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Netflix vs. Disney Plus: How to Pick Which Streaming Service Is Best for You


We’re living in an era where streaming viewership frequently outpaces cable at monthly intervals during throughout the year, demonstrating how much time and money audiences spend on streaming TV. But given the current financial climate, you may have moments when you question whether you need all those streaming platforms.

Within the past six months, these services have all changed. Netflix now charges an extra fee to share your account, but removed its $10 plan. Disney Plus is upping prices, adding a new bundle, removing content and has plans to launch an app that merges Hulu and Disney titles. Meanwhile, Max is here with Discovery Plus content, and Peacock and Paramount Plus have also increased their prices.

Netflix imposed a price hike 2022, added a cheaper ad-supported plan and bills you $8 for extra users. Amid the cost and password crackdown, some people are considering canceling their subscriptions. Disney Plus provides high-quality content that’s on par with Netflix, and its pricing options make it stiff competition. But, how do these two streaming giants compare in content and value?

Both services have spawned huge pop-culture hits, as seen with The Mandalorian and 2022’s most-streamed show, Stranger Things. Last year, Netflix had the most popular streaming content of the year, according to Nielsen, with Disney Plus snagging a few spots. Both carry family-friendly gems, superhero stories, documentaries and feature films with A-list talent.  

You may be a longtime Netflix subscriber or only keep Disney Plus for your kids, and you’ve found a routine with all the streaming platforms you use. However, if you’re someone who’s weighing costs against which service to keep, here’s guidance on how to choose.

Read more: Best Streaming Service of 2023

Netflix logo on an iPhone with blue background

James Martin/CNET

Netflix can be credited with kicking off the streaming wars back in 2007. Since then, the streaming pioneer has increased its subscription prices, added fees for extra members and launched a cheaper tier with ads. But Netflix continues to lean into originals while providing a range of licensed TV shows and movies. Its interface makes it easy to sift through content based on genre, popularity or age.

Read our Netflix review.

Disney+ logo on a phone

Sarah Tew/CNET

Disney Plus rises to the top with its family-friendly stable of movies and shows. At $8 a month for the ad-supported version, it’s a bargain for anyone who loves all things Disney, Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar and National Geographic. Viewers can find entertaining and educational content that spans 10 decades.

Read our Disney Plus review.

Netflix’s starting price is cheaper but…

While Netflix beats Disney Plus when it comes to having a cheaper ad-based plan, the House of Mouse offers more streams for its $8-a-month plan that includes 4K streaming, Imax capabilities and four simultaneous streams. It has Netflix beat with its offerings.

Starting in October 2023, if you want to watch ad-free, you’ll have to pay $14 a month for Disney Plus Premium, which is ad-free and includes downloads on up to 10 devices. That’s still less than Netflix. Hulu and ESPN Plus can be tacked on to your Disney Plus subscription as part of the Disney Bundle. Prices for bundles increase on Oct. 12 and will range from $10 to $25 a month, but you have access to content from three different platforms.

Netflix’s Standard with Ads plan costs $7 a month, and doesn’t include its full catalog. And though you can watch in HD, you only get two streams at a time, without downloads. Its most popular premium option now sits at $15.50 a month with two simultaneous screens, downloads and HD. Like Disney Plus, Netflix offers four simultaneous streams and 4K, but you need the $20 premium plan for that.

Netflix vs. Disney Plus

Netflix Disney Plus
Monthly price $7 Standard with ads, $15.50 Standard ad-free, $20 Premium $8 Basic, $11 Premium
Ads Yes Yes
Top titles Stranger Things, Queen Charlotte, Squid Game, Dahmer The Simpsons, The Mandalorian, Bluey
Mobile downloads Yes (on ad-free plans) Yes (on Premium)
4K HDR available Yes (on Premium) Yes
Number of streams: 2 for Standard, 4 on Premium 4

Wednesday Addams, clad in schoolgirl uniform and standing in a spooky pine forest, stares directly at the camera, with big dark eyes and a tough-girl pout. The disembodied hand named Thing perches on her shoulder, affectionately.

Netflix offers more original titles

Netflix and Disney Plus have megahits in their lineups but they each handle original releases in their own ways. Disney Plus taps into legacy properties and existing franchises without really lighting a match on anything that’s totally new. This approach works against Disney when viewers must wait for the streamer to drop something fresh. While shows like Loki and Andor have been high-quality successes, they’re connected to larger cinematic universes. And unlike Netflix, there aren’t many original movies dropping on the platform. 

While there is a batch of originals in the works that includes reality shows from Marvel stars, and plenty of live-action book adaptations, the timetable for projects is long. Most future releases in the Disney Plus pipeline revolve around old commodities, including spin-offs from Moana and Star Wars. Fans get excited for exclusive Disney Plus content, but these releases aren’t added on a regular basis. 

