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5 things you need to know about Disney+

Updated: It'll be launching in Europe with a reduced bitrate as self-isolation becomes the norm

The term 'Disney+ and chill' might sound odd right now, but you'd better get used to it, because Disney will soon be joining the likes of Netflix, Hulu, and Prive Video by launching a streaming service of its very own.

Although we've known about Disney's broader streaming ambitions for a while, there wasn't much concrete information with regard to Disney+ itself. When will it arrive? What will its catalogue look like? Will it feature an eight-part docudrama that looks into the making of the mid-90s classic, A Goofy Movie?

Well, we now have the answer to all of those questions and more, with Disney having laid out its plans for the work-in-progress streaming platform last week. So, without further ado, take our hand and find out why you'll most likely be splashing out on Disney+ when it finally arrives.

2) It'll cost £5.99 per month at launch

In a welcome piece of news, Disney has confirmed the service will cost £5.99 per month or £59.99 per year. That monthly fee is slightly cheaper than the £8.99 you'll likely pay for the standard Netflix subscription, and significantly more affordable than the £11.99 premium Netflix option. It's also a price that undercuts other competitiors like Now TV and Amazon Prime, which could be a dealmaker for some.

Reading between the lines, then, it seems like Disney is looking to lowball the opposition so it can gain a foothold in the market, and while there's every chance the company will increase subscription fees further down the line, for now it looks like Disney+ will be one of the cheaper options.

3) Support for 4K HDR streaming has been confirmed

Cinephiles rejoice! We've had confirmation that Disney+ will adjust to the best possible high-definition option based on your available bandwidth, and will even support 4K HDR playback. That means, assuming you've got the creme de la creme of internet connections, you'll be able to sample the sweet high-def delights of 4K streaming.

When it comes to the streaming itself, you'll be able to access Disney+ on a wide range of mobile and connected devices, including game consoles, media players, and smart TVs. Of course, that's pretty much the norm these days, but it's nice to see Disney is covering all the bases.

4) It'll be launching in UK on March 24 with a reduced bitrate

Disney will be rolling out its fledging streaming service in the UK on March 24, 2020, but it'll now be arriving with some caveats due to the coronavirus pandemic. Following the lead of other streaming companies like Netflix, Disney has agreed to lower the overall bandwidth of Disney+ by at least 25 percent in European markets. The move is designed to reduce the strain on the continent's broadband structure as people begