as an add-on with other streaming services that offer customization. For instance, Amazon Prime Video and YouTube TV will let you add CuriosityStream to your subscription. And you can further customize your plan with other channels and add-on packages.

CuriosityStream vs. other streaming services

When it comes to documentaries, you won’t find any dedicated streaming service better than CuriosityStream. However, there are several general streaming services that have a decent selection of documentaries along with an on-demand library of movies and TV shows. 

Even among these options, the service stands out due to a more expansive documentary lineup and a low price tag. Most of these services offer several hundred titles in their documentary library. Meanwhile, CuriosityStream gives you access to thousands. Besides, it costs three times less than the most basic Netflix plan.

On top of this, CuriosityStream even allows simultaneous streaming from an unlimited number of devices. This could make it an excellent choice for educational institutions and libraries as well as families with school-age children. On the other hand, most streaming services limit streams to about two or three, while Netflix only allows one stream with its basic plan.

CuriosityStream user experience

CuriosityStream offers an intuitive and straightforward user experience across all supported devices. It uses a sorting system that’s easy to understand and navigate so you can find what to watch based on your moods and interests.

The interface allows you to find something to watch from categories such as animals, biographies, sports stories and more. Otherwise, you can simply choose something from the trending list or pick up where you left off. You even get closed captioning on a majority of the titles for better accessibility. The only drawback is that these captions are available only in English at the time of writing this post, which might not appeal to everyone.

Besides this, the streaming service also allows you to enable Kids Mode and limit access to content that’s unsuitable for younger viewers. This functionality could be great for schools and households with children, but keep in mind that the setting is account-wide when you enable it. In other words, you can’t enable Kids Mode only on select devices.

Compared to the website, the app offers more features that could help enrich your streaming experience. However, the mobile app, in particular, tends to have a lot of lagging and freezing issues. And the video player could do with some improvement as it may not offer consistent features across all devices. For instance, some smart TV users report being unable to skip ahead by 10 seconds, while this feature is available on the mobile app.

Video quality

CuriosityStream doesn’t disappoint when it comes to video quality even with the basic HD plan, which provides a vivid and clear display across all supported devices. The 4K plan naturally offers superior picture quality if you have a 4K TV to enjoy this feature. So if video quality is important to you, you might want to consider upgrading to the Premium plan for 4K streaming.  

CuriosityStream app

The CuriosityStream app works fairly well across all supported devices. Though, as mentioned earlier, the video player can be a little inconsistent and may lack certain features depending on which device you use. The mobile app also tends to experience some freezing and lagging, and you might find yourself having to restart it in the middle of an intriguing documentary.

Other than that, the app offers a few standout features that could provide an enriching streaming experience. On mobile, you have the option to save videos and watch them even without an internet connection. This lets you save up to 10 hours of video for offline viewing, which might appeal to you, especially during travel or if you live in an area with intermittent connectivity.

The CuriosityStream iOS and Android apps also offer features like background play and autoplay to further enhance your streaming experience. Autoplay lets you queue up videos, so you don’t have to face any interruptions even when the show you’re watching has ended.

Background play allows you to continue listening to the show even when you don’t have the app open. This makes it much easier to multitask while still tuning into your documentary. With all these impressive features, the CuriosityStream app no doubt has a strong appeal to fans of compelling documentaries.

How much is CuriosityStream?

The basic CuriosityStream plan costs $2.99/mo., and it offers HD streaming as well as access to the full documentary library. To stream these videos in 4K, you need the $9.99/mo. plan along with a device that supports 4K streaming.

You can save even more on your subscription by getting any of the annual plans instead. An annual subscription to the Basic plan would cost just $19.99/yr. This means you end up saving around $15/yr. The 4K annual plan would cost $69.99/yr. That means you end up saving almost $50/yr. with an annual subscription.

Further, CuriosityStream also offers discounts on bulk subscriptions. You can get discounts ranging from 10%-40% if you pay for over 10 subscriptions at once. This might be something to consider for educational institutions.

The service also has different plans for public and university libraries, so make sure you check those options out if you fall under this category.

CuriosityStream FAQs

Is CuriosityStream included with Amazon Prime?

CuriosityStream doesn’t come by default with your Amazon Prime subscription. However, you can get it as an add-on channel on Prime and manage all your subscriptions in one place. Keep in mind that you’ll still need to pay for the service.

Is CuriosityStream any good?

CuriosityStream is the go-to destination for documentary lovers as it contains thousands of titles and covers dozens of categories. Whether or not it’s a good option for you depends on your personal preferences and streaming needs.

If you regularly watch documentaries and/or if you have school-age children, it might be worth the investment. But if you only watch them every once in a while, you might find everything you need among the documentary library on Netflix or other general streaming services.

Is there a CuriosityStream free trial?

CuriosityStream typically has a free trial of the service for seven days. This period may also vary if you sign up through another streaming service that offers an extended free trial for a limited time. So you could keep checking out those options and see if any new offers pop up.

What to watch on CuriosityStream?

CuriosityStream offers thousands of captivating documentaries spanning across subjects and interests, including culture, history, music, nature, science and sports. So what to watch on the service is all a matter of what topics intrigue you. You could start out with trending and top-rated titles that currently dominate the service.

For those interested in science, try out titles like Eclipse Across America, Destination Mars, Precision: The Measure of All Things, Space Probes and Stephen Hawking’s Favorite Places. History buffs and anthropology enthusiasts might want to check out Ancient Earth, Bronze Age, First Man, Nefertari: Journey to Eternity and Out of the Cradle.

For documentaries related to culture and society, you could also check out titles like American Icons, Art of the Heist, Digits, Inside Human Zoos and The History of Food.

The bottom line

In spite of its low cost, CuriosityStream boasts some impressive features. For instance, it doesn’t put any limit on the number of screens you can watch at the same time. Most streaming services limit this to two or three devices. Plus, the service also lets you save up to 10 hours of documentaries and watch them even without an internet connection.

By Jacqueline Zote

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