If streaming is where you get your weekly movie and TV fix, then you’ve got plenty to choose from. With Disney Plus and Apple TV+ both around the same age, we’ve pitted each one against one another to which is better.
Whether it’s a choice between the two or perhaps you’re thinking of a streaming service to ditch to save money, we’ve compared price, their libraries, and features to see which service comes out on top.
Of the many streaming services out there, Apple TV+ and Disney Plus are among the cheaper streaming options despite both going up in price in 2022. They undercut the premium Netflix tier by a sizeable amount, and they also both offer the option of paying for a year upfront, which is excellent if you’d rather get the payment out of the way.
Disney+ costs £7.99/month or £79.90 for a year, which is 12 months for the price of 10. In the US it’s a bit different as there’s an ad-supported version for $7.99 and an ad-free version for $10.99/month ($109.99/year).
Apple TV+ costs £6.99 / $6.99 a month or £69.99 / $69.99 for a year, with the annual subscription saving some money over a monthly sub. Apple also throws into the bargain a three-month free look for anyone who buys a new iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple TV or Mac.
That makes Apple TV+ the cheaper of the two, but that doesn’t mean it’s the clear winner, or even the winner overall, as we’ll see.
With streaming services, content is king and the main reason as to whether it’ll have any appeal. Both Apple TV+ and Disney Plus take differing approaches to the content they serve up.
Apple’s focus has been one of producing its own original content or acquiring original films and TV series. It’s not as interested in purchasing licensed content, and what licensed content it does have is usually children’s programming like Helpers or The Snoopy show.
As of May 2023, it has about TV 100 series on the platform, and around 40 films, docs, and specials. Apple TV+’s main focus is TV series, with recent shows like Silo, High Desert, and Shrinking all getting positive reviews.
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With films it’s less successful. While it can claim the first Best Picture for a streaming service with Coda, recent titles such as Ghosted, Causeway and Emancipation haven’t been as well received. It also doesn’t release as many films as other streamers but Martin Scorsese’s The Killing of the Flower Moon will be getting a big release in 2023.
Apple’s library isn’t as big as Disney Plus, but in the UK there are live sports if you have an interest in Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer. If you buy Disney+ and ESPN+ in the US, you get the benefit of watching the sports programming on that service too.
Disney Plus’s catalogue is far bigger given it has over 100 years of history to rely on, as well as all the content from 20th Century Studios (nee 20th Century Fox). Whether it’s romance, sci-fi, horror, action, drama, documentaries, animation, the House of Mouse’s catalogue obliterates what Apple has to offer. There’s Star Wars to the majority of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and classic Disney animation, as well as over 600 episodes of The Simpsons.
Just Watch puts the UK library at around 3000 individual titles, and there are Disney+ Originals too, such as Extraordinary, Andor, and Peter Pan and Wendy. Disney+ also licenses content for its service too. BBC shows like Killing Eve have appeared (international users will get the new Doctor Who series later in 2023), and the Sony Spider-Man films and Paramount Indiana Jones series have appeared on the service as well.
In terms of the size of each streamer’s catalogue, Disney+ wins very easily. However, Apple’s more selective approach has its charms, and there’s more than enough good quality content available on the service to find something to watch.
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Disney+ offers access to loads of original shows like The Mandalorian and Hawkeye, classic films and content from big brands like Star Wars, Marvel and Pixar.
- From £4.99 a month
Both services offer content in 4K HDR, with Dolby Vision available too where available. Dolby Atmos audio is supported if you have compatible sound systems to take advantage of it. Disney Plus also has IMAX Enhanced support, with a selection of movies opening up the frame to fill the entire screen.
Content on both services can be watched online or offline, and there’s no limit to how much you can download on Apple TV+ (at least on Apple devices). You can also download content to your smartphone or tablet, though you’ll need an iOS device to watch Apple TV+ content offline.
Disney+ also offers unlimited downloads on up to 10 devices, although you will need to the device to connect to the internet at least once every 30 days.
Apple’s SharePlay feature allows viewers the experience of watching shows and films on a FaceTime call, however everyone needs access to the content through a sub. Disney+ has a similar feature in Groupwatch with support for up to six people or four streams from the same account. Kid’s profiles aren’t supported though.
A subscription on Apple offers six simultaneous streams, and while you can add individual Apple TV accounts for the app, there aren’t any Apple TV+ profiles as such. If you purchase a Family Sharing plan it does the same thing in terms of different accounts and personalisation. Parental controls can be set up for any accounts that need to be restricted.
Disney Plus differs in that it offers only four simultaneous streams, and while you can have up to six profiles on one account, there is no Family Sharing plan – six profiles is essentially viewed as enough for the whole family. And of course, parental controls can be set for Kid’s profiles or indeed any profile.
Both services also support bonus content. Apple TV+ has extra features and interactive features buried within the hubs for each series and film, and Disney+ has similar options for its film content. You also get to listen to filmmaker commentaries too, though the catch is this is only with the HD stream of the film.
You can watch Disney Plus on a huge range of devices, including smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, streaming devices, and games consoles, and through some big-name services like Sky Q, Glass, Stream and Amazon Fire TV. The full list of devices and platforms that support Disney Plus is here.
Apple TV Plus is more restrictive. You can watch and download stuff through the TV app on iOS and macOS, but there isn’t an app available on Android. You can get the TV app on Roku and of course Apple TV, with certain versions of Amazon’s Fire Stick also able to download it. On TVs there’s wider compatibility, with recent TVs from Samsung, Sony, Roku, Panasonic, and LG all having the app available, as well as Sky’s streaming platforms too.
Which is better?
Both Apple TV+ and Disney Plus take varying approaches to essentially offering the same thing, and we like that they’re distinct enough from each other that there isn’t a massive amount of overlap between the two content-wise.
If we’re talking about content, Disney+ is the easy winner here. It has a much bigger, more wide-ranging, and iconic titles than Apple TV+ could ever hope to get close to. From recent Marvel and Star Wars films to an impressive roster of TV series both new and old, Apple TV+ can’t compete with the choice Disney can offer.
Technically they’re on a similar footing, and if we were talking about the best quality in audio-visual terms, we’d say Apple has the winning hand with most of its original content released in glorious 4K HDR/Dolby Atmos.
That said, platform support is better on Disney, especially for Android users. It’s also the cheaper of the two, but as we said earlier, content is king and Disney+ wears the crown in this instance. That said, Apple TV+ acts as a nice second sub if you get a little bored of Star Wars and the MCU on Disney Plus.