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Discovery+ is out. Here’s what you should know about the new streaming service

New year, new subscription option. But how does discovery+ compare to other streaming services out there?

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In this July 31, 2017, file photo, the Discovery Communications logo sits atop its headquarters in Silver Spring, Md.

Associated Press

In a year when we all spent more time at home, Americans also continued to change the way they consumed media.

More than 6 million households cut the cable TV cord in 2020, according to research from eMarketer. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t paying for television entertainment. Millions of people subscribe to streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, and there are dozens of other paid platforms for content.

The most recent addition to streaming land is discovery+, which launched Jan. 4. There are no scripted shows here, all are nonfiction offerings pulled from channels under the Discovery umbrella. 

In the U.S., the service kicked off with more content in its library than any other streaming service at launch, with more than 55,000 episodes. You’ll find shows from 14 networks including HGTV, Animal Planet, History Channel, Travel Channel and the Food Network. 

Most of your favorite shows are on demand for subscribers like “Chopped,” “House Hunters,” “Fixer Upper” and “Say Yes to the Dress.” But, you aren’t guaranteed to find every episode of every season. Some shows’ entire libraries are there, but others only show select past seasons.

Favorite personalities like Mike Rowe, the Property Brothers and Ree Drummond are all there. Plus the channel has 50 new titles, many of which are spinoffs from popular shows.

Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis take viewers with them as they eat their way through Italy in “Bobby and Giada in Italy.” Martha Stewart and two other judges decide who sculpts the best topiaries in “Clipped.” Comedians like Seth Rogan and Ali Wong make pithy commentary on classic episodes of “House Hunters” in a new show called “House Hunters: Comedians on Couches Unfiltered.” And “Mysterious Planet,” narrated by David Schwimmer, takes viewers on epic journeys to the ends of the earth.

Plus, subscribers will get a sneak peek of the Magnolia Network, a new lifestyle channel coming later this year from Chip and Joanna Gaines. You’ll find new episodes of “Fixer Upper: Welcome Home,” a cooking show called “Magnolia Table with Joanna Gaines” and a documentary about Chip’s first marathon titled “Courage to Run.”

A subscription is $4.99 per month with a no-ads version for $6.99. Of course there’s a free seven-day trial, and you can cancel the subscription at any time. Verizon customers with Unlimited plans get a full year of discovery+ for free.

This network doesn’t have any live TV, so if you want to watch new episodes as they first air, you’ll likely still have to pay for cable or a streaming service with a live TV option.

Discovery is also giving subscribers a charitable incentive. For each new subscription through April 19, the company will donate $1 to UNICEF USA to help deliver COVID-19 vaccines to front-line workers and vulnerable populations.

So how many streaming services and channels are we willing to buy?

I cut my cable cord a couple of years ago, but am currently paying for Fubo, Disney+, Hulu, Netflix, Apple TV+, ESPN+ and Amazon Prime Video. I have access to most things, and am saving about $25 from what I was forking out for cable.

But I am seriously considering adding HBO Max to the mix for an additional $14.99 per month. And then sometimes I think I might want CBS All Access for $5.99 and Peacock Premium for another $5.99 each month to round out the mix. A lot of us have FOMO, a fear of missing out when we read or hear people talking about a show which we have no way to watch. But for those watching their entertainment pennies, they have to draw the line somewhere.

When considering whether you want to add more subscription streaming channels to your monthly budget, think about the shows and personalities you love and how much you’re willing to pay to enjoy the entertainment they provide.

If you are someone who lives for home improvement, history, science and cooking — the type who could watch “American Pickers” all day long — then discovery+ just may be your perfect $4.99 network.