Everything You Need to Know About Apple TV+ and Disney+

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Courtesy of Apple; Francois Duhamel/2018 © LucasFilm

Your DVR is pretty overloaded, you’ve already flagged a bunch of series to watch when you find the time, and, within days, more TV options are arriving?! Come November, Apple and Disney will launch their highly anticipated subscription services — both offer original content and, in Disney’s case, a library of classic series and films.

Apple TV+ and Disney+, as they’re called, will battle with stalwarts Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu, and CBS All Access to attract your eyeballs — and your dollars. Is either new option worth your cash? (Are both?)

TV Guide Magazine is here to help. We break down how much they cost, where to watch, and what you’ll get so you can decide what’s best for your viewing habits … and your budget.

Apple TV+

Launches: Friday, November 1

How much does it cost? $4.99 per month after a seven-day free trial. Folks who buy a new iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Mac, or Apple TV box will receive a yearlong membership for free.

Where/how to watch: If you own an Apple device — like those mentioned above — you’re ready to roll. Open the Apple TV app, which is already on your device, select a series, and stream away. Users on portable gadgets, like iPhones, can download episodes to view when not connected to Wi-Fi.

You can also watch the old-fashioned way, on your television. Access Apple TV+ on select Samsung TVs (visit samsung.com to learn which models) or by plugging a streaming stick, such as a Roku, into your TV. (Check your model: Some older Rokus don’t support Apple TV+.) Rather watch on the internet? Log on to tv.apple.com.

(Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

Original programming: Expect plenty of star power in the nine new series Apple TV+ is offering at launch: Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon headline the hourlong dramedy The Morning Show; Oprah Winfrey revives the book club she made famous on her daytime talk show (her new pick: Ta-Nehisi Coates’ The Water Dancer); Alfre Woodard plays an apocalypse survivor in the futuristic drama See; and Dickinson features Oscar nominee Hailee Steinfeld as poet Emily Dickinson.

Series premiering later this year include M. Night Shyamalan’s Servant, a thriller about a couple who faces a tragic loss, and Truth Be Told, with Octavia Spencer as a true-crime podcaster who suspects an innocent man (Aaron Paul) is behind bars.

Library content: None. This is an originals-only service.

Bottom line: Can’t wait for Aniston’s triumphant return to television? Miss your daily dose of Oprah? Then Apple TV+ is definitely worth the cost of a latte considering the number of high-profile titles available (some of which, like The Morning Show, have been picked up for multiple seasons). But if you crave a back catalog filled with old favorites, it might be best to stream elsewhere.


Launches: Tuesday, November 12

How much does it cost? $6.99 per month or, to save about 15 bucks, $69 per year, both after a seven-day free trial. Alternately, you can bundle Disney+, ESPN+, and Hulu for $12.99 per month.

Where/how to watch: Certain Sony smart TVs will have the Disney+ app already loaded. To use your regular television, plug in a streaming stick (like Roku or Chromecast) or connect a gaming console (PlayStation 4, Xbox One) and begin watching. Subscribers can also watch on disneyplus.com or download the Disney+ app on a smartphone or tablet.

The service lets you stream content on up to four devices at the same time and offers unlimited downloads (to screen without Wi-Fi), personalized recommendations, and the ability to have up to seven users per account. Parents can set up kids’ profiles for easy navigation and access to age-appropriate content.

The World According to Jeff Goldblum (National Geographic/Eric McCandless)

Original programming: A wide array of new content includes teen fare (like High School Musical: The Musical, The Series) and the holiday film Noelle (with Anna Kendrick and Bill Hader). Some of the biggest series at launch are The Mandalorian, a must for Star Wars fans, set five years after the fall of the Empire in Return of the Jedi; the reality series Encore! from exec producer Kristen Bell, where former high school theater geeks re-create their performance in musicals like Grease and Annie; and The World According to Jeff Goldblum, in which the actor brings his inquisitiveness to a reality show devoted to the history of everyday things — ice cream, sneakers, pools.

Coming later: 2021’s Tom Hiddleston–led Loki (from Marvel) and Hilary Duff’s return as a grown Lizzie McGuire.

Library content: Fans of the Marvel Universe (Iron Man, Captain Marvel), Star Wars (most of the franchise will be available), Pixar (the Toy Story franchise), as well as Disney’s big-screen classics (1937’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs) and new offerings (2019’s Dumbo), will get all their favorite titles, with more coming as previous deals — say, with Netflix — expire. TV hits include The Simpsons (all 30 seasons) and ’90s teen comedy Boy Meets World.

Bottom line: It’s the best of both streaming worlds: a vast library of classic movies and TV shows, as well as recent hits for fans of all ages, plus attention-grabbing original series.

— Eric Andersson and Jim Halterman