Q. Discovery Plus is definitely taking our shows from the Discovery and Travel channels and using them to build a new audience on something that cost more money. I am not going to do it, but even if I wanted to, we don’t get a good Internet connection on the farm where I live so we couldn’t subscribe to Discovery Plus no matter. Isn’t this unfair and against the law in some way? — Lynn, Mora, New Mexico.
Lynn, as you note, Discovery has decided to offer new episodes of several popular Discovery-branded shows as Discovery+ exclusives. The move is designed to attract new subscribers to the streaming service, but ‘old’ subscribers to Discovery-owned channels on cable and satellite are crying foul, saying the company is forcing them to pay more money to continue watching their favorites.
Since Discovery+ launched on January 4, the service has been the exclusive home of new episodes of several shows that have built strong followings on channels such as Discovery, HGTV, the Travel Channel, the Food Network and TLC. The shows that now air their new episodes on the streaming service includes Property Brothers: Forever Home, Ghost Adventures, and Paranormal: Caught On Camera, among several others.
Several Discovery fans have posted messages in our readers forum suggesting that viewers should simply subscribe to Discovery+ if they want to watch those shows so badly. (Discovery officials won’t say if they will ever be available on the Discovery-owned channels found on cable and satellite.) Discovery+’s plans start at $4.99 a month, and you can get an ad-free version for $6.99 a month.
“My wife and I subscribed to Discovery plus the first day it was offered. It was the best decision we ever made. No commercials ($2 more per month) but worth every penny. It is the way of the future,” wrote ‘Mark Timmerman.’
“That’s why you cancel your cable TV service and go internet only,” added ‘Jacob McElyea.’ “The whole point of streaming services is to get people off of traditional cable tv services and move them to streaming services to save money. Now you have more choices to choose from to get your favorite content. A lot of content is free through YouTube, The Roku Channel and others.”
But others, such as Lynn, say they do not have that option because there are no viable Internet options in their areas.
“We are unable to obtain cable in our area so we have DISH satellite service for TV. We can only get DSL through our phone company for Internet access, Centurylink. The fastest speed they can provide to us is “up to 4 mbps” which is reality is usually between 2.6 and 3.2 mbps download and .76 mbps upload. We are not on fiber optic cables in our area nor will we get it anytime soon. So I’m boycotting Discovery+ and all the channels they moved and hope in the future they’ll change things,” ‘Theresa O’Dell’ writes in our reader forum.
“What about those that don’t have good access to internet? I read that you use 1 or 2 GB per hour streaming. I get 10gb hotspot a month for 65 dollars. What I get a good 3hr of shows before I use it all. And it’s crappy on top of that. This discovery plus b’s is a lot more than 5 dollars a month for some of us,” adds ‘Sean Paul.’
Lynn, Theresa and Sean are not alone in their lament. The FCC last year estimated that 21 million rural Americans still lack access to high-speed Internet, although some believe the number is higher.
For rural residents who have been die-hard Discovery fans, the loss of new episodes of favorite shows hits especially hard.
“What a slap in the face to people who have watched your channels before it was so “trendy” to do so,” ‘Notsohappy’ writes in the TV Answer Man forum,. “They have taken more than my “tv shows” away from me. In times of such uncertainty they have taken away my source sanity… the only shows I look forward to. Thanks for not having your loyal customers backs during these hard times. You have forever changed my view on the people at DISCOVERY CHANNEL”
“I think this is so wrong, I am disabled on a fixed income. So now in addition to paying ever increasing cable cost I need a newer TV or a streaming stick and increased internet speed . I live in a more rural area and my internet already sucks,” adds ‘Susan J.’
Have a question about new TV technologies? Send it to The TV Answer Man at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your first name and hometown in your message.
— Phillip Swann