Apple TV+ is a worthy contender, but there is no comparison to Disney+. For now, the service consists of just over half a dozen original shows and one documentary for $4.99 per month. That’s it.
Some of our readers have expressed confusion about the number of channels you get with Apple TV+. The answer is you don’t get any. However, on the Apple TV platform, you can get hundreds of channels — you just have to be a subscriber (although some channels offer limited free content, trial periods, or ad-supported streaming).
For example. Apple TV+ displays HBO as one of their “suggested” channels. But you have to pay for HBO one way or another. Apple TV (the platform on which Apple TV+ runs) makes it seamless to access all the content you want within one interface. That’s one of the great things about Apple TV, but it doesn’t mean the channels are free because they are right in front of you.
The other nice thing about Apple TV is you can manage all your subscriptions on one platform. So, if you subscribe to HBO, EPIX, Netflix, and Cinemax through Apple TV, you don’t have to visit all those services to pay individually. Still though, those channels are not free with Apple TV+.
With Apple TV+ you are limited to those just-launched Apple originals like “The Morning Show” and “See,” as well as any free episodes or ad-supported titles found on apps like Hulu and Vudu.
Disney+, on the other hand, is a Goliath when compared to Apple TV+. Disney’s service has hundreds of titles in their library upon launch, including some Disney content that has never been available streaming or on DVD for that matter. They’ve also got the 20th Century Fox film catalog, the Marvel franchise (although many of the MCU films are tied up with other distribution deals), and 30 seasons of “The Simpsons” among their vast collection.
Better comparisons of Disney+ can be made to Netflix or Amazon Prime, both of which offer thousands of titles to watch including originals and licensed titles from TV networks and movie studios. Whereas those services have all their titles readily available to stream (with the exception of some Prime offerings that sneak in for purchase or rent), Apple TV acts as a portal to other apps for content that isn’t on Apple TV (fed by iTunes) or Apple TV+.
Therefore, when discovering content on Apple TV you’ll see a lot of “Open In” requests that will take you out of the Apple TV app and into partner apps like CBS All Access and Netflix. Apple TV is still more like a magazine subscription service rather than a content creator like Netflix has become. Prime also sells subscriptions, but Netflix hasn’t gone there yet.
There is a similarity between Apple TV+ and Disney+ though, and that is each service launched with approximately the same amount of new original content. Like Apple TV+, Disney+ premiered with just over a half a dozen titles like “Star Wars: The Mandalorian” and “Encore,” the former acting as a flagship for the service capitalizing on one of the most successful movie franchises of all time.
Only time will tell whether or not Apple sticks to content creation for the long haul, but the company has already greenlit second seasons of “Dickinson,” “For All Mankind,” and “See.” “The Morning Show” starring Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon will also return for a second season per the original deal.