The other day, Facebook decided that I should see a sponsored ad about CuriosityStream video streaming service. Intrigued, I decided to look into it. I hadn’t heard of this platform before, so I needed to go back to basics to understand what CuriosityStream was offering and the value I would receive as a subscriber. So the question I’ll answer in this CuriosityStream review is it worth it.
What is Video Streaming?
First, let’s begin with precisely what video streaming is. Video streaming is on its way to replace how we watch media. In this type of system, data from a video file is delivered to a remote user. This transfer is done via the internet rather than cable. The video, therefore, can be viewed online without being downloaded to a device.
The video file data is compressed before being sent to the viewing gadget in small chunks. The size of these video bits depends on the actual file size, network latency, and bandwidth speed. Streaming requires a compatible device that is connected to the internet that capable of decompressing and displaying the streamed data.
What is a Video Streaming Service?
Now, let’s consider what a company means when it advertises itself as a video streaming service. A video streaming service is an online on-demand source of TV shows, movies, and videos. These types of services give the viewer an alternative to satellite and cable services. With so many streaming services out there these days, it’s hard to decide on just one.
Well-known video streaming services include:
- Amazon Instant
What is CuriosityStream Video Streaming Service?
With all those options to consider, it’s time to examine what sets CuriosityStream video streaming service apart from the competition.
What if you could be assured of only being offered quality programming instead of having to scroll through lousy movie after lousy movie? What if you knew that whichever video your child picked, it would be educational? What if you could binge-watch and learn simultaneously?
Based on those criteria alone, CuriosityStream might be the game-changer for your streaming habits. This fantastic streaming service provides more than 2,500 documentaries on-demand for as low $2.99 per month with worldwide access. It’s been dubbed “the Netflix of documentaries.”
CuriosityStream has its home office in Silver Spring, Maryland. This innovative streaming platform was launched in 2015 by John S. Hendricks, founder of the Discovery Channel. Its advisory board consists of individuals with backgrounds in education, arts, and science. Take a look at this CuriosityStream review to find out is it worth it.
What Can You Watch on CuriosityStream?
The topics include history, technology, nature, science, society, and lifestyle. With such a focused niche, the library is considerably smaller than Netflix, but growing steadily.
Science topics include:
Technology subjects encompass:
- Artificial intelligence
- Social Web
- Privacy and security
Civilization documentaries discuss:
Human spirit programs explore:
- Health and wellness
- Character and values
- Dramatic and performing arts
What Type of Quality Programming is Available Through CuriosityStream?
In looking at CuriosityStream review to determine if it is worth it, I looked through the available programming lists.
CuriosityStream as a platform was a Webby Award Honoree in 2016 and 2017 for the Best Science and Education Channel. The streaming service provides a mix of original and acquired content. Sixteen documentaries and films have either won awards or been nominated for an Emmy so far.
- News & Documentary Emmy Award for Outstanding Graphic Design & Art Direction
- Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival Award for Best Host/Presenter-Led Film
- Wildscreen Film Festival Science Award
- Technical Innovation Award
- Science Media Awards Grand Helix Award Winner, 2016 Best in Show
In the series Life on Earth, David Attenborough travels the world, tracing the evolution of life. This BBC series was the winner of the Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival Award for Best Host/Presenter-Led Film in 2017.
It also was awarded both the Science Award and Technical Innovation Award at the Wildscreen Film Festival in 2016, as well as receiving numerous nominations for other prestigious awards:
- Outstanding Nature Documentary News & Documentary Emmy Award Nominee (2017)
- Outstanding Cinematography: Documentary News & Documentary Emmy Award Nominee (2017)
- Best Science in Nature Film Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival Nominee (2017)
- Specialist Factual British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA) Nominee (2017)
- Presenter Award Wildscreen Film Festival Nominee (2016)
One film, Big World in a Small Garden, from Martin Dorhn, captures the complex ecosystem found in his London backyard. This documentary was a Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival Best Short Film Nominee in 2017.
Another film, Transhumanism by Jason Silva, received the nomination for the Best Short Form Documentary from Science Media Awards in 2016. This non-fiction movie centers on the technology that tries to overcome humanity’s limitations.
CuriosityStream’s original series Deep Time History seeks out the unexpected answers why and how civilization as we know it exists today. It received was Webby’s Best Documentary Series Honoree in 2017.
Another original production, Science Breakthroughs: Gravitational Waves, also received a nomination for the Webby Award in the Science and Education for Film and Video in 2017.
