9 Best Services to Watch Documentaries on Roku

Updated June 21, 2022 • Staff

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.

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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 per month

Device availability: AirTV, Amazon Fire TV, Android, Android TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Cox, iOS, LG TV, Mi Box, Roku, Samsung TV, TiVo, Vizio, Windows 10, Windows 11, Xbox, Xbox One

Channel lineup: Sling Blue or Sling Orange channels

VICE TV is a channel available to certain cable or streaming subscriptions. While it has yet to launch a dedicated subscription of its own, VICE TV is downloadable as an app on media players such as Roku and Apple TV and offers free episodes of its renowned documentaries via YouTube and its online site. VICE TV is a great add-on if you already have an ongoing subscription and don't want to pay extra to see relevant, cutting-edge documentaries from around the world.

Price: free for channels available

Device availability: Android, Apple TV, iOS, Roku, Sling TV

Curation: The amount of shows on-demand are limited to 67 series, so if you easily get overwhelmed by choice, Sundance Now offers more focused curation of high-quality movies and documentaries.

Exclusive streams: According to Sundance Now’s ‘Exclusive’ category it is the only streaming platform to offer the movies Jonestown: Terror in The Jungle, Liar, Motherland, Public Enemy, Sanctuary, and Wisting.

Price: $8.99 per month

Free Trial: 7 days

Device availability: Android, Android TV, Apple TV, Fire TV, iOS, Roku

Unique programming: From high-budget documentaries to lower-budget indie films, the content available through Ovid.tv is far from mainstream, making the library is truly unique compared to other streaming platforms Amount of content: With 900 titles at the time of testing, not only is the programming unique, but it’s also varied and abundant.

Price: $6.99 per month

Free Trial: 14 days

Device availability: Amazon Fire TV, Android, Android TV, Apple TV, iOS, Roku

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 per month

Free Trial: 7 days

Device availability: Amazon FireTV, Apple TV, Roku, Website

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 per month

Free Trial: 14 days

Device availability: Amazon Fire TV, Google Play, iOS, Roku, Samsung, Vizio

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 per month

Free Trial: 7 days

Device availability: Amazon Fire TV, Android, Apple TV, Chromecast, iOS, Roku, Website

Discovery+ has an incredibly big catalog, which the service estimates at 55,000 episodes. But then again, it's not any type of catalog, it's very specific stuff. So before you subscribe, go on their website, browse their programming, and if some of it speaks to you, great! Otherwise, there is little use to having access to so much TV without being interested in it.

Price: $4.99 per month

Free Trial: 7 days

Device availability: Amazon Fire TV, Android, Android TV, iOS, Roku, Samsung TV, Xbox

Viewing quality: All CuriosityStream titles are available in either HD or 4K.

Niche programming: For factual content, CuriosityStream is unrivalled thanks to its regularly updated library of high-quality documentaries, 900 of which are exclusives. 

High value: For a pretty low price, CuriosityStream offers 3,000 titles and has plans to upgrade to 11,000 premium titles within five years.

Flexible: There are no regional or device limitations either so you can stream on as many devices at once as you want, from anywhere in the world.

Price: $2.99 per month

Device availability: Amazon Fire TV, Android, Android TV, Apple TV, iOS, LG TV, Roku, Samsung TV, Xbox

Ready to cut the cord? Here is a recap of all the 100+ streaming services that are competing for your subscription.

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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 9 Best Services to Watch Documentaries on Roku!