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Curiosity Stream

I have recently signed up for the Curiosity Stream [1] documentary site, this is designed to be like Netflix but for non-fiction content only. The service costs $US15 per annum or $52US per annum for 4K (I think the 4K service was about $US120 per annum when I signed up). The extra price for 4K seems excessive, while it is in line with the bandwidth requirements a large portion of the costs of the service would be about user support and running the service reliably for which 4K makes little difference.

My aim in subscribing was to just get a service like Netflix with new documentary content as I have watched every documentary I want to watch on Netflix (I think I’ve watched over 1000 hours of Netflix documentaries). So naturally I compare the service to Netflix and I found that it doesn’t compare well. Curiosity Stream (CS) has no button to skip the intro and has a problem with using the right arrow to skip forward (seems to only work once and then I have to use the mouse), this costs me about 30 seconds for each episode which adds up when watching documentaries at 1.5* speed. The method of controlling the viewing is a little clunky, sometimes the popup menu at the bottom of the screen to control playback doesn’t disappear by itself until you mouse over it and space bar doesn’t select pause instead it selects the last action. CS allows selecting individual episodes for your watch list instead of entire series, this could be useful for some people but I just find it annoying, it might be good for classroom use. The method of searching for new shows to watch isn’t as good as the Netflix method or the way things are displayed on Android TV (which seems to have an API for multiple video providers to show a list of shows with one row per provider). Some of these things might seem OK if you haven’t used other services, but if you are used to Netflix and Amazon Prime then it will seem clunky.

The amount of content on Curiosity Stream doesn’t seem that large, I don’t know how to get a full measure of it, but when I search for things I seem to get less results than on Netflix. That could be something to do with what I’m searching for.

In terms of value for money $US15 per annum for the content that CS provides is a good deal. Netflix overall offers better value for home users having fiction as well as non-fiction in large quantities. But for documentary content $US15 per annum is pretty cheap. I recommend signing up for CS, but for most people signing up for Netflix first will be a good option.

  1. [1] https://curiositystream.com/

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