Mandatory Streaming Battles: Apple TV+ vs. Disney+
With so many streaming services literally at your fingertips, it can take longer to figure out where to get your next entertainment fix than it does to actually binge-watch a season of a new, trending show. The latest combatants in the streaming wars are Apple TV+ and Disney+, which both launched this month. If your cash and time are limited, you definitely don’t need to double up on these streaming services. Only one is really worthy of your eyeballs. So which one is it? We’ll break it down in this Mandatory Streaming Battle!
Cover Photo: Apple TV+ and Disney+
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Apple TV+ hasn’t disclosed subscriber numbers but one analyst estimated it might reach 10 million subscribers in its first year.
Disney+ pulled in over 10 million subscribers on its launch day alone. What’s more, its app boasted 3.2 million downloads during that same time period. Ironically, it also landed in the No. 1 spot of the Apple App Store in the U.S. and Canada. By 2024, the company hopes to have 90 million subscribers.
After a seven-day free trial, Apple TV+ will set you back a mere $4.99 a month or $49.99 annually. If you happen to be in the market for a new Apple TV, iPad, iPhone, or Mac PC, you may also receive a year’s subscription for free.
Disney+ also offers a seven-day free trial, but its monthly subscription is set at $6.99 or $69.99 annually. You may be able to lower the monthly cost if you bundle it with Hulu and ESPN for $12.99 a month (which would only be worth it if you actually watch those other outlets). Some Verizon Wireless customers are also eligible for a free subscription for one year.
Winner: Apple TV+
Apple TV+ released a slew of original content upon launch, including star-studded news drama The Morning Show, sci-fi series For All Mankind and See, literary comedy Dickinson, Oprah’s Book Club, animated series Snoopy in Space, and several other children’s programs from Sesame Workshop. Coming eventually are also M. Night Shyamalan’s psychological thriller Servant, Steven Spielberg-inspired sci-fi series Amazing Stories, Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon’s look at real-life immigration in Little America, and video game comedy Mythic Quest (from the It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia creators).
Disney+’s original TV content is more family oriented, but does include Star Wars series The Mandalorian, nature series The World According to Jeff Goldblum, and a High School Musical reboot series. Marvel Phase 4 TV shows are also in the works. Because Disney acquired 20th Century Fox, you’ll be able to watch shows like The Simpsons as well.
Winner: Apple TV+
Apple TV+ offered one film, a documentary called The Elephant Queen, at launch. Coming soon, however, is Hala, a drama about a Pakistani American Muslim high schooler; Truth Be Told, a crime novel adaptation starring Octavia Spencer; and The Banker, a 1950s true story starring Samuel L. Jackson
Disney+ really shines with its back catalog, which is nearly 500 films strong. Watch everything from the studio’s classic films to modern movies from Pixar, Marvel, and the Star Wars Universe.
Winner: Disney TV+
Apple TV+ is available on iOS and Mac devices as well as Apple TV boxes, second-generation Amazon Fire TV Cube, third-generation Amazon Fire TV, Roku TVs, Samsung smart TVs, streaming sticks, and set-top boxes. You can also access it via its website if you use Chrome, Firefox, or Safari browsers. If you want to watch Apple TV+ on your Android or gaming console, though, you’re SOL.
Disney+ is available in all the places Apple TV+ is as well as Android phones and tablets, Chromecast, Microsoft’s Xbox One, and Sony’s Playstation 4.
Neither streaming service features ads and both let you download as well as stream in 4K resolution.
Apple TV+ allows up to six members on one account. It does not have a kids mode, but it does offer subtitles and dubbing in dozens of languages (which is great for international audiences, we guess, except that most of us only watch in one language). Apple TV+ also boasts Apple TV Channels, which will allow you to sign up for additional streaming services, like Showtime and HBO, from its app.
Disney+ allows 10 members on an account, though only four of those can stream concurrently. Disney+ has a kids mode and parental controls. Disney+ offers its original content in over 16 languages and its back catalog in four languages.
While Apple TV+ is definitely the bargain streaming service here, the low cost is pretty much its only advantage over Disney+. While the shows that debuted on Apple TV+ at launch have star power that Disney+ doesn’t (yet), it’d only take you a weekend to exhaust the options on Apple TV+. Disney+ has far more options for both TV and movie viewers, and while it’s aimed toward families with young children, Gen Zers and millennials will find plenty of entertaining ways to pass time on the streaming service, whether it’s indulging favorite films from childhood or reliving the best movies Marvel has to offer. In this Mandatory Streaming Battle, there’s really no contest: Disney+ is better equipped to keep you entertained. In the end, you get what you pay for, and Disney+ is a better investment of your entertainment dollars.
Overall Winner: Disney+