Disney+, the new streaming service from the company that owns the biggest names in entertainment, is already on the way to becoming Netflix‘s No. 1 rival. In a perfect world, you’d subscribe to both without hesitation. In reality, there are already too many streaming services out there vying for your money and your time. If you could only choose one, which one should it be?
Ultimately, it comes down to your priorities. Disney+ is cheaper and has the big names, but Netflix’s deep and varied content library is tough to beat. Here’s everything you need to know to make an informed decision.
In many ways, the Netflix versus Disney+ battle will come down to a quality-versus-quantity debate. Disney+ has around 600 movies and TV shows. There’s a lot of good stuff in there, but reportedly that’s less than one-fifth of the number of TV shows that Netflix offers, and only one-eighth as many feature films.
But — and this is a big “but” — Disney+’s listings include many of the most popular films and television shows ever made. Within a year after its debut, Disney+ will host all of the Star Wars films, most of which are currently hard to find online. Disney+ is the exclusive digital home for all new Marvel movies, including Captain Marvel and Avengers: Endgame. Every Disney animated film is available on the service (with the exception of Song of the South), as are all 30 seasons of The Simpsons.
Disney+’s original offerings aren’t anything to scoff at, either. With the Star Wars movies going on a three-year hiatus following Star Wars: Episode IX — The Rise of Skywalker, Disney Plus’ live-action Star Wars series will be the only way to get your fix of a galaxy far, far away. In the future, Marvel shows like WandaVision, Falcon and Winter Soldier, Loki, and Hawkeye will tie into theatrical movies like Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. For kids, High School Musical: The Musical: The Series and the Pixar spinoff Forky Asks a Question should be big draws, and the National Geographic content is nice to have, too.
On the other hand, Netflix has poured billions of dollars into its own original programming, and it’s ended up with some of the best shows on television as a result, in a dizzying spectrum of genres and formats. Netflix is the only place where you’ll find established hits such as Stranger Things, The Crown, and Black Mirror, as well as buzzworthy recent releases including Russian Doll and The Haunting of Hill House.
Don’t count out Netflix’s feature film slate, either. From Oscar-winning originals like Roma to cult hits like Hot Fuzz and Moon, Netflix has more movies than you could ever possibly watch. Disney+ might have the biggest blockbusters, but Netflix offers a more varied and eclectic lineup. If you want options, Netflix is the way to go.
Disney+ has less content, but it costs less too. A monthly Disney+ subscription will only set you back $7 (or $70 per year), although we expect that price to rise over time. Disney+ will play on four different devices at once and supports 4K Ultra HD video at no extra charge.
Meanwhile, Netflix keeps getting more expensive. Right now, a Basic plan costs $9 a month, but that only lets you stream one movie at a time and only in SD resolution. A Standard subscription, which includes two simultaneous streams and HD resolution, is $13, while a four-screen Ultra HD Premium plan is $16. Netflix still offers its old disc mailing service, too, which runs between $8 and $15 depending on whether you want DVDs or Blu-rays and how many movies you want to keep at a time. Disney+ will undoubtedly get more expensive — the market all-but demands it — but it’s going to be a sweet bargain for some time.
Disney clearly took a lot of inspiration from Netflix when designing Disney+. The two apps look remarkably similar. Both Netflix and Disney+ have a large window that highlights featured material, followed by horizontal lists that sort content into new releases, personalized recommendations, and other categories. Disney+ has a few extra buttons that let you sort content by franchise, but otherwise, they’re more or less the same.
Disney+ is available on all major streaming devices: Apple TV (tvOS), iOS, Google Chromecast, Android, Android TV, PlayStation 4, Roku, Xbox One, Amazon Fire TV, Samsung smart TVs, and LG smart TV devices all run the Disney+ app.
Similarly, Netflix is already available on virtually every device you can imagine, save the Nintendo Switch. You should be able to stream Netflix on any modern tablet, smartphone, streaming box, gaming console, or smart TV. Check Netflix’s official compatibility list for more specifics.
If your viewing habits skew toward big blockbusters like Marvel and Star Wars, if you have kids who you’re looking to keep busy, or if you’re nostalgic for old Disney Channel shows and ’90s cartoons, you’re going to want Disney+. However, if you’re not a fan of those properties, stick with Netflix.
While it costs more, Netflix offers more variety in terms of genre, has a bigger selection of movies and television shows, and already hosts a large number of critically acclaimed original series. Disney+ is great, but it’s geared toward fans of Disney’s specific brands. By contrast, Netflix is for everyone.
That said, if you’re anything like us, you’ll end up paying for both. While they’re both streaming services, Netflix and Disney+ occupy different niches. Both are incredibly compelling in their own way.
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