First Look: Disney+

Posted on November 12, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Disney+ with 60 Comments

The long-awaited Disney+ streaming video service is now available. Here’s a quick first peek at the user experience and content.

To cut to the chase: Both are pretty damn strong, which is impressive in an age in which Apple TV+ launched with fewer than 8 new shows and Google’s Stadia, a game streaming service, will launch next week with just 12 games. By comparison, Disney owns Star Wars, Marvel, Pixar, and its own incredible catalog, plus National Geographic, ABC, ESPN, and many other entertainment properties.

So far, I’ve only tried out Disney+ on iPad, but I’ll load it up on the Roku (where we typically watch TV) and Apple TV this evening. I’m not expecting many differences.

Since I’m a Star Wars fan, I was particularly interested in that content. My first reaction was surprise that some key content is missing: The movies “Solo: A Star Wars Story” and “Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi” are conspicuously not available, nor is the laughable “Star Wars Holiday Special” from the late 1970s.

But the content that is available is well served by a great presentation, tremendous video quality, and tons of extras, as we see on the Blu-Ray and digital releases. As someone who has literally purchased every Star Wars release in virtually every format in which it was made available, I pretty much know what is out there. So, this is pretty good, but not complete.

Of course, Disney+ is about more than just Star Wars, and much of the content on the service is, as expected, geared towards children. And for this middle-aged guy, the wellspring of content that makes up the middle 85 percent of the service—from “High School Musical” to “Frozen” to “Lizzie McGuire” is not all that applicable.

But there’s good stuff in there, even for me. The entire 600+ episode run of the “The Simpsons.” AAA movies like “Avatar,” “Remember the Titans,” and many more. There are lots of documentaries, especially from National Geographic, and nature shows too.

At just $7.99 per month—I signed up for a full year at $70—it’s kind of hard to argue with the quality and depth of the collection, and it will, of course, only get better over time.

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