Mentioned above are only award winners or nominees to give you an idea of the high quality programming available through CuriosityStream. In addition, CuriosityStream has several original series and documentaries such as:
- Stephen Hawking’s Favorite Places
- Prescription: Nutrition
- Destination: Pluto
- Destination: Mars
- The Road to the Singularity
- The History of Food
CuriosityStream has also acquired the licenses for these programs:
- Next World
- Genius by Stephen Hawking
- The Nano Revolution
- Wild Weather
- Cosmic Front
- The Secrets of Quantum Physics
- The Human Face of Big Data
BBC programs available include:
- Ancient Worlds
- Greek Myths: True Stories
- The Secret Life of Dogs
- Sex, Death and the Meaning of Life
- Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire
- When Björk Met Attenborough
- The Hawking Paradox
- Vikings and World of Stonehenge
Is CuriosityStream Available Worldwide?
CuriosityStream’s original content is available worldwide. Acquired material is often subjected to geo-blocking, so availability is varied depending on the location and licensing agreements.
How Can You Access CuriosityStream?
CuriosityStream is available for viewing through a variety of devices:
- Android devices with version 4.1 or higher
- Any laptop, desktop, PC or Mac via a modern web browser
- Apple TV 3rd generation and earlier via AirPlay
- Apple TV 4th generation HD and 4K Apple TV
- Amazon Kindle 2012 or later
- Amazon Fire TV Stick
- Chromecast via Google Chrome browser, Android or iOS devices
- Apple TV via AirPlay for older generations or native app for 4th generation
- Xbox One
- Amazon Fire TV version 5.0 and up
- Roku 2, Roku 3, Roku 4, Roku TV, and Roku Streaming Stick version 8.1 and up
- Android TV running Android version 5.0 and up
- YouTube TV
- Apple iPhones, iPods, and iPads iOS 11 and up
- Available Smart TVs Market apps: LG, Samsung, Sony/Android TV, and VIZIO
CuriosityStream content is a complimentary service if you have Optimum or Suddenlink internet by Altice. CuriosityStream is also available as an add-on option through:
- Amazon Prime
- Xfinity by Comcast
- Sling TV
- Layer3 TV
- VRV Streaming Service
- PlayStation Vue
Some users have complained about the streaming quality on tablets and phones. Although this may be a device/service interface problem, it is more likely an issue with the users’ data plans.
For instance, nearly all unlimited data plans will reduce your service from 4G to 2G speed if you use more than a certain amount of data in each billing period. Binge-watching HD documentaries will eat up data before you know it, leaving video quality sputtering once that set limit is reached.
To get a good quality streaming video, you’ll need a broadband speed of least five Mbps. Anything less and buffering occurs. If the content is in 4K Ultra HD, your device must have 25 megabits per second or higher.
CuriosityStream suggests one of the following devices for streaming content in 4K:
- Amazon Fire TV with 4K Ultra HD
- Chromecast 4K
- AppleTV 4K
- 4K-Capable Android TV models
- 4K-Capable Roku devices
- Any Mac, laptop, PC or desktop with 4K display
You may need an HDMI connection that includes the cable and port version 1.4 or higher that offers 4K support. Some devices need HDCP 2.2. If you aren’t sure your device or internet speed can handle the streaming service, CuriosityStream provides a 7-day free trial for you to test the device/streaming interface.
Is CuriosityStream Available Offline?
If you are interested in watching on the go, you’ll be pleased to learn that CuriosityStream can be viewed offline with Android and iOs mobile apps. Up to ten hours of content can be saved at a time.
Is Close-Captioning an Option?
About 85 percent of the programming offered by CuriosityStream has closed captions (CC) in English for the hearing impaired. Captions are available on TV and mobile app platforms, so you can watch in places where you can’t turn up the volume.
How Much Does CuriosityStream Cost?
CuriosityStream is incredibly affordable. The monthly cost is $2.99, while the yearly plan is $19.99. 4k plans are $9.99 per month and $69.99 a year. Prices are in U.S. dollars for international subscribers as well.
Can Programming be Limited for Young Viewers?
Some programs on CuriosityStream are not appropriate for young children. With Kids Mode, you can exclude those films and documentaries. Kids Mode filters visually explicit violence, disturbing imagery, and sexual content in human and animal context. This exclusion is valid on all your channels, apps, and devices that are linked up to CuriosityStream.
CuriosityStream: Is it Worth it?
CuriosityStream is a video streaming service available for a variety of devices in both HD and 4K Ultra capability. All of the original content and many of the acquired programming is available for viewing worldwide. The focus of the more than 2,500 award-winning documentaries, movies, and short films is science, technology, history, and culture.
Explicit material can be filtered out for younger viewers. Closed captioning is available for most of the content. Offline viewing is available on select devices.
While this service won’t replace Netflix or other big name streaming companies anytime soon, for the quality of programming you get, $20 a year is a steal! For those of us that love an excellent documentary, are educators, or are homeschooling, CuriosityStream takes the cake.