In this day and age, having access to a streaming service or two as part of your overall media mix is pretty much a given.
While streaming may get a bad rap as a mindless week-night pastime or something people indulge in during a lazy day off, there are some services out there blazing new trails. These innovative new offerings are making streaming far more informative and educational for those who want to learn a thing or two while they watch.
CuriosityStream is one of those services. But what does it offer?
CuriosityStream is a service that delivers thousands of award-winning programs, spanning all types of genres — from documentaries to history, technology and many more.
Just as its name implies, CuriosityStream is loaded with all the educational series and cool, informative anyone interested in cutting the cable TV cord could want. And as a paid service, there are no commercials.
While it isn’t meant to be a cable replacement service, it has a lot to offer in terms of high-quality programming. Think of it less like Hulu, and more like History Channel or The Learning Channel (TLC). In fact, it’s got a few things in common with both, which we’ll touch on below.
What To Watch On CuriosityStream
CuriosityStream was founded by John S. Hendricks — the same man who brought us Animal Planet, The Discovery Channel and TLC. As such, its shows mirror the high quality and originality of programs on these networks.
Currently, CuriosityStream features seven main categories — History, Kids, Lifestyle, Nature, Science, Society and Technology.
When setting up your account, you’ll have the option to choose which of the seven categories you’re most interested in, and CuriosityStream will deliver and organize content based around your preferences.
Digging deeper into each of these categories, you’ll find fascinating content covering an array of interesting topics, with titles that range from Conversations with Dolphins and The Six Queens of Henry VII to How to Build a Castle and Our Violent Sun.
If you’re interested in a specific category like science, you can break content out by sub-categories like evolution, medicine, space, physics and more.
There’s even an entire category of CuriosityStream Originals that includes titles like Sacred Spaces, The Woodstock Bus and Living Universe.
Even if you don’t consider yourself particularly brainy, it’s easy to get sucked into the rabbit hole of interesting shows and movies, as the content offerings on this platform are anything but dry. CuriosityStream has content appropriate for a variety of ages and interests.
CuriosityStream Costs And Plans
One of the great things about CuriosityStream is its affordability. Whether you’re a teacher looking to spice up your curriculum or just want to add some new, more educational content to your media diet, the prices here are very competitive.
CuriosityStream offers two monthly plans: its lower-tier plan costs $2.99/mo. for high-definition (HD) streaming, while its higher-tier plan costs $9.99/mo. for 4K Ultra HD streaming. Both plans include streaming on unlimited screens.
The service also offers 40% off your first year if you opt for an annual subscription ($11.99/yr. for HD streaming or $41.99/yr. for 4K Ultra HD streaming).
CuriosityStream doesn’t offer a free trial. But you don’t have to sign a contract and can cancel the service at any time.
Another nice thing about CuriosityStream is its versatility. It gives you the ability to stream on several devices, including Amazon Fire TVs, Amazon Kindles, Android devices, Android TVs, Apple TVs, Chromecast products, Computer browsers, iPads, iPhones, iPod Touch mobile devices, Rokus and Xbox Ones.
Its wide compatibility makes it an excellent tool for professors and teachers looking to pipe fresh, educational content into the classroom. You can also view programs offline on your phone or tablet.
What’s more, CuriosityStream provides plans and resources for a variety of institutions, including libraries, corporations, K-12 schools and postsecondary schools. Institutions often use the service as an employee perk.
Using the CuriosityStream Web Interface
CuriosityStream’s web interface is similar to that of Netflix, with a masthead displaying a featured series and then subsequent rows of titles you can scroll through vertically.
The first row under the masthead will provide titles based on your initial category choices. You can also browse by more niche categories like feel-good films, Bright Now and breakthroughs. And of course, you’ll be able to browse through content from all seven of the main categories mentioned above.
When you click on a title, you’ll be taken to a screen where you can play the show or movie. You’ll also see a list of recommended titles near the bottom of the page. Just below the video player, you’ll see four icons. The thumbs up and thumbs down icons allow you to “like” or “dislike” the title. The plus sign allows you to add the title to a watch-later list, and the arrow icon allows you to share the title on social media.
In the main navigation bar at the top of the browser, you’ll see a few options, including Browse and Collections in the top-left corner, and Search as well as your name in the top right corner. The search function allows you to browse content by searching for notable people, like Stephen Hawking, David Attenborough or Jack Hanna. You can also search content by topic, like World War II, tsunamis, animals, planets and more. Fair warning: there are a couple of noticeably absent names, including Bill Nye and Neil deGrasse Tyson.
You can also peruse CuriosityStream’s themed and curated Collections category. Here, you’ll see titles organized under headings like Leading Ladies, which includes features like Viking Women, Vietnam Nurses and Queen Victoria’s Letters: A Monarch Unveiled.
Clicking on your name presents a drop-down menu of options, including your watchlist, a Continue Watching option, your watch history, your account settings and the help center.
Another nifty little feature in this menu is the option to purchase CuriosityStream gift cards or refer friends to the service. If you refer three friends or more, you’ll get a free premium-quality CuriosityStream T-shirt.
CuriosityStream Mobile Interface
CuriosityStream’s mobile app presents content in much the same way the desktop app does. There’s a masthead on the home page with a featured title, and rows of titles below that are broken out by the same categories as the desktop app.
In the main navigation bar at the top-right corner of the screen, there’s a search option as well as a hamburger menu, which consolidates all of the options from the desktop interface into one drop-down menu. This means that categories, collections, settings, the help center, your watchlist and your Continue Watching bank are all nested in this menu.
You can also download episodes for offline viewing on your phone or tablet.
Playback And Streaming
All CuriosityStream titles stream in HD. If you choose the higher-priced plan, you can stream titles in 4K Ultra HD as well.
Like Netflix and other streaming services, if you’re watching an episode that’s part of a series, CuriosityStream will auto-play the next episode in the series.
If you finish a title that’s not part of a series, CuriosityStream will automatically play another title once the movie or feature is over. However, that title may not always be directly related to what you just finished watching. For instance, after the conclusion of The Woodstock Bus, CuriosityStream auto-played the Living Universe series.
Can I Cut the Cable TV Cord With CuriosityStream?
Some streaming services aim to offer all things to all people. CuriosityStream is not one of those services.
As a super-niche streaming service, CuriosityStream isn’t meant to be a full cable replacement, but rather one of the biggest and best libraries of educational content around. It doesn’t have the same type of programming as services like Disney+, HBO GO and STARZ. And certainly isn’t a sports hub like ESPN+, fuboTV or Sling TV. Instead, the service concentrates on bringing you great documentaries and educational shows.
If it’s a full cable replacement service you’re looking for, Hulu + Live TV and Sling TV are great places to start. Since it’s compatible with several devices, CuriosityStream makes a great ancillary app to compliment big-name streaming services that might not have the depth of science, technology and history content you’re looking for.
When you’re looking to put on your thinking cap, CuriosityStream is among the best services on the market, with a huge, unmatched library of quality titles you won’t find anywhere else all in one place.
Current as of June 2020*
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