11 Best Services to Watch Documentaries on Roku

There's no shortage of great content out there. Movies, TV shows, and even live coverages and sports events have never been more accessible now that streaming has reached its peak. But perhaps little-known and overshadowed by these provisions is non-fiction media. Documentaries, in particular, are compelling and informative, great feats of storytelling, yet they're not as widely promoted as the other forms of content. Thankfully, there are many streamers that focus significantly on documentaries. Below, we list the best services to watch documentaries on your Roku.

Sling's "Orange" plan will get you channels like ESPN and Freeform, while the"Blue" plan will get you channels like TBS and Lifetime. If you get the "AMC+ extra", you sign yourself up for one of the most cost-efficient bundles of the cord-cutting era. For $7, you will get AMC+ (which costs $6.99 as a standalone service), plus Shudder ($4.95 standalone), plus Sundance Now ($6.99 standalone), plus IFC Films Unlimited ($5.99)

Name a better bundle deal. I'll wait.

Price: $42/month

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Channel lineup: Sling Blue or Sling Orange channels

Discovery+ is a streaming service from the famous mass media company that has an ad-supported plan for $4.99 a month and an ad-free plan for $6.99. This includes content from Discovery, TLC, Animal Planet, Food Network, HGTV, ID, A&E, History, Lifetime, OWN, Travel, Science Network, and The Dodo. But beware, you cannot stream these channels live with a Discovery+, you can only watch their TV shows in playback.

Price: $4.99/month

Free Trial: 7 days

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Kanopy is an on-demand streaming service that schools and public libraries all around the US offer students and members for free. All you have to do is enter the details of your participating institution and you can start watching as you please. Because of the academic nature of the platform, Kanopy makes sure it streams only the most essential and important content available, which could mean hard-hitting films like Moonlight, Portrait of a Lady on Fire, Lady Bird, Dogtooh, Memento, and Howard's End for certain viewers, or The Adventures of Paddington, Richard Scarry, and The Monster Math Squad for even other, younger viewers. There are also storybooks, documentaries, and educational programs available to watch as Kanopy makes sure to cater to every learner regardless of leaning or age.

Price: free for channels available

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Sundance costs $6.99 per month, with an annual subscription that goes for $59.99.

In addition to watching Sundance Now on the web, you can stream from the service’s apps for mobile, (Android and iOS) and media streaming (Apple TV, Chromecast, Fire TV, and Roku). 

Sundance Now does not offer any apps on game consoles, such as the Xbox One or PlayStation 4.

Price: $6.99/month

Free Trial: 7 days

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Ovid.tv is an on-demand streaming platform dedicated to independent movies, and is currently available in the US and Canada. 

In the US, Ovid.tv costs $6.99 per month or $69 per year.

You can access Ovid.tv via mobile platforms including Android and iOS, as well as media streaming devices including Android TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Fire TV, and Roku. However, Ovid.tv does not offer any apps for game consoles at the moment. 

Price: $6.99/month

Free Trial: 14 days

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If you lived through the '80s, you may have heard of Night Flight, the nighttime cable channel that aired punk rock music videos, low-budget monster flicks, psychedelic documentaries, and adult cartoons, among many others. It went under at the turn of the '90s but has recently returned to join the streaming wars, seemingly bigger and better than ever. As a subscription-based streaming service, Night Flight Plus gives you access to classic gems, plus new content from partner studio companies. It's basically a time capsule with extra room for all the new niche movies it could've aired during its prime. If you're looking for carefully curated nostalgic picks, Night Flight Plus is a great choice to consider.

Price: $4.99/month

Free Trial: 7 days

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MagellanTV’s content focuses mostly on documentaries. New movies and series are added weekly, so the library is frequently updated. This streamer is for people who love learning about science, space, and the earth. MagellanTV provides a thoughtfully curated selection of films that focus on current events and global topics of importance. The cheapest subscription it offers is $4.99/month and it has a 14-day free trial. It was launched in 2019.

Price: $4.99/month

Free Trial: 14 days

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The History Vault has all the best of The History channel: excellent documentaries, informative series, travel shows, and of course, historical specials. The difference is that the streamer offers all this on-demand and ad-free, with curated collections and exclusive titles to boot. Some programs that are no longer available on the cable channel can also be found in the Vault. If you're a fan of quality deep dives on everything and anything related to history and humanity, then this streamer is for you. 

Price: $4.99/month

Free Trial: 7 days

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Fandor is a paid subscription streaming service that curates independent, foreign, award-winning, and classic films, as well as documentaries from all over the world, making it a standout option for cinephiles. Depending on your location, it also offers a number of free movie titles. But Fandor doesn't only cater to fans; rookie directors also get some love as the service allows them to debut their work on the platform. It's a great option for film lovers and makers alike.

Price: $5.99/month

Free Trial: 14 days

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True to its name, Documentary+ is a free ad-supported service that streams documentaries as well as non-fiction shorts and series. It has a straightforward interface that has categories like "award winners," "true crime," "festival darlings," "women stories," and "Black stories," as well as films from renowned directors including Werner Herzog, Spike Jonze, Kathryn Bigelow, and Terrence Malick. 

Interestingly, the service also has a live channel you can put on anytime. It’s compatible with all major streaming devices, but you can also access it as a channel on live TV services like Amazon’s freevee and Sling’s freestream.

Price: free for channels available

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CuriosityStream is an American streaming services that focuses on documentary movies and shows and is available in more than 175 countries.

In the US, pricing starts at $4.99 per month or $39.99 per year for the basic plan, with an upgrade to the 4K Monthly plan available for $9.99 per month or $69.99 per year. 

CuriosityStream can be accessed via web browser as well as Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Fire TV, Roku, and has a mobile app that is compatible across Apple and PC computers, and Android and iOS phones and tablets. 

Price: $4.99/month

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Ready to cut the cord? Here are the 14 live TV streaming services that offer a free trial.

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The streaming services on this page were chosen by our editors. If you choose to subscribe to a streaming service we recommend as a result of our research, analysis, and curation, our work is sometimes (but not always) supported by an affiliate commission from the streaming service when you make a purchase.

That's all from us for the 10 Best Services to Watch Documentaries on Roku!