With so many video streaming services to choose from and more joining the market each year, subscribing to all of them is no longer an option for the average consumer. Backed by one of the biggest entertainment companies on the planet, Disney+ will be available beginning Nov. 12 and already poses a threat to other streaming services like Amazon Prime. With most of the biggest box office hits in its library, Disney+ is not held back by it's significantly smaller collection of movies and shows.
Why pick one streaming service over another?
While a cable or satellite package is still the primary way most people watch TV and movies, streaming is steadily taking up more and more of that market. You can watch any available content any time of day or night, pause and pick back up hours or even days later, and often have access to entire seasons of content instead of one episode a week — it's easy to see why more people are opting to subscribe to streaming services.
There are certainly plenty to choose from, but how do you choose, especially when you're on a budget? Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ are both relatively inexpensive for the year, but for many, it might not be worth getting both.
|Disney+||Amazon Prime Video|
|Quantity||7,500+ episodes, 500+ movies||~2,000 shows, 18,000+ movies|
|Simultaneous Streams||Up to four devices at once||Up to three devices at once
Two devices with the same show or movie
|Quality||more popular movies and shows||fewer box office hits|
|Variety||more family focused||both adult and family focused|
At first glance, Disney+ beats out Amazon Prime Video in price, number of simultaneous streams, and quality. Amazon Prime Video beats Disney+ in quantity, variety, and supported devices but do either make up for the price difference alone?
Disney+ is cheaper than Amazon Prime Video and allows more simultaneous streams for that price. However, Amazon Prime Video is part of an Amazon Prime membership, which includes far more than just its video streaming service. For customers who shop on Amazon often, the free two-day shipping alone could cover the cost of the annual membership. Prime memberships also include a music streaming service, an e-book service, access to a number of specialized shopping experiences and more.
While Disney+ is cheaper, it is unlikely that customers who use all the other features of a Prime membership will see the $15-29 in annual savings as enough reason to switch.
Ways to watch
|Platform||Disney+||Amazon Prime Video|
|Android TV||✔️||Only on Shield TV|
Disney+ is at a disadvantage in this category if only because it is new. Amazon has had more time to develop apps for various streaming devices, smart TVs, and gaming consoles. As a result, you can watch Amazon Prime Video in more places than you will be able to watch Disney+ at launch.
Both services work on desktops, and both Android and Apple phones but Disney+ won't stream to Roku devices or the Nintendo Switch at launch. Likewise, many smart TVs and cable boxes won't have support for Disney+ just yet.
When it comes to content, both Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video have some incredible options.
|Platform||Disney+||Amazon Prime Video|
|TV series available||7,500+ episodes||2,000+ shows|
|Notable Original Series||The Mandalorian
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier
|The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
The Man in the High Castle
|Notable Films||Captain Marvel
Star Wars Episode I-VIII
Every Disney theatrical animated film
|The Big Sick
Manchester by the Sea
I Am Not Your Negro
At launch, Disney+ will have about 7,500 episodes of television shows and about 500 movies, a small fraction of what is available on Amazon Prime Video. If having the most choices is your priority, Disney+ just can't compete. That having been said, no one person, not even a large family, could possibly watch even a fraction of that. Which brings us to the next and, in my opinion, the most important category: variety.
Disney+ is going to have access to its decades-old library of family-friendly movies and TV, along with the catalogs form Lucasfilm, Marvel, and now 20th Century Fox. While not every option from those backlogs will be available, there will be a lot of recognizable, big-budget content.
Amazon Prime, on the other hand, is more scattered. It offers movies and shows rated higher than PG-13 and allows members to add on additional channels in much the same way a customer adds HBO or a sports package to their cable. While most of these additional channels cost between $6 and $15 a month, that can add up fast. If you're completely cord cutting, you may already be picking up some of these channels but for someone who is still subscribing to cable, it is likely cheaper to go through your cable provider than to add on the channels to your Prime membership.
As both Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ have more shows and movies than anyone could ever watch, it's more important to assess the quality of the shows and movies. Unless you were living under a rock last April, you probably heard about the box office hit Avengers: Endgame. When Endgame hit theaters, one of the biggest questions being asked (besides which Avengers survived to the end) was if Endgame would beat out the number one grossing movie of all time: Avatar. It did unseat the former champion but the real irony there is that both movies are owned by Disney. In fact, if you look back at the highest grossing films of all time, only three of the top ten are owned by a company other than Disney.
Still, Disney+ may have most of the top grossing films in the world but Amazon Prime has invested more into developing its original content and the world is certainly taking notice. Nearly 100 Amazon Prime Original series have been nominated for or won awards.
So, Disney+ or Amazon Prime Video?
Both of these streaming services will provide countless hours of entertainment and both will offer programming the other cannot. As a result, many will choose to pay for both. If I were only comparing the movie streaming services, Disney+ would win out hands down but because Amazon Prime Video is part of a Prime membership, although people might not cancel that just to get Disney+.
Ways to save on both
Fortunately, there are ways you can get Disney+ included with another service, so you may not have to choose at all. If Verizon is your current cable, internet, or wireless provider, you can get Disney+ for free. For current subscribers of Hulu and ESPN+, Disney offers a bundle of the three services for $13 a month. And if you're already ordering frequently on Amazon, the savings you get with free shipping can easily pay for your Prime Membership.
Even if you don't get Disney+ free or discounted and you don't use enough of the other Amazon Prime membership benefits to justify the cost, both together are still cheaper than most cable packages. For some, a choice will have to be made between Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video but for many, the real choice will be which show or movie out of the tens of thousands they offer will you be watching tonight.
The newest streaming service is changing the game
Disney+ offers most of the highest grossing movies and popular shows in the world. Where it lacks in sheer quantity it more than makes up in both classics from everyone's childhood and the latest box office hits.
More than just streaming
Part of your Amazon Prime membership
Amazon Prime Video is included with Prime membership, something that many households already rely on. It has a bigger library than almost any other streaming service and an incredible selection of original content.
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