Disney’s much-anticipated video streaming service is now available across many countries, including the UK and US.
It’s Disney’s answer to Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, but with a difference: it’s the exclusive home to shows and movies from the studio, including Star Wars, Marvel, Pixar and many more.
Here is everything you need to know about Disney+, including price, shows and release dates for regions that don’t yet have it.
What is Disney Plus?
Disney+ (AKA Disney Plus) is a video streaming service. You can access it on multiple devices, including mobile phones, tablets, smart TVs, and set-top boxes. It doesn’t require a cable subscription in the US, but it does require a subscription fee every month.
First touted in 2017, Disney sees it as a “big strategic shift” for the company, with its extensive library of content, including Marvel and Star Wars titles, disappearing from Netflix and other services in order to be exclusive to Disney+.
The majority of the content on Disney+ is appropriate for all ages, while shows and movies aimed at older audiences are switching over to the company’s other streaming platform, Hulu.
What TV shows and movies can you watch on Disney+?
Marvel Studios films and shows, as well as the Star Wars franchises, are all exclusive to Disney+. The streaming service also has Pixar titles, Disney animated classics from the Disney Vault, over 500 films from the Disney library, Disney Channel movies, and around 7,000 TV shows from Disney itself, the Disney-owned Fox and National Geographic.
Not all content is available across all regions, however.
For example, the UK and Central Europe isn’t carrying Frozen 2 (nor Onwards) from launch – they are only initially being made available to customers in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the Netherlands.
In better news, UK viewers do get the entire archive of 30 seasons of The Simpsons – a relief as it was previously rumoured that it wouldn’t be part of the service.
What does Disney+ feature?
Disney+ offers shows and movies in up to 4K HDR (Dolby Vision) and will up to Dolby Atmos audio. It also includes support for four simultaneous streams and the ability to set-up profiles for family members. There are also parental controls to restrict content depending on age – like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.
Finally, Disney+ has offline viewing, so you can download shows onto a mobile device and watch on the go.
The interface reminds us of a mixture of Apple TV and Netflix. There’s a preview screen on the top third of the TV app, while the bottom has several rows with rectangle content icons. The first row serves up all of Disney’s brands: Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic. Subsequent rows are for recommended content, new TV series or movies, and genres.
Please note, that with the current coronavirus crisis, Disney+ is committed – like other streaming services – to running a reduced bitrate to save internet bandwidth. This means there might be a slight drop in picture and audio quality (no Dolby Atmos, for example). However, the way its algorithms work, you may well not notice at all.
How to watch Disney Plus
Disney+ apps are available to download from app stores across a wide range of hardware, including smart TVs, tablets, smartphones, streaming devices, game consoles, even desktop web browsers. Here’s a list of confirmed devices:
- Amazon Fire TV
- Android mobile devices
- Android TV (including Philips)
- Apple TV (tvOS)
- Desktop web browsers
- iPad (iPadOS)
- iPhone (iOS)
- LG smart TVs (nearly 900 models)
- PlayStation 4
- Roku streaming devices
- Roku TV
- Samsung smart TVs (from 2016 onwards)
- Xbox One
Viewers in the UK can also add Disney+ programming to their Sky Q boxes – and subscribe through a Sky TV account. Now TV devices support the Disney+ app too.
How much does Disney Plus cost?
Disney also bundles all its subscription services in the States – including Disney+, ESPN+, and Hulu – for just $12.99 a month. Keep in mind Hulu is available for $5.99 a month as a standalone with ads, while ESPN+ costs $4.99 a month.
In Canada, the service costs $8.99 (Canadian) per month (or $89.99 per year).
In Central Europe, the price is €6.99 per month (or €69.99 per year) – this includes the Netherlands, Spain, Ireland, Germany, Austria and Switzerland. France will follow soon.
Subscribers in India, where it is also launching soon, will have to pay 1,499 rupees per month. That’s for Disney+Hotstar – a combined service.
Disney+ release dates
Disney+ is available now in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, UK, Ireland Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria and Switzerland and the Netherlands.
Disney+ will launch in India in the Disney+Hotstar package on 3 April 2020.
France was also due to get Disney+ on 24 March with several other European countries but, due to the coronavirus pandemic and at the behest of the French government, its launch in the country has reportedly been put back by “two weeks”. It is now expected to be available in France from 7 April 2020.
Additional European countries, including Belgium, the Nordics and Portugal will follow in summer 2020.
Disney revealed that launch titles may vary by territory, so some shows and movies might not be available in your region.