Disney+ is the latest company to enter the streaming fray by launching its subscription service today at the cost of $7/month for Disney+ only, or $13/month for Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+. There is a free 7-day trial you can sign up for—but be warned, we’ve tried signing up for the past two days and all we get is a loading screen that never actually loads.
The Verge reports that some users have been able to get a little farther and access the free trial and peruse the Disney+ library, but are met with an “Unable to Connect to Disney+” error message once they select a title, but Disney says it’s trying to resolve its launch day issues.
Some of the content you should eventually be able to stream includes Captain Marvel and all 30 seasons of The Simpsons. You’ll also be able to immediately watch everything included in the Walt Disney Signature Collection once you’ve signed up.
Disney+ also offers new original shows like the highly anticipated The Mandalorian from the Star Wars franchise, a remaking of High School Musical, and a Hocus Pocus sequel. Viewers will be able to stream up to four different titles on four separate devices at the same time and download an unlimited amount of titles to stream on up to 10 different devices.
Watch: Disney+ isn’t the only destination for Star Wars fanatics.
We know it’s a lot to keep track of with so many streaming services fighting for your subscription—and don’t even get us started on the different deals offered with each individual service.
To help you make an easier decision, we’ve created a guide that’ll help you figure out what services you absolutely need and which ones you can do without.
Netflix is the OG streaming service we’ve grown to know and love—except when those price hikes come. You can stream several titles including original shows and movies like the hit series Stranger Things, and you’ll be able to download some content to watch when there’s no wifi available. Netflix also offers a free 30-day trial, so you can test the waters before diving in head-first.
Cost: the basic plan starts at $9/month and allows you to stream on one device at a time. The standard plan is $13/month, lets you stream in HD, and watch content on up to two screens simultaneously. Finally, the premium plan is $16/month and lets you watch content in 4K across four screens at the same time—something that comes in handy for the moochers in your life if you’re kind enough to share your password.
Prime Video offers Amazon Prime account holders exclusive content such as its acclaimed series, Fleabag, and the ability to rent or buy movies and series episodes—all through your Prime account.
There’s a 30-day free trial and then you can either opt to use Prime Video through your Prime account or access the Prime Video library without a Prime account. If you decide on the latter, you’ll be charged for each individual movie or episode you watch; if you plan on diving in to a series, using Prime Video in conjunction with your Prime account is the best way to go.
You also get the benefit of 2-day shipping with a Prime account, so think of the free streaming as an awesome bonus.
Cost: A Prime membership is $120/year or $13/month. Students get a discounted version of Prime that costs $60/year or $6.50/month. Additionally, qualifying EBT and Medicaid card holders can open a Prime account with Prime Video access for $6/month. You can also cancel at any time if you decide Prime and/or Prime Video isn’t for you.
Hulu is another streaming giant offering its own original shows and movies in addition to shows and films from outside companies. Hulu offers several subscription tiers and the option to include premium cable channels (without a separate cable bill!) like HBO and Showtime for an added cost. Currently, Hulu Basic is the cheapest streaming service available, so there’s also that.
Cost: Basic is $6/month, premium is $12/month, basic with live TV is $45/month and premium with live TV is $51/month. You can also opt for unlimited screen usage for an extra $10/month.
Showtime offers the ability to download movies and episodes so you can watch offline—perfect for holiday traveling. You’ll get access to Showtime originals like Shameless and Billions plus featured movies and documentaries like Peppermint and Baby Driver.
You can download the Showtime app to your smart TV, gaming console, Apple TV and Chromecast among others, or watch on showtime.com.
Cost: After a two week free trial, Showtime will cost you $11/month.
HBO Max has been making waves as people anticipate its May 2020 launch. Subscribers will get access to all of HBO including original series, documentaries, specials, and film and TV show releases before they hit other streaming platforms. HBO Max will set you back $15/month when it launches.
If you subscribe to HBO NOW and get billed “directly through HBO,” you’ll get access to HBO Max when it launches at no additional cost to your current HBO NOW plan.
Additional streaming services, like Shudder, offer very niche content. If you love horror, suspense, or thrillers, this platform has everything from original movies and shows, podcasts, and live streaming events. Shudder offers a week-long free trial and if you like what you see, you can choose from a $6/month plan or go with the $57 annual membership.