Disney+ just launched, making Disney’s massive library of movies and TV shows available from anywhere with just a few clicks. If you’re ready to start streaming, here’s everything you need to know about using Disney+.
What devices can I use watch Disney+ at home and on the go?
You can watch Disney+ on almost any digital device you have: Amazon Fire TV (starting at $49), Apple TV (starting at $149), Roku (starting at $25, check price on Amazon), iOS devices (get the iOS app), Android devices (get the Android app), Chromecast (starting at $35), Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and select LG TVs and Samsung TVs. If you don’t have any of those devices, you can watch in your web browser instead.
Just search for the Disney+ app on your device of choice to install it and get started.
What does Disney+ cost?
Disney+ costs $6.99 per month or $69.99 per year, with a 7-day free trial. You can save more by bundling Disney+, Hulu (with commercials), and ESPN+ for just $12.99 per month.
If you’re an existing Hulu customer, you’ll need to create your Disney+ account with the same email as your Hulu account and you’ll be credited $5.99 per month (the cost of the basic Hulu subscription). If you’re an ESPN+ customer, you can also be credited for the cost of your subscription. To ensure you get credit (equal to the effective monthly price of your existing subscription), you’ll need to link your ESPN account. If you purchased ESPN+ through an app store (Apple, Roku, etc) you’ll need to link your ESPN account to your app store purchase. If you didn’t create or link your ESPN account when your purchased ESPN+, you can follow the instructions for your device at ESPN+ Help Center.
If you have a Verizon Unlimited plan (new or existing subscribers) or a Fios Home Internet plan (new subscribers only), Verizon will pay for your first year of Disney+. You just have to sign up on Verizon’s webpage to activate the deal.
What streaming quality does Disney+ offer?
Disney+ streams up to 4K HDR quality, though not all titles — particularly older titles — are available in 4K. In some cases, Disney+ is the only place to watch Disney movies at 4K quality: the Star Wars series has been remastered in 4K with Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos audio support, which isn’t available if you buy it on Blu-Ray.
How many people can stream at once?
Disney+ is designed for the whole family, and you can have up to four concurrent streams across ten different streaming devices. You can also create up to seven user profiles so everyone has their own watchlist and recommendations. That’s more generous than most streaming services.
However, that doesn’t mean you can share your account with all of your friends. Disney recognizes that password sharing is a fact of life for streaming services, but the practice is officially banned in the subscriber agreement. Disney has technology to pinpoint unusual account activity, though the company doesn’t specify what will happen if it thinks you’re sharing your password.
Are there parental controls?
You can mark any profile as a kids profile, which will only show content with G, TV-Y, TV-Y7/Y7-FV or TV-G ratings. There’s no granularity here: either it’s a kids profile or it isn’t. But because the parental controls are so straightforward, they're easy to set up. Just click on your profile and select Edit Profiles in the drop-down. From there, pick your child's account and toggle the Kids Profile option on.
Unfortunately, anyone can switch profiles at any time, so clever kids will no doubt figure out how to get out of this walled garden if they want to.
Can I download movies and TV shows?
You can download an unlimited amount content to your mobile devices (iOS and Android phones and tablets). There are no limits to how many times you can download a title or how long you have to watch it, but you do need to connect to the internet once every 30 days for Disney+ to confirm your subscription is still active.
Downloading is simple: just navigate to the content you want to download and click the download button (an arrow pointing down). To save storage space, you can go to App Settings > Video Quality and choose standard, medium or high quality video downloads.
What to watch on Disney+
The service offers nearly 500 movies and 7500 TV episodes, including Disney classics, the Star Wars saga, most (but not all) of Marvel’s cinematic universe, Disney Channel and Disney Junior originals, and a library of National Geographic documentaries. Disney has a massive back catalog of content — and it’s producing some brand new powerhouse originals — and Disney+ is the only place you’ll find a lot of titles.
Licensing deals mean there are some gaps in the catalog. For example, major Marvel titles like Avengers: Infinity War and Black Panther are only available on Netflix right now. You can find National Treasure 2 on Disney+, but if you want to watch National Treasure 1, you have to fire up Netflix. It’s a little annoying if you’re looking to binge-watch your favorite franchise, but most of these missing movies are coming to the service within the next year — and you can add them to your watch list now.
One nice feature you don’t find on most streaming services is extra content: you can stream the sort of behind-the-scenes content like deleted scenes and making of documentaries that you usually only find on DVDs.
[Image credit: Disney]