How to Watch Discovery Channel Without Cable

How to Watch Discovery Channel Without Cable

Here’s something worth discovering: you don’t have to have cable or satellite to watch Discovery Channel. Though the home of Shark Week has long made its own home with legacy pay TV services, a new breed of streaming service has changed the game and given fans a legal path to a Discovery Channel live stream. Sound exciting? Then just read on. Everything you need to know about streaming Discovery Channel without cable or satellite is laid out below. You’ll find options for both live streams and on-demand content, plus links to our reviews and access to free trials. This is our comprehensive guide to streaming Discovery Channel without cable.

How to Watch Discovery Channel Online Without Cable

If you’ve read other articles in our series of similar how-to’s, you probably already have an idea of what’s coming next. The key to getting a Discovery Channel live stream is the same as it is for many other networks. The answer, as always, is to invest in a skinny bundle subscription.

What’s a skinny bundle? Well, it’s a lot like a cable package – but with two major changes that make it appealing to cord cutters. First, the skinny bundles we’re interested in stream “over the top” (a term that just means via the internet, like Netflix or Hulu), which means that you don’t have to deal with cable companies and their monopolies. Second, skinny bundles trim the fat from giant cable bundles and offer streamlined packages that cost far less than the bulky pay TV deals you’re probably used to. That makes skinny bundles a sleek, modern, and affordable solution for cord cutters who still want to watch live TV, but don’t want to pay for cable.

Yes, you’ll still have to pay each month – there’s no such thing as a free lunch – but the price will likely be lower than what you’re used to from the legacy pay TV crowd, and you won’t have to lock into a long-term contract or borrow any hardware like cable boxes (much pay for the privilege). On top of that, you’ll be able to watch on multiple devices, including mobile devices for when you’re on the go.

So that’s the simple answer to the question of how to unlock a Discovery Channel live stream legally: skinny bundles! But not every skinny bundle on the market includes Discovery Channel, so let’s get more specific. These are the best skinny bundles that offer Discovery Channel, plus options for streaming Discovery content on demand.


Watch Discovery Channel without cable: Philo

Philo is a great option for watching Discovery Channel online. Its low-priced pair of skinny bundle options each include a Discovery Channel live stream, which means that you can watch Discovery Channel without cable on Philo for as little as $16 per month. That’s an incredible price for a skinny bundle, and Discovery Channel isn’t the only quality network in Philo’s offerings. You can check out Philo for yourself by signing up for the service’s free trial – just use the link below.

Try Philo for free

PlayStation Vue

Watch Discovery Channel without cable: PlayStation Vue

Despite the name, PlayStation Vue is available on other devices besides the Sony PlayStation gaming console (the reason for the branding dates back to when this Sony-owned service was only available on PlayStation, both those days are ancient history). Like several competitors, PlayStation Vue sorts its content into tiers that increase in price as the number of channels increases. Discovery Channel, however, is available in each of them, so cost-conscious Discovery fans can feel free to opt for the cheapest one. That would be “Access,” which costs $44.99/month. For more on PlayStation Vue, check out our review. You can also test the service for yourself by taking advantage of the 5-day free trial.

Try PlayStation Vue for free

DirecTV Now

Watch Discovery Channel without cable: DirecTV Now

DirecTV Now is, of course, a skinny bundle. It offers a few different bundles, actually, and some of them aren’t so skinny at all: die-hards can pay cable-like prices for a robust channel selection if they choose. But Discovery Channel fans can opt for the cheaper options if they so desire, because Discovery Channel is available in every one of DirecTV Now’s packages. The cheapest of these is “Live a Little,” which costs $40 each month. That makes DirecTV Now one of the more cost-effective ways to watch Discovery Channel without cable. As for the quality of the service itself, you can read all about that in our review (though it’s worth noting that DirecTV Now has moved past some of the growing pains we mention in that piece). If you’re on the fence, try it yourself for free: DirecTV Now has a 7-day free trial.

Try DirecTV Now for free

Discovery GO

Watch Discovery Channel without cable: Discovery GO

We’ve moved past the skinny bundles now and on to Discovery’s own app, Discovery GO. There’s no Discovery Channel live stream to be had here, unfortunately, but you will have on-demand access to some Discovery Channel programming. The best news about this option is that it’s entirely free. Though the selection is quite limited, Discovery GO is the only free answer to the question of how to watch Discovery Channel without cable. The library of streaming clips and episodes is fairly small, but hey, free is free! Cord-havers can unlock much more content with the aid of their cable login credentials.

Watch Discovery GO for free


Watch Discovery Channel without cable: Hulu

Hulu has the streaming rights to a bunch of popular Discovery Channel shows, including shows that are no longer on the air, making it a strong on-demand alternative to a Discovery Channel live stream. Hulu has Mythbusters, Deadliest Catch, Naked and Afraid, and much more. And because Hulu offers Shark Week programming on demand, you can truly live every week like it’s Shark Week. Hulu has conveniently lumped all of its Discovery Channel programming together in one place, so click here to check out the offerings. We don’t always include on-demand options in these pieces, but we did in this case because Hulu’s Discovery programming library is pretty robust and because Discovery Channel live streams are a little harder to come by than those for other channels. Hulu offers a free trial.

Try Hulu for free

Can I Watch Discovery Channel on Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV, or Chromecast?

