The first year of Disney+ turned out to be a bigger success than the company could possibly have imagined, with the idea of everything Disney in the one place getting people to sign up by the millions. At the end of 2020, Disney+ had an incredible 86 million subscribers worldwide, something they expected would take them five years to achieve.
What is Star on Disney+?
Disney’s streaming service where their shows and movies for adult audiences can be found, Hulu, has 39 million subscribers in the US, and was rumoured to be coming to Australia in the near future. Instead, Disney has decided to launch Star – not a separate streaming service, but a “channel” inside the Disney+ service, included in the price.
It’ll give Disney+ a full range of entertainment options for all ages, with the adult stuff able to be protected by a PIN so the kids don’t accidentally watch it. And it also sent those subscriber numbers to new highs when it launched in Australia on February 23rd, 2021.
If you’re already a Disney+ subscriber, you’ll get access to Star right in the Disney+ interface on the same row you find the Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars brands. And while the monthly cost of Disney+ went up (from $8.99 to $11.99 a month) to account for what’s expected to be over 1000 hours of new stuff to watch, monthly subscribers were locked in to the current price until August 2021, while those switching to an annual subscription will keep the lower price for that entire 12 months.
So what’s the best way to watch the newly-expanded Disney+? It’s not hard at all to get access to the massive Disney streaming library and all the new content that star will offer. Just follow these easy steps.
1. Check Your Smart TV for the App
One thing that Disney+ got very right at launch was to have support for as many different platforms as possible. A streaming service is only useful if you’ve got a device it works on, after all, so they made sure to have as many bases covered as possible. Aside from all modern web browsers on desktop and laptop computers being ready to stream, Disney+ has apps for the big smart TV platforms ready to go – Android TV (Sony), LG and Samsung (2016 and later models). If the app’s not on your TV right now, you’ll find it in the TV’s app store (for Sony Android TV users, look for the Google Play store).
2. Use a Streaming Device or Game Console
If you’re already a dedicated streaming fan, you’ve very likely got a dedicated streaming box that handles all the apps for you, with everything in the one place so you can just turn it on and get watching. Disney+ has support for the most popular ones – Apple TV (both the HD and 4K versions), Google’s new Chromecast with Google TV. If you’ve got a Playstation 4 or Xbox One game console around, you can also download the Disney+ app on those.
Support for other popular streaming devices (such as Fetch TV and Telstra TV) hasn’t arrived yet, but we’d expect the launch of Star will give Disney even more reasons to get apps onto those devices (there’s already a Disney+ app for Roku devices in the US, which the Telstra TV is compatible with).
If you’re out of luck with all of the above, the cheapest solution is to grab a Google Chromecast – the 3rd-generation HD version now sells for around $50 and will turn any TV with a HDMI port into a streaming screen. The newer Chromecast with Google TV is the better option if you’d prefer a smart TV-like user interface, but it’ll set you back a bit more at $99 (still great value).
3. Download the Disney+ App
If you’ve got a fairly recent TV or streaming device, it’s likely that the Disney+ app will have come pre-installed on it – but don’t worry if it’s not. It just takes a quick visit to your device’s app store and you can grab the app for free. On smart TVs, head to the LG Content Store app to find it; on Samsung, press the Home button on your remote and select Apps. For Sony TVs, head to the Google Play store from your TV’s menus. On game consoles, you’ll find the Disney+ app in the stores on both Xbox and Playstation.
Once you’ve downloaded the app, you’ll need to create an account and enter your details, if you don’t already have one. That’s much easier to do via the Disney+ web site (and on Apple devices, once you’ve got your account set up you can choose to pay your subscription via iTunes rather than directly from your credit card). You can sign in to Disney+ on multiple devices, and the TV apps can make it easy to sign in by using your phone rather than tapping in your email and password.
4. Have a Fast Internet Connection
It may sound obvious when it comes to streaming, but Disney+ is one of the highest-quality streaming services around – if your internet connection is fast enough to handle it. All subscribers can stream at up to 4K without having to pay extra, and if you’ve got a 4K TV or device, Disney+ will try to use as much speed as it can to deliver a brilliant picture in 4K and Dolby Vision HDR. Make sure you’re giving the app the bandwidth it needs by having a fast internet connection (50 Mbps is the “sweet spot” on the NBN for speed versus price), using 5 GHz wi-fi if your modem/router supports it, and even using a wired (Ethernet) connection if you can. The result can be cinema-quality video and audio with all of Disney’s legendary movies and TV shows, right there in your living room – and from February with the launch of Star, a massive new selection of content for adult Disney+ viewers as well. It’s a great time to sign up for Disney+ right now to beat the price rise, too – be sure to get in while there’s time!