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Disney Plus vs DIRECTV Stream

Last updated: November 3, 2021

Starts at $7.99/mo
Starts at $69.99/mo

Disney Plus and DIRECTV Stream are two great streaming services and cable alternatives. But they're also very different! To weigh Disney Plus vs. DIRECTV Stream, 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!

Disney Plus: On-demand streaming from Disney

Disney Plus Pros: Disney Plus Cons:
  • Very affordable
  • Features content from Disney and sub-brands like Marvel Studios, National Geographic, and Star Wars
  • Can be bundled with Hulu and ESPN Plus
  • Somewhat limited original content
  • Smaller library than some on-demand alternatives

DIRECTV Stream: A cable-like streaming service with live TV channels

DIRECTV Stream Pros: DIRECTV Stream Cons:
  • A cable-like experience for less than the price of cable
  • Includes familiar channels like AMC, ESPN, and TNT
  • Like most live services, it's pricier than on-demand alternatives
  • Not as customizable as some other live TV services
  • Some platform support issues
  • Large bundles can feel a bit too cable-like

How are Disney Plus and DIRECTV Stream Different?

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 Plus works! If you subscribe to Disney Plus, you'll pay a small fee once a month and will have access to all the movies and TV shows in Disney Plus' app.

DIRECTV Stream is a different sort of service. It works a bit more like cable does. DIRECTV Stream 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 Plus and DIRECTV Stream are subscription services (you'll pay a monthly fee for either), but they offer very different things to watch. Disney Plus lets you start and stop Disney-owned movies and TV shows whenever you want, while DIRECTV Stream is all about live channels of the sort that you'd have with cable or satellite.

What You Can Watch on Disney Plus? What can you watch on DIRECTV Stream?

We talked about this a bit above, but the key difference between Disney Plus and DIRECTV Stream is what sort of content you're getting. With Disney Plus, 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 DIRECTV Stream, 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 DIRECTV Stream’s channels just like you could with cable. DIRECTV Stream's impressive channel selection is one of the things that we raved about in our DIRECTV Stream review.

With that said, we should note that DIRECTV Stream 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, DIRECTV Stream 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 DIRECTV Stream: New episodes of hit sitcoms and dramas, re-runs, and even movies (though they'll be the versions edited for cable) are on DIRECTV Stream's channels, just like they're on those same channels with cable or satellite. As for Disney Plus, 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 Plus also has its own original content, including the hit live-action Star Wars show “The Mandalorian,” which has gotten great reviews.

How Much Will You Spend on Disney Plus vs. DIRECTV Stream?

Disney Plus dashboard

Disney Plus and DIRECTV Stream are two very different types of services. The prices you’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 Plus is considerably cheaper than DIRECTV Stream.

In fact, Disney Plus is pretty cheap even by the standards of on-demand services. As of this writing, it costs $7.99 per month (or $79.99 per year), which is only about half as much as the most popular Netflix plan costs. Part of the reason for this is because Disney Plus has a smaller catalog of shows and movies to watch than Netflix does. Still, they’ve got plenty to watch, including hit movies from Marvel Studios.

DIRECTV Stream is going to cost you at least $69.99 per month. That's a lot more than Disney Plus, but it's pretty typical for live TV streaming services with cable-like channel selections.

Disney Plus vs. DIRECTV Stream: Which Suits You Best?

If you're deciding between two services as different as Disney Plus and DIRECTV Stream, 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 Plus. If you crave live TV, you'll want to look more closely at DIRECTV Stream, because Disney Plus doesn't have what you're looking for!

Of course, these aren't your only options. If Disney Plus 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 Plus together (along with ESPN Plus)!

And if the DIRECTV Stream approach to streaming is more your style, then you should check out DIRECTV Stream's direct competitors, too. Sling TV, Hulu + Live TV, and YouTube TV are all strong options.

2 thoughts on “Disney Plus vs. DIRECTV Stream

  1. says:

    How come AT&T TV don’t merge internet and cable together

    1. vicki elliott says:

      When I spoke to someone at directv they said paramountplus and Disney would be499. eachamonth wecoulgethem on tv now how does this work

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