However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t find anything good to stream from Marvel, NatGeo or any other brand in the Disney family. It’s the streaming home for Obi-Wan Kenobi,  Encanto and Moon Knight. Disney Plus also gets credit for its organized Originals tab layout, which divides everything into categories. And we should mention that once the Disney Plus/Hulu single app launches, viewers will have another option to watch more content on one platform. 

On the other hand, Netflix’s originals ain’t nothing to scoff at. Aside from the now-legendary Stranger Things, the platform has embedded a string of original series and films into pop culture like Squid Game, Money Heist and Dahmer. That doesn’t mean Netflix skips over reboots, remakes or adaptations. Whether it’s a book adaptation like Bridgerton, or Fuller House or Lucifer, they also make originals based on existing properties. 

But there’s a constant rotation of content. It’s easy to find a list of Netflix’s new original releases for each month — and year. Whether it’s a film, reality show, or much-hyped upcoming season of a popular series, Netflix has a steady flux of originals that subscribers can count on every week. 

Read more: Disney Plus and Hulu Content Will Stream in One App Later This Year

Ali Wong wears a hat and holds a sculpture in Beef scene

When it comes to the range of content on each platform, you can’t dispute Disney’s collection of movies and shows for kids. Its catalog contains nearly 100 years’ worth of goodies and was crafted with young imaginations in mind. That said, every series and film on Disney Plus stands firm on that legacy of crafting family-oriented content. It’s paradise for kids and a home run on nostalgia for adults. But Disney Plus has some gaps for adults, while Netflix has a balance.

Generally, nothing beyond TV-14 or PG-13 has been on the Disney service. With the addition of Marvel’s TV series that it scooped up from Netflix, Disney Plus gave adults a taste of more mature titles with Luke Cage, The Punisher, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. And its Werewolf by Night film brought adult-level horror to the MCU — and Disney. 

Still, it may not be enough to hold your attention if you’re in the mood for something gritty and fresh. Disney Plus has a hefty selection of documentaries, TV shows, animated tales and blockbuster movies, and there are approximately a little over 1,200 pieces of content, total. Most of it comes from a Disney-owned network or studio like ABC, Pixar or Marvel. I should note that Disney is shedding content from its multiple streaming platforms in 2023, but the Disney Plus-Hulu combination app could offer a better variety of stuff to watch. 

Meanwhile, Netflix reportedly has roughly 6,000 movies and TV series on its platform. It offers a well-stocked cabinet of original and licensed fare for kids of all ages, but also something for every genre. In addition to checking out its homegrown creations, you can watch content from the CW, Fox, Universal Pictures, Showtime, USA and more. 

Catch anime, preschool hits, rom-coms, horror flicks and just about anything else on Netflix. Because maturity ratings range from G to NC-17, whole families can watch certain content together or adults can stream all the violence, dark comedy or romance they want. 

Wearing a white prison outfit, Cassian Andor looks tired but determined in Andor.

How do Disney Plus and Netflix deliver content?

Disney Plus debuted its extensive catalog at launch in 2019, and continues to grow by adding films and TV shows — whether they’re fresh or straight from the old vault. When it comes to new TV series episodes, they premiere weekly on the streamer, much like traditional networks. The strategy has paid off by building anticipation for the next weekly installment. Invested viewers keep up with their favorite shows’ schedules and tune in to see if their fan theories are valid. 

When it comes to major films like Avatar 2 or Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, Disney Plus’ streaming release dates range from three to six months. It’s an advantage that helps the platform attract viewers who want to watch big theatrical movies whenever they want.

While you can binge-watch older shows on Disney Plus, this is Netflix’s specialty. Fans are known to plan their binge schedules around the release dates for popular shows such as The Witcher and Bridgerton. Some of its original reality shows air weekly episodes, and recently, the streaming service has been splitting its big series’ seasons in half, debuting them months apart. However, Netflix generally sticks to a content-dump format so you can absorb all episodes at once. And those jaw-dropping cliffhangers are typically reserved for season finales, ensuring you tune in for the next binge session.

Which streaming service should you choose?

Disney Plus sits on a treasure trove of old and new programming, and its decision to give subscribers access to Hulu and ESPN Plus with the Disney Bundle offers added value. It wins with pricing. However, the streamer’s selection of content is aimed at kids, families and franchise fans. As far as catalog depth, quality and interface, the platform is on fairly equal footing with Netflix.

If you can afford both, go for it, as it will be difficult to run out of things to watch across all genres and age ranges. But if you can only choose one, we’d lean toward Netflix based on its rotating stable of originals and its global selection for audiences of any age or background.


Watch this: Secret Netflix codes: Discover better streaming recommendations with this hidden trick


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