Do you love true crime and investigation television? Then Investigation Discovery (ID) is perfect for you. You can watch some of the most shocking TV with stories pulled right from the headlines. And cord-cutters don’t need to worry because ID is widely available from streaming services.
In a hurry? If you just want to start watching ID and not go through all the pros and cons of your options, here are our three favorite options:
- FuboTV: Although known as a sports-oriented service, it’s 100+ channel lineup includes a broadrange of channels. Try it free for 7 days!
- Hulu + Live TV: Adds 85+ live TV channels to its outstanding on-demand library for a great general entertainment service. Check it out with a free 7-day trial!
- Philo: Get ID, three Discovery channels, and over 55 more for just $25/mo. Or try it out for a week free to see if it’s right for you!
Table Of Contents
Investigation Discovery, or ID, as it goes by these days, is Discovery’s foray into the true crime genre. It’s not hard to understand why true crime stories are so popular: they’re real-life mystery stories that beg for resolution.
True crime’s roots go back to Jack the Ripper and beyond, but the current surge in popularity is widely credited to the runaway success of the 2014 podcast Serial, the 2015 HBO documentary miniseries The Jinx, and the 2015 Netflix series Making a Murderer. Since 2016, ID’s ratings have soared and it’s become one of the most popular cable channels.
Read on to find out how you can catch the next episode of Detective Diaries and not get (financially) murdered by your cable bill.
How to Watch Investigation Discovery Live Without Cable
ID, as its name implies, is owned by Discovery Inc, which also owns Animal Planet, Discovery, Food Network, HGTV, Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), TLC, Travel Channel, Cooking Channel, Destination America, Discovery Life, Discovery Family, and DIY Network.
ID fans may also be interested in several other channels dedicated to crime, true or fictional: A&E’s Crime + Investigation, Law & Crime, Oxygen, and Start TV.
Although the term “cable channels” has stuck, you don’t need a cable company anymore to watch these channels. Several services stream the same channels over the internet, which you can watch just like a cable service.
Unlike a cable service, however, streaming services require no contracts, no installation visits, no long-term commitments. And they generally cost less. Which services carry ID? Take a look below.
Streaming Services with Investigation Discovery
All the major streaming services carry ID, so you’ve got options. Discovery either makes its channels irresistibly low-cost to license, or makes a lot of deals, because every service also carries the core Discovery brands — Discovery, Food Network, HGTV, and TLC — in its base package.
Read on to see what other channels might interest you.
FuboTV is a great service for the hard-core sports fan, but it’s got a lot more than just sports. Fubo’s Starter plan provides well over 100 channels for $64.99/mo. This includes ID and Discovery, all your local networks, Animal Planet, OWN, Oxygen, and Travel Channel.
Go for the Elite plan for $79.99/mo and you’ll also pick up 48 more channels including Discovery Life, Discovery Family, Cooking Channel, Destination America, DIY Network, and Dan Abrams’s Law & Crime Trial Network. Or you can add these channels with the Fubo Extra add-on for $7.99/mo.
All plans come with a seven-day free trial, 250 hours of cloud DVR storage, and simultaneous streaming on up to 3 devices.
Read our FuboTV review for more information.
Hulu + Live TV
Hulu’s on-demand library is arguably the best because of its next-day availability of many of your favorite shows. Hulu + Live TV adds over 85 live channels to that for $64.99/mo. This includes ID and Discovery, all your local broadcast network affiliates, Animal Planet, Oxygen, Start TV, and Travel Channel.
Sign up for Hulu Live’s Entertainment Add-on for $7.99/mo and you’ll also enjoy Cooking Channel, Crime + Investigation, Destination America, Discovery Life, Discovery Family, and DIY Network.
Hulu offers a free trial for 7 days, 50 hours of cloud DVR, and streaming on up to 2 devices at the same time. See our Hulu + Live TV review for details.
Philo is only $25/mo, but it saves money by passing on expensive affiliate markets (your local broadcast networks), WarnerMedia channels (HBO, former Turner channels), and NBCUniversal networks (E!, Bravo, Oxygen). It’s light on news channels and has no sports networks at all. But if it has what you’re looking for, it’s a great deal.
Philo’s 60+ channels include ID and the core Discovery channels, Animal Planet, Cooking Channel, Crime + Investigation, Destination America, DIY Network, Law & Crime, OWN, and Travel Channel. It features unlimited cloud DVR storage, streaming on up to 3 screens at a time, and a 7-day free trial.
For more information see our Philo review.
