Disney+ streaming service: everything you need to know

Disney+ streaming service: everything you need to know

Later in 2019, the Disney streaming service Disney+ will launch. Intended as a Netflix rival, it will offer TV shows and films from both Disney and its subsidiaries like Lucasfilm, Marvel and Pixar.

So what will it show? When will it launch? How much will it cost? And will it be better than Amazon Video and Netflix? Read on as we dig into what Disney+ has to offer...

What is Disney+?

It's Disney's new streaming service. The Hollywood giant has seen what Netflix is doing and thought it could do with a piece of the action. To that end, Disney is taking its ball back and pulling its Star Wars and Marvel franchises from its now arch rival.

It's a wise move. Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and the forthcoming Apple TV+ are building their streaming businesses on offering original content that you can't see anywhere else. Disney's nearly-century-old back catalogue - plus its lucrative subsidiaries - means there should be plenty to tempt viewers at launch, whereas its upstart rivals have had to start from scratch. In the streaming business, that's a huge advantage.

Disney announced the service back in 2017, but only recently gave us firm details like a price and launch date.

Apple TV+ - everything you need to know

When does Disney+ launch?

The service will go live on 12th November 2019 in the US. There's no word on UK or international launches, but expect it to be 2020 at the earliest.

Expect big things. Disney is investing heavily in the service, pulling out all the stops to deliver something to really rival the established services. By the end of 2020, Disney wants to have 90 million subscribers. Given the volume and quality of content it has to offer, would you bet against it?

How much does Disney+ cost?

The big news is it's cheaper than Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. The Disney streaming service will cost $6.99 a month - in the US, Netflix starts at $9 a month, while Amazon costs $8.99. That's a significant saving each month.

If you'd rather pay annually, it will cost you $70 a year. That's a saving of around $14 on the monthly price.

These prices are US-only. Disney is yet to announce prices for anywhere else in the world.

Disney hasn't said whether it will offer different tiers of subscriptions, offering different levels of picture quality. So, it remains to be seen whether 4K and HDR will also be on the menu.

What can you watch on Disney+?

What can you watch on Disney+?

Lots. At launch, it will offer more than 5,000 episodes of Disney shows, likely culled from the long-running Disney Channel. Within the first year it will add more than 500 additional films and 2,500 episodes from its vast archive.

These will include new Disney originals like Toy Story 4, the live-action version of The Lion King and the highly anticipated sequel to Frozen. TV series based on Monsters Inc. and High School Musical have also been confirmed.

It will also be the exclusive home to all Marvel and Star Wars films, which is quite a proposition, seeing as these are among the most popular - and profitable - films ever made. That means it'll be the only place to see this December's Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Captain Marvel, and all future releases from both Lucasfilm and Marvel.

Expect Pixar's library to also feature - so the Toy Story, Incredibles and Cars franchises, to name but a few.

But Disney isn't just relying on its back catalogue. It's also investing heavily in original content.

According to Disney's chief financial officer, Christine McCarthy, the firm is investing at least $1 billion into original content within the first year. Its first project? The Mandalorian, the first ever live-action Star Wars series. Directed by Elf director Jon Favreau, the eight-part series takes place five years after Return of the Jedi and follows a lone Mandalorian in the outer reaches of the galaxy far beyond the authority of the New Republic.

That's not the only new Star Wars show on the horizon. The second live-action series set in the universe will follow the adventures of Rebel spy Cassian Andor during the formative years of the Rebellion and prior to the events of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. It will go into production this year.

Marvel Studios is also working on a new live-action series for Disney+. Loki will star Tom Hiddleston as the titular superhero, who is the adopted brother of Thor and often his enemy. Though given his sometime anti-hero status, we're sure the series will give the character plenty of moral ambiguity.

Disney owns 20th Century Fox (the home of The Simpsons), ABC, FX, ESPN and National Geographic, too. So expect to see plenty more besides animations and superhero franchises.

What will Disney+ look like?

Disney+ - everything you need to know

The short answer is: quite similar to Netflix.

At the launch event in April, Disney shared a glimpse of the Disney+ interface, which you can see above. As you can see, it's image-led, with one big banner at the top promoting the latest film or show. 

You can also filter by which brand's content you want to see. So click Disney, and you'll only see Disney shows and films. The same goes for Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic.

There also appears to be a 'Downloads' tab which appears to hint at the ability to download programmes, possibly for offline viewing through an accompanying app?

We'll be sure to bring you more information on Disney+ as and when it gets released, ahead of the November launch.