Cord Cutting Guides, News, and Reviews
Disney Plus vs AT&T TV
February 23, 2021
Disney+ and AT&T TV are two great streaming services and cable alternatives. But they're also very different! To weigh Disney+ vs. AT&T TV, we'll need to talk about how each service works and why one might suit your streaming needs better than the other. Let's dive in!
Cutting the cord means getting rid of cable and satellite. But we cord cutters don't typically stop watching TV — instead, we replace our old cable channels and shows with streaming services.
But “streaming services” is a big category. Streaming videos can work in various different ways. For instance, you might go rent or buy a digital copy of a movie on a marketplace like Amazon and pay by the movie (or TV show episode). Or you might pay by the month instead, choosing a subscription service like Netflix. And there are differences between subscription services, too: Some offer all-you-can-stream menus of on-demand content, while others show live videos.
The most famous sort of streaming service is “subscription video on demand,” which means we pay a monthly fee and stream movies and TV shows whenever we want. This is how Netflix works. It's also how Disney+ works! If you subscribe to Disney+, you'll pay a small fee once a month and will have access to all the movies and TV shows in Disney+'s app.
AT&T TV is a different sort of service. It works a bit more like cable does. AT&T TV is a “multichannel” service, which just means it offers multiple channels — you know, networks like AMC and TBS, and so on. It's really a lot like cable, except that it's a streaming service and it aims to be a little slimmer (with fewer “filler” channels that nobody really watches) and a little cheaper.
So both Disney+ and AT&T TV are subscription services (you'll pay a monthly fee for either), but they offer very different things to watch. Disney+ lets you start and stop Disney-owned movies and TV shows whenever you want, while AT&T TV is all about live channels of the sort that you'd have with cable or satellite.
We talked about this a bit above, but the key difference between Disney+ and AT&T TV is what sort of content you're getting. With Disney+, you're getting content on demand: You choose a movie or a TV show episode in the menus, and you play and pause it at your leisure. With AT&T TV, you're getting a more cable-like experience: You can watch whatever's airing on networks like TBS and HGTV, and you can flip through AT&T TV’s channels just like you could with cable.
With that said, we should note that AT&T TV isn't completely without on-demand content. You can pause and rewind live TV (on most channels, anyway), and you can use the DVR feature to save shows to watch later. Plus, AT&T TV automatically saves shows and movies that have recently played on its channels. You can check out those programs anytime you'd like and play them on demand.
What about individual shows and movies? Well, you probably know what to expect here from AT&T TV: New episodes of hit sitcoms and dramas, re-runs, and even movies (though they'll be the versions edited for cable) are on AT&T TV's channels, just like they're on those same channels with cable or satellite. As for Disney+, that service has an on-demand catalog full of all things Disney. That means Disney animated classics, of course, but it also means we get hits from other brands and studios that Disney owns: Marvel Studios, for example, and Star Wars movies. Disney+ also has its own original content, including the hit live-action Star Wars show The Mandalorian, which has gotten great reviews.
Disney+ and AT&T TV are two very different types of services. The prices we'll pay for them are very different, too!
On-demand services tend to be cheaper than live multichannel (cable-like) ones, and that's the case with these services: Disney+ is much, much cheaper than AT&T TV.
In fact, Disney+ is pretty cheap even by the standards of on-demand services. As of this writing, it costs $6.99 per month (or $69.99 per year), which is only about half as much as the most popular Netflix plan costs. Part of the reason for this is that Disney+ has a smaller catalog of shows and movies to watch than Netflix does.
AT&T TV is going to cost you at least $55 per month. That's a lot more than Disney+, but it's pretty typical for live TV streaming services with cable-like channel selections.
If you're deciding between two services as different as Disney+ and AT&T TV, the decision shouldn't be too tough. If you're looking for an affordable streaming service that gives you on-demand content, the better option here is clearly Disney+. If you crave live TV, you'll want to look more closely at AT&T TV, because Disney+ doesn't have what you're looking for!
Of course, these aren't your only options. If Disney+ sounds like the better of these two to you, then consider weighing it against Netflix or taking a look at Hulu. You could even bundle Hulu and Disney+ together (along with ESPN+)!
And if the AT&T TV approach to streaming is more your style, then you should check out AT&T TV's direct competitors, too. Sling TV, Hulu + Live TV, and YouTube TV are all strong options.
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