I already know what you’re thinking: “Ugh. Another streaming service?” And to that, I politely ignore your sighs and present you with something a bit out of the ordinary. It’s called CuriosityStream and, as the name implies, it’s designed by Discovery Communications founder and media visionary John Hendricks for curious minds.
If you’re looking for mindless entertainment, you can stick with Netflix or Hulu and be on your merry way. If you want your streaming service to offer something more—like an opportunity to learn, get some inspiration, or open your mind—I highly suggest CuriosityStream’s endless catalog of documentary films, shows, and shorts.
On sale for $149.99 for a lifetime subscription (as in, zero monthly fees), it’s much more affordable than its competitors. But for a collection of only “educational” content, it came as a surprise that it has over 13 million paying subscribers in more than 175 countries. So, obviously, I had to do a deep dive for myself.
Documentary Films, TV Shows, and Shorts
Creating an account was a breeze and upon logging in on my browser I was greeted with a layout almost identical to Netflix. However, rather than genres like TV Comedies and Action & Adventure, the categories capture topics like The Mind; Science, Space & Tech; and, of course, Unsolved Mystery & Crime. Intrigued, I opted for the latter to kick off my personal watch party.
Once you choose a category, you can scroll to find a documentary film, TV show, or short to appease your thirst for knowledge, or you can simply hit “Play All” at the top of the screen. All titles are available in either HD or 4K. I personally opted for The Case, a 12-episode cinematic series from France about the grueling cases that haunt cops for life, as my first watch. It did not disappoint.
I don’t consider myself much of a documentary person, mostly because I can’t stay awake for films longer than 90 minutes. But CuriosityStream offers such a wide-ranging catalog that I can finally enjoy nonfiction flicks in a way that works for me. There are even CuriosityStream exclusives as short as 15 minutes. Even my inattentive brain can handle that!
While I don’t have a ton of time on my hands these days to binge, I did manage to watch an episode of the CuriosityStream-produced Beyond the Spotlight. Believe it or not, it actually made me like a celebrity (Kristen Bell) even more, which is the exact opposite of what social media does, so bravo! I also peeped an episode of BBC’s A Stitch in Time and started the film Fiddlin’, which I’m itching to finish.
To be completely honest, I’m overwhelmed by the amount of content on CuriosityStream. With thousands of titles already in the catalog, they still add more every single week. In other words, nobody may hear from me for a while.
A Seamless User Experience
While I started watching on Google Chrome, I decided it would be better to switch to my TV for the full experience. I quickly downloaded the CuriosityStream app on my Fire TV Stick, logged in, and seamlessly continued streaming. Aside from your regular browser, CuriosityStream is available on nearly all streaming video platforms: Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Apple TV, Xbox, and more. Plus, you can get the app on iOS and Android devices as well. I went ahead and downloaded the app to my iPhone 11, so I could continue watching as I biked some indoor miles, and the entire experience was smooth as butter. The mobile app is just as responsive, vivid, and easy to use as the Fire TV app and the browser itself. Plus, it lets you text and doomscroll while you watch, thanks to a sweet picture-in-picture mode. A dream come true!
When you find something you want to watch, you can either view it on the spot or add it to your watchlist. That watchlist will sync across all of your devices, as will the spot you left off. And similar to Netflix, the more you watch, the more CuriosityStream learns your preferences and recommends flicks for you. You can also rate titles you like for even more personalized recommendations.
The Bottom Line
Even if you don’t consider yourself a documentary person, CuriosityStream’s wide selection, seamless user experience, striking quality, and an overwhelming flow of content is well worth the $149.99 for lifetime access. And it’s sure to satisfy your thirst for knowledge and facts in a time where the truth is but a mere suggestion.
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