Introducing Disney Plus
After many years of planning and persistent rumours, Disney’s long-awaited streaming service launched in Australia on November 19th, 2019 – with Australia as one of only three countries outside the USA and Canada to get access to the service at launch. It marks the beginning of Disney’s efforts to take full control of their film and television brands and properties.
What Makes Disney+ Unique
While Disney has had long-standing arrangements with several Australian providers – most recently their high-profile association with Stan and their dedicated channels on pay TV service Foxtel – the company has been making plans for many years to take direct control of the streaming rights to their movies and TV shows. With their purchase of a vast library of content from 21st Century Fox, including a huge movie and TV catalogue that features the Marvel X-Men films, the original Star Wars and The Simpsons, Disney was ready to announce their long-expected streaming service, named Disney+.
Priced deliberately lower than major streaming services such as Netflix and Stan, Disney+ brings together content from some of the most famous names in entertainment. Aside from movies and TV from Disney itself, the service features movies from Pixar, the Marvel cinematic universe and the Star Wars franchise, alongside documentary content from National Geographic.
Original content is being made for Disney+ as well, including new shows based around the Marvel and Star Wars universes. The new Star Wars series The Mandalorian was available at launch and met with acclaim, while further down the track there are plans for a collection of new shows set in the Marvel universe. Some of Fox’s best-known properties including Home Alone and Night at the Museum are being turned into family TV shows for the service as well.
There’s plenty of original content planned from Disney’s own franchises, too, with several brand new titles available at launch, including a live-action remake of Lady and the Tramp, the Christmas comedy Noelle starring Anna Kendrick, Kristen Bell’s feel-good musical reality show Encore and a new High School Musical series.
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How Much does Disney+ Cost?
While it was expected that Disney+ would be competitively priced, the launch pricing took many by surprise with its affordability. Unlike its competitors, Disney+ has only one “tier” of service, which in Australia costs $8.99/month, or $89.99 annually (which works out to $7.50 per month).
The standard Disney+ plan includes the ability to stream in all resolutions up to and including 4K with HDR, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos support included. Users can create up to seven individual profiles per account, and stream on up to four devices at the same time. This is roughly the equivalent of the top-tier plans from Netflix and Stan, which cost $19.99 and $17 per month respectively.
What Content is on Disney Plus?
The Australian version of Disney+ launched with a nice surprise for local fans – it has substantially more content available than the US version, thanks to Disney managing the rights to their movies and shows more effectively here. So almost all of Disney’s movie catalogue is up for streaming on the service, including movies that are currently in the “vault” (in other words, unavailable to stream anywhere). The movies of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the extensive Pixar library are there alongside the Star Wars films, and while the very latest Disney theatrical films aren’t there yet, they’ll be added after the home video window finishes for each of them.
New original TV shows include the much-anticipated new series set in the Star Wars universe, The Mandalorian. Five other Star Wars shows will follow later, including one featuring the return of Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi. The Marvel universe will be getting eight brand new shows on Disney+ featuring new characters and stories, but they’re not scheduled to start appearing until 2020; meanwhile, you can stream existing Marvel shows like Agent Carter and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Brand new family shows will also be on offer, such as The Marvel Hero Project and Pixar in Real Life, with many more to follow.
See What’s On Disney Plus Today
What Devices Does Disney+ Support?
Aside from web browsers on PC and Mac computers, dedicated devices supporting Disney+ at launch include iOS and Android phones and tablets, Apple TV (HD and 4K models), Chromecast, Fire TV Stick, Android TV, Smart TVs, Playstation 4 and Xbox One. In the US, Roku devices are also supported, which makes it highly likely that we’ll see support for the popular Telstra TV boxes in Australia. Portable devices are able to download shows and movies to view offline, with up to ten devices allowed to hold downloads at one time.
|Amazon Fire TV Stick||Yes||Via native app|
|Apple TV||Yes||HD and 4K models only|
|Roku||Yes||Roku boxes and sticks and TVs|
|Android TV||Yes|| Sony|
|LG Smart TV||Yes||2016 models and newer|
|Samsung Smart TV||Yes||2015 models and newer|
|PC/Mac||Yes||Web browser only|
|Android phones/tablets||Yes||Android 5.0 (Lollipop) and newer|
|iPhone/iPad||Yes||iOS 11 or newer|
|Gaming Consoles||Yes||Xbox One, Playstation 4|
|Telstra TV||Yes||Via app|
How Much Data Does Disney+ Use
Disney isn’t skimping on the video quality for their new service, and while it’ll depend on the speed and quality of your broadband connection, you can expect to see it using similar streaming data rates to existing services such as Netflix and Stan; at 4K, the top data rate is a little bit higher. Because Disney+ supports resolutions up to 4K Ultra HD by default on all accounts, the amount of data consumed will depend heavily on your display – as there is no way to lower the quality of the stream to save data. For 1080p HD, expect to use around 3GB per hour of streaming, while for Ultra HD, it’ll be more around the 7GB/hour mark. We’d recommend getting set up with an unlimited data broadband plan ahead of time, so you’re ready to binge your Disney favourites without worrying about a data cap!
How Can You Sign Up for Disney Plus?
To get started, just download the Disney+ app for your device and create your new Disney account by following the instructions in the app; you’ll need an email address and a payment method (either a credit card or Apple/Google credit).
Is Disney+ Right for You?
The idea of a Disney-only streaming service has been around for a long while, but now that it’s actually arrived the good news is it’s even better than fans could have hoped.