Coming for the crown

Disney+

The original streamer

Netflix

Disney+ is taking hold of its own streaming destiny and offering an unparalleled selection of content from Disney, Marvel, Lucasfilm, and beyond. It's still working through its learning curve, but even at launch it's quite the tantalizing temptation.

$70/year at Disney+

Pros

  • Exclusive streaming of most Disney content
  • Affordable pricing and bundles
  • More family-friendly account structuring

Cons

  • Less adult content (for now)
  • Available on fewer platforms

One of the first streaming services, Netflix has redefined how we view TV and movies. While the loss of Disney owned properties has taken a bite out of Netflix's library, it still dwarfs Disney+, but more isn't always better.

From $9/mo at Netflix

Pros

  • Wider, more varied content library
  • Available on far more platforms
  • Larger selection of adult and international content

Cons

  • More expensive for multiple streams and 4K
  • Losing most Disney and NBC content in 2020
  • Lots of duds and dreck in the catalog

Disney+ offers some of the highest rated movies and shows in the world. Its monthly subscription fee is cheaper and it offers an annual fee that can save consumers even more. It will be the only source for the vast majority of Disney owned content at launch with even more content leaving Netflix over the next couple years. If you were only going to pick one streaming service, Disney+ would be the winner for most folks, but the coming "streaming wars" aren't a zero-sum game.

Prices and features

Battle of the media titansSource: Android Central

If you're picking one of these streaming plans over the other, chances are that it's about not being able to justify paying for two streaming services, and in this regard Disney has been very aggressive with its pricing against Netflix's trio of plans. Whereas 4K streaming and four concurrent streams needs the $16/month Netflix Premium, you can pay half that price for the same 4K streaming and four concurrent streams on Disney+ — or less than half if you opt for the yearly billing rather than monthly.

Disney+ Netflix Basic Netflix Standard Netflix Premium
Price $7/mo
$70/year
$9/mo $13/mo $16/mo
Trial period 7 days 30 days 30 days 30 days
HD streaming ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
4K streaming ✔️ ✔️
Concurrent streams 4 1 2 4
Profile limit per account 7 5 5 5

Disney+'s trial period is shorter than Netflix's, but that won't be nearly as big a deciding factor for most of us as opposed to the high number of concurrent streams and user profiles. Netflix's five-profile limit has been a huge limitation for larger families, and Disney+ allowing for seven profiles gives families more breathing room rather than forcing the kids to all share a single Kids profile.

4K streaming is included for all Disney+ subscribers, but, unfortunately, 4K streaming won't be available on quite as many devices as Netflix because Disney+ won't be available on quite as many platforms as Netflix is. This isn't surprising; after all Netflix comes on just about every TV, Blu-ray player, and entertainment console sold in America today. Disney+ does have a few blemishes on the platform front since it won't be on Fire TV devices.

Platform Disney+ Netflix
Android phones/tablets ✔️ ✔️
Android TV ✔️ ✔️
Chromecast ✔️ ✔️
iOS & iPadOS ✔️ ✔️
Apple TV ✔️ ✔️
Fire tablets ✔️
FireTV devices ✔️
Roku ✔️ ✔️
Xbox One ✔️ ✔️
PlayStation 4 ✔️ ✔️
Nintendo Switch ✔️
Web client Issues on Linux/Chrome OS ✔️
Smart TVs Android TV-run Sony TVs
Roku TVs
Chromecast built-in TVs
FireTV TVs
Roku TVs
Hisense
LG
Panasonic
Philips
Samsung
Sanyo
Sharp
Sony
Vizio

While Chromecast means it won't be hard to get Disney+ onto a TV, not having apps for most major smart TVs at launch will be inconvenient for users that are used to just hitting the Netflix button on their remotes and getting their binge on. Disney's engineers are working to bring Disney+ to more platforms, but that takes time and these are all we've got at launch. It won't be able to compete with Netflix in that regard for a while.

Content: A tale of two massive media libraries

Having been in the streaming business as long as Netflix has, it makes sense that its library would dwarf most, if not all of the competition. While Netflix has had a noticeable bite taken out of its library with Disney opting not to extend its contracts, Netflix still has over 47,000 episodes of television shows and over 4,000 movies. At launch, Disney+ will have about 7,500 episodes of television shows and about 500 movies, less than a fifth the size of Netflix's library.

Platform Disney+ Netflix
Films available 500+ 4,000+
TV series available 7,500+ episodes 47,000+ episodes
Notable Original Series The Mandalorian
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier
Stranger Things
Bojack Horseman
Narcos
Notable Films Captain Marvel
Star Wars Episode I-VIII
Every Disney theatrical animated film
The Irishman
El Camino
Roma

That said, as anyone who's every surfed Netflix will no doubt tell you, that massive library doesn't mean much if most of it's trash. While there are thousands of titles absolutely worth losing days and nights of your short life to on Netflix, you'll have to dig through about 2-3 times the chaff to get to the kernels of goodness.

The quality ratio on Disney is much higher than Netflix, especially if you have a child or child-at-heart in the house.

Disney's got plenty of old (mostly live action) films on Disney+ that probably aren't worth the server space they're taking up, but the quality ratio on Disney is much higher than Netflix, especially if you have a child or child-at-heart in the house.

Disney+ isn't just for kids, though: some of the biggest blockbusters on the planet are on here like Avengers: Infinity War, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Avatar, Black Panther, Toy Story 3, Pirates of the Carribean — films that drew in just as many adults as they did kids. The most hotly anticipated show on Disney+ is The Mandalorian, a gritty dark Star Wars series about bounty hunters and lawlessness after the collapse of the Empire, something you wouldn't really want to show your kids.

Netflix has a huge, if slightly shrinking, amount of content for you to watch, but Disney+ has it beat on average quality. If you prefer to mostly watch mature content, you'd probably be better off with Hulu, but considering you can get Hulu, ESPN+, and Disney+ for less than a Netflix Premium subscription, Disney still comes out ahead in that fight.

So, Disney+ or Netflix?

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. Fortunately, with the number of ways you can get Disney+ or Netflix included with another service, you may not have to choose at all:

  • If you're a T-Mobile customer, you can already get Netflix for free.
  • If Verizon is your current wireless provider, you can get a year of Disney+ for free.
  • Disney will be offering a bundle of Disney+, ESPN+, and basic Hulu for $13/month on Nov. 12, which is less than Netflix's 4K Premium plan.

There's definite benefits and pitfalls to both services, but in the cordcutting age, Netflix and Disney+ are going to be fighting for your screen time more than they're fighting for your money. You can subscribe to both services and still pay far less than cable, but at the end of the day, you can only watch one stream at a time, and for at least the next few months. Disney+ has my eyeballs and undivided attention as I dive into all the old TV shows I haven't been able to find online since they stopped airing in the late 90's.

Coming for the crown

Disney+

The newest streaming service is changing the game.

Disney+ is taking hold of its own streaming destiny and offering an unparralled selection of content from Disney, Marvel, Lucasfilm, and beyond. It's still working through its learning curve, but even at launch it's quite the tantalizing temptation.

Streaming Veteran

Netflix

The OG of streaming services may just be dethroned

One of the first streaming services, Netflix has redefined how we view TV and movies. While the loss of Disney owned properties has taken a bite out of Netflix's library, it still dwarfs Disney+, but more isn't always better.

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