Disney Plus Features: Everything you need to know about Disney Plus Subscription
What is Disney Plus?
Disney Plus is an on-demand, ad-free streaming service where subscribers will be able to enjoy movies and shows from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic, and 20th Century Fox. This subscription also includes original programming exclusive to Disney+. There will be a compelling library of 500 films and 15,000 episodes, and growing as it will also be the home to exclusive original content and specials.
What other movies will be coming into Disney Plus?
Disney plans to flood Disney Plus and its other streaming services with shows and movies in the coming years, promising more than 100 new titles every year on Disney Plus and committing to spend $14 billion to $16 billion annually on streaming content across its services within the next four years. (That's about the same size as Netflix's budget now.) Disney Plus itself is going to get $8 billion to $9 billion of Disney's overall streaming budget.
That eye-popping budget meant Disney announced a wave of new Star Wars originals, tons of Marvel projects and an exhausting lineup of new shows and movies. Disney laid out plans for as many as 20 new Marvel and Star Wars series. For details on them, CNET has deep dives into the announced Star Wars slate and Marvel slate, as well as coverage that generalizes the Disney Plus pipeline that was announced in December.
But in terms of theatrical movies hitting Disney Plus, we're still a little in the dark about how things will play out.
We do know that Disney is simply switching some of its midbudget theatrical films to be Disney Plus originals instead, skipping theaters entirely. They include Cruella, which was supposed to hit cinemas in May; Pinocchio, a live-action remake starring Tom Hanks; its Peter Pan reboot; Disenchanted, a sequel to Enchanted that'll have Amy Adams reprise her princess role; and Sister Act 3, reviving the comedy franchise about nuns.
And we know some big-screen movies will be released on Disney Plus at the same time as theaters under the Premiere Access model -- meaning viewers will need to pay an extra fee (typically $30) to unlock that title. The live-action remake of Mulan was the first movie released this way; Raya and the Last Dragon will be the next, on March 5. Raya will become available to all Disney Plus subscribers at no added cost on June 4.
But the company has been silent about its plan for streaming Marvel's Black Widow and other megabudget movies set to come out this year, like Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and Eternals. We know Black Widow is going to be in theaters exclusively for a period of time, with its release date in cinemas currently set for May 7. But we don't know how long it'll take for movies like Black Widow to leave theaters and reach Disney Plus.
Typically, before the pandemic, Disney movies would make their way to Disney Plus about five to eight months after they premiered in theaters. But studios across Hollywood have been collapsing the so-called windows that films have in different formats, with many making films available to stream or rent online as soon as they show up in theaters. Disney hasn't specified its streaming plan for the likes of Black Widow and other MCU movies.
What product features does the service include?
Disney Plus can stream 4K Ultra HD content in Dolby Vision, HDR10 and Dolby Atmos immersive audio. You can see a title's available formats in any of the Disney Plus apps by clicking to that show or movie's main page and then clicking on the "details" tab. The app for streaming boxes, like Roku and Apple TV, is also designed to briefly flash a symbol telling you the format that you're watching; it appears in the upper right corner of the screen for a few seconds when a video begins to play.
Every Disney Plus account can stream to four devices simultaneously and can create seven user profiles for different members of the household. Each account can pick an avatar of a Disney, Pixar, Marvel or Star Wars character, with more than 200 avatars available.
Disney Plus also offers unlimited mobile downloads for offline viewing. Subscribers can download to up to 10 mobile or tablet devices, with no constraints on the number of times a title can be downloaded. The number of titles stored at one time on a device depends on how much storage space is available on the device.
The service is supposed to support English, Spanish, French and Dutch at launch, including user interface as well as audio support and subtitles for library content, with additional languages available for Disney Plus originals.
The app also supports closed captioning, descriptive audio and navigation assistance to help subscribers with disabilities. (In July, the American Council of the Blind gave Disney Plus an achievement award for its descriptive audio, specialized tracks that describe the settings and the action taking place alongside a program's dialogue.)
Disney Plus offers parental controls in the form of kids profiles. You can designate any profile to be in a kids mode, which has a simplified interface designed for younger viewers. These kids profiles limit the library to programming that's rated TV-7FV and G in the US, or the equivalent ratings in other geographic markets.
And Disney has a group-watching feature, which lets you synchronize your stream of any title on Disney Plus with other accounts through the app, so you can watch a program at the same time as friends or family even if you're apart.
How much does Disney Plus cost?
In the US, the Disney Plus service costs $7 a month, or $70 a year. Starting March 26, it'll increase to $8 a month, or $80 a year.
That means yearly subscribers will essentially receive two free months of Disney Plus compared to those paying on a month-to-month basis.
Where is Disney Plus available, and when will it launch in new countries?
Disney Plus has launched in the US, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Germany, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, France, Portugal, Belgium, Finland, Iceland, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Australia, New Zealand, India (branded as Disney Plus Hotstar), Indonesia and Japan. It has also launched across Latin America and the Caribbean.
Elsewhere, Disney Plus is continuing its global rollout, now under the umbrella of a new international streaming service from Disney, called Star. That expansion begins in Singapore on Feb. 23, followed by Eastern Europe, Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea later in 2021.
The service first launched Nov. 12, 2019, in the US, Canada and the Netherlands. The initial launch of Disney Plus came less than two weeks after Apple TV Plus rolled out. Demand to sign up and start using the service caused widespread crashes the first day.
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