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Disney has finally entered the streaming market, and despite some stumbling out of the gate, it looks like things will go well for the giant in this arena. At $6.99 per month, the price is certainly right, and where Disney+ stands out is its exclusive content. There is no shortage of Marvel and Pixar movies, which are definitely multi-watch worthy. There are enough Disney favorites like “Moana” and “Finding Dory” to keep kids busy for hours. And of course, it has all the Star Wars content, including the highly anticipated, worth-the-price-of-admission, “The Mandalorian” — an original, live-action Star Wars series. What it lacks in depth, Disney+ more than makes up for in quality, especially considering that streaming in 4K is an option.
Disney+ Packages at a Glance
How We Evaluated Disney+
We scoured the web for user reviews, tech reviews, and industry news. What we found was overwhelmingly consistent: Disney+’s main selling point is content. Disney owns a large number of popular franchises, giving Disney+ a leg up on more entrenched competitors. Some users have lamented the lack of certain features in the interface, such as the lack of a continue watching feature or tracking your watch progress. However, the company has been taking steps to fix these issues. Since the Disney+ apps are similar to others and sure to be fully featured soon, we looked mostly at content in our evaluation of the service.
Disney+ vs. Other Video Streaming Services
Key Disney+ Features
At the risk of being repetitive, Disney+’s main feature is content. All the Star Wars movies in one place, plus Marvel, Pixar, and “The Mandalorian”? Yes, please. And if the service keeps updating its offerings, adds syndicated content, scores a few high-quality series, and works in all the newly acquired 21st Century Fox material, it should have plenty to keep watchers busy for a long time. Disney+ content is currently sparse compared to services like Netflix that have been building a deep library for a long time. But remember, it occupies a very particular niche. The service has amazing, well-known offerings that other providers don’t have.
Some services limit your ability to download titles for playback without an internet connection. Netflix users can keep 100 titles on a single device (which is a lot), Amazon Prime Video allows 15 or 25 titles (depending on where you are) across all your devices, and Hulu’s limit is 25 titles across five devices. Hulu also makes you watch your downloads within 30 days, and it will remove titles you have already watched after two days. Disney+, on the other hand, allows unlimited downloads of its entire catalog. Like Hulu, the service restricts the time you can keep videos on your device to 30 days. Even so, having all those amazing movies and shows available for offline watching is a huge plus.
As is typical for newly released platforms, there were some issues when Disney+ rolled out that put its users’ privacy and security in jeopardy. Luckily, however, Disney has been quick to introduce updates, and several necessary features appeared quickly. In general, the interface is clean and familiar. The intuitive carousel design serves up the big hits, and Disney’s major properties (Marvel, Pixar, etc.) pop up right on top. There is a useful genre sorting feature and a Netflix-style search function on the left of the screen. All in all, the interface isn’t revolutionary, but that’s a good thing. If you’re familiar with other streaming services, you’ll be right at home in the Disney+ apps.
The Bottom Line
The best way to summarize Disney+ is with two words: exclusive content. There’s nothing particularly awe-inspiring about the Disney+ app, and the raw volume of movies and shows available doesn’t match other streaming services. Even so, if you want access to your favorite Disney, Marvel, and Pixar movies 24/7, plus Star Wars content both old and new, you’ll need Disney+. It won’t replace your Netflix or Amazon Prime Video accounts, but it’s the only place to get your fix of “The Mandalorian” and future Star Wars and Marvel series.