The skinny bundles above offer broad platform support, making it easy to put your Discovery Channel live stream up on your big screen via a Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV, or Chromecast. You can also use gaming consoles, Android TV devices, and your desktop or laptop computer, among other devices. The beauty of skinny bundles is that they’re not tied to your cable box: they can live on just about any device you’d ever use to watch media, including the major streaming boxes and sticks as well as major mobile platforms like Android and iOS.

But let’s get more specific, here: which services work on which platforms? Roku fans have the most options, at least for now: DirecTV Now, Philo, PlayStation Vue, and Hulu all work on the platform, as does Discovery Go.

DirecTV Now, PlayStation Vue, Philo, and Hulu all also work on Fire TV.

Apple TV, too, has apps for DirecTV Now, Philo, PlayStation Vue, and Hulu.

Users of Chromecast devices have native support for DirecTV Now, PlayStation Vue, and Hulu.

DirecTV Now, Philo, PlayStation Vue, Hulu, and Discovery Now all work on iOS devices. DirecTV Now, PlayStation Vue, Hulu, and Discovery Go all work on Android; as of this writing, though, Philo doesn’t yet.

Of course, platform support is always changing. This information is accurate as of this writing, but be sure to keep an eye on the fast-growing services in this space – relative newcomers like Philo are sure to expand their platform support quickly. And even in the meantime, you’ll find that there are plenty of reliable services to use on a huge variety of platforms to watch Discovery Channel without cable. Enjoy!

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About the Author

Stephen Lovely
Stephen Lovely
Stephen Lovely is a freelance writer and a longtime cord cutter with a passion for technology and entertainment. You can find his work on and his tweets at @stephenlovely.

15 Comments on "How to Watch Discovery Channel Without Cable"

  1. You cannot watch many “Go Channels” unless you pay for cable TV (or pay via Hulu, PlayStation, etc.). Go to and click on “Watch Live” and you’ll be prompted to sign in through your cable provider.

  2. If you don’t transmit ABC, NBC, and CBS live programs, how do I get the programs?

  3. Austin Chapman | December 1, 2017 at 10:58 pm | Reply

    Discovery GO does not work on U-verse unless you have a TV subscription. You should update the article to reflect this fact.

  4. I agree with Austin. There appears to be several apps that you download and then when you go to watch programming it wants your cable provider. This does not support something you can get as a cord cutter unless I’m missing something. Please update the article for us newbies.

    • | April 3, 2018 at 5:24 pm | Reply

      Hi Melody,

      Discovery GO only offers a limited amount of on-demand content for free. It doesn’t offer a free Discovery Channel live stream, unfortunately.

  5. Someone wrote: “If you don’t transmit ABC, NBC, and CBS live programs, how do I get the programs?” You can get them live just by putting up a TV antenna and connecting it to a converter box or to most newer flat screen TVs. After connecting the antenna to the TV’s coax (antenna) input, go into the TV’s menu and have it do a channel search. Most channels you will get will be through the DTV (digital TV) part of the scan. I have a large outdoor antenna that pulls in over 40 channels and I live 60 miles from the city. If one lives in a town with transmission towers then an indoor or attic antenna will pull in many channels. The channels you pick up will be digital channels but you don’t need a so called digital antenna. Any TV antenna will pull them to a certain extent but the farther away you are from a transmitter the larger the antenna you need. You can even buy a OTA (over the air) DVR and record the programs for future viewing.

    If you don’t mind waiting a week after a program airs on Discovery Channel you can often stream it from the programs website. But unfortunately, the best I can tell is that you can’t stream a Discovery show live unless you already subscribe to a network that airs the program live on TV such as DirecTV. Hope this is helpful to some.

  6. Discovery GO does not work with DirecTV Now.

    • | May 9, 2018 at 4:32 pm | Reply

      You’re right. While Discovery GO offers some clips and episodes for free, you can only unlock a Discovery Channel live stream, etc., with a cable subscription.

  7. Peter Winter | May 10, 2018 at 12:33 pm | Reply

    Why has Foxs News changed its name on Mobdro. ?

  8. If I unlock a channel’s streaming app on my Roku with my DirecTV credentials, then I quit DirecTV, will those apps keep working or will I be booted from them?

  9. I’ve been thinking of cutting my cable TV and just keep the internet part with my current company Spectrum/Time Warner or get high speed through AT&T and then maybe use Sling or similar. We also have Roku now. There are several shows I would like to keep, the 3 local channels/networks ABC, NBC, CBS, and Discovery and History channels and CNN. Can I do all this with Sling and Roku? Thanks, John.

  10. John, I have Sling and have an antenna for local such as NBC, ABC, CBS. You can get History and CNN, but not Discovery or any of its channels like TLC, etc. That’s why I’m here, trying to find how to get Discovery.

  11. Thanks for the info on Philo… I’ve been using Sling TV for over a year now, and for the most part really love it, but I’ve missed having Discovery and the Science channel. To be able to access those for only $16/month? That’ll work.

    It’s a bummer that no ONE streaming service has all the channels I want but it’s nice to know that combining a few services will fill in the missing channels. Still… between Sling TV, Philo, and probably fuboTV so I can get the MSG channels for my favorite hockey team this winter, I’m exceeding the cost of a DirecTV package, especially when they offer credits to keep a long-time customer on the hook. Hopefully in other year or 2, I can take my satellite dish down. 🙂

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