The Sling Blue package is $35/mo for 40+ channels, streamable on up to 3 screens at one time with 50 hours of cloud DVR. It includes ID, Discovery, and Travel Channel. You can find Cooking Channel, DIY Network, and Oxygen in the Lifestyle Extra add-on, Destination America in the Heartland Extra, Law & Crime in the News Extra, and Start TV in the Hollywood Extra — each for $6/mo or less if you get a bundle.
Sling TV has, by far, the fewest Discovery channels of any of the streaming services; it doesn’t carry Animal Planet, Discovery Life, Discovery Family, or OWN at all. But it does offer a great channel selection for a very low price. And you can get the first month is just $10.
Our Sling TV review lays out all your options.
DirecTV Stream (formerly AT&T TV) is a good “gateway” service for people who want the benefits of streaming but with as little major change to their setup as possible. It’s the only service that offers its own proprietary device, similar to a cable box, complete with voice-activated remote control.
Its base Entertainment plan is $69.99/mo for roughly 80 channels, including ID and Discovery plus Animal Planet and your local broadcast channels. The next tier, Choice, is $84.99/mo and you get all the Entertainment channels and Cooking Channel, Oprah Winfrey Network, Travel Channel, and regional sports networks.
Destination America, Discovery Life, Discovery Family, DIY Network, and Oxygen are all on the Ultimate tier ($94.99). Crime + Investigation is available as an add-on.
To see all your options, read our DirecTV Stream review.
Vidgo is a two-tiered service aimed at families and college sports fans. Their base plan, Vidgo Plus, is $55/mo for over 85 channels, including ID, Discovery, Animal Planet, DIY Network, Law & Crime, OWN, and Travel Channel. Vidgo Premium is $79.99/mo and adds Discovery Family, Discovery Life, Cooking Channel, and Destination America, among others.
You can stream on up to 3 screens at a time, but there is no DVR functionality or on-demand content. Broadcast networks are limited to Fox and ABC. Like Sling, there’s no free trial but the first month is $10.
Check out our Vidgo review for more information.
Other Ways to Stream Investigation Discovery
There are other ways to get the ID live stream or just the on-demand content:
- Hulu: The base on-demand plan for $6.99/mo has back seasons of a half-dozen ID shows, most notably Homicide Hunter and Deadly Women.
- YouTube TV: Similar to Hulu + Live TV, features 85+ channels for $64.99/mo, including ID and Discovery.
- ID Website: Some shows/episodes require a TV provider login (eg, streaming service), like the most recent episodes of On the Case with Paula Zahn. But there’s a lot to watch free, like the entire seven-season run of American Monster.
- Discovery+: Discovery’s on-demand streaming subscription service, with exclusive series as well as classic shows and specials from across all the Discovery brands. Plans start at $4.99/mo with a 7-day free trial.
TVs and Devices to Live Stream ID
You’ll need a streaming device to watch ID. Fortunately, the streaming services we’ve discussed support most that are currently in use. For example, they all support the “stick” devices: Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, and Roku.
Android and iOS mobile devices are similarly supported. And you can use them (and some web browsers) to cast ID to your TV via Chromecast.
Other than DirecTV Stream, all services support smart TVs that are based on Android TV.
Other than Philo and Vidgo, the services support Samsung smart TVs. FuboTV, Hulu + Live TV, and Sling TV support LG and Vizio smart TVs. FuboTV also supports Hisense TVs. Fubo, Hulu, and Sling support the Xbox One. Hulu also supports the PlayStation.
These are just the most popular devices. Our streaming reviews have complete lists.
As you can see by this list, there is no need to live in terror from your cable bill. And you don’t need Paula Zahn to close this case!
Just sign up for one of the streaming services discussed in this article and you can enjoy ID while making sure your predatory cable bill never targets you again!
Where did Investigation Discovery come from?
ID launched back in 1996 with the ridiculously cumbersome name “Discovery Civilization Network: The World History and Geography Channel.” It was part of a four-channel bundle together with what would become Destination America, Science, and Discovery Family. From 2002 to 2006, The New York Times and Discovery ran the channel together, first as Discovery Civilization Channel and then as Discovery Times. They experimented with focusing on current events and modern history, then on US culture.
The Times left the venture in 2006, but the name didn’t change until the 2008 relaunch as Investigation Discovery with a newly appointed focus on true crime stories. The now-popular network rebranded as simply ID in 2020, with a brand new logo.
How can I watch entertainment channels beside ID without cable?
These guides explain how cord-cutters can watch other popular entertainment channels: