Disney Plus 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's also the only source for the vast majority of Disney-owned content right now, with even more content leaving Netflix and other competing platforms over the next couple of years. If you were only going to pick one streaming service, Disney Plus would be the winner for most folks, but the ongoing "streaming wars" aren't a zero-sum game.
Prices and features
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. In this regard, Disney has been very aggressive with its pricing against Netflix's trio of plans. Whereas 4K streaming and four concurrent streams require the $18/month Netflix Premium, you can pay half that price for the same 4K streaming and four concurrent streams on Disney Plus — or less than half if you opt for the yearly billing rather than monthly. This remains true when you consider that, beginning in March 2021, Disney Plus will raise its subscription fees to $8 per month or $80 a year.
|Disney+||Netflix Basic||Netflix Standard||Netflix Premium|
|Profile limit per account||7||5||5||5|
Neither Disney Plus nor Netflix currently offers a free trial period, but that won't be nearly as big a deciding factor for most of us instead of the high number of concurrent streams and user profiles. Netflix's five-profile limit has been a huge limitation for larger families. Disney Plus allows for seven profiles, which gives families more breathing room rather than forcing the kids to all share a single Kids profile.
4K streaming is included for all Disney Plus subscribers. While Disney Plus was not available on Amazon Fire tablets when it first launched in November 2019, all tablet models running Fire OS 5.0 and later are now supported by Disney Plus. Disney Plus is now also available on Amazon Fire TV sticks. As such, the streaming service is currently compatible with nearly the same amount of mobile devices, tablets, smart TVs, and game consoles as Netflix.
|iOS & iPadOS||✔️||✔️|
|Web client||Issues on Linux/Chrome OS||✔️|
|Smart TVs||Android TV-run Sony TVs
Chromecast built-in TVs
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 more than 47,000 episodes of television shows and over 4,000 movies. Disney Plus launched with 7,500 episodes of television shows and about 500 movies, less than a fifth the size of Netflix's library, but is only growing.
|TV series available||7,500+ episodes||47,000+ episodes|
|Notable Original Series||The Mandalorian
The Queen's Gambit
|Notable Films||Avengers: Endgame
Star Wars Episode I-VIII
Every Disney theatrical animated film
That said, as anyone who's ever 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 films on Disney Plus 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 Plus isn't just for kids, though: some of the biggest blockbusters on the planet are on here like Avengers: Endgame, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Avatar, Black Panther, Toy Story 4, Pirates of the Caribbean, Soul — films that drew in just as many adults as they did kids. Disney Plus is also home to Star Wars: The Mandalorian, the series about bounty hunters and lawlessness after the Empire's collapse. The streaming service also has plans to premiere several Star Wars-adjacent and Marvel spinoff series within the next two years.
Disney also plans to launch its new Star brand and Star Plus streaming app in 2021. Launching in select European countries, Canada, and New Zealand on February 23, Star will serve as a free tier within the Disney Plus app. It will carry content from Disney's other non-franchise owned brands, including shows from FX and movies from 20th Century. Star Plus will launch exclusively in Latin America in June 2021 as a standalone streaming service. That service will carry Disney-owned content from its top brands, as well as linear sports content from ESPN and ESPN Plus. Star Plus will cost $7.50 per month (or the local equivalent) or as part of a bundle with Disney Plus for $9 per month (or the local equivalent). It's unclear at this time how the Star and Star plus brands will impact the Disney-owned Hulu brand.
Netflix has a huge, if slightly shrinking, amount of content for you to watch, but Disney Plus has it beat on average quality. If you prefer to mostly watch mature content, you'd probably be better off with Hulu. Still, considering you can get the Hulu, ESPN+, and Disney Plus bundle for less than a Netflix Premium subscription, Disney 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 Plus, 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 currently offers a bundle of Disney+, ESPN+, and basic Hulu for $13/month on Nov. 12, which is less than Netflix's 4K Premium plan.
There are definite benefits and pitfalls to both services, but in the cordcutting age, Netflix and Disney Plus 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. Disney Plus 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 '90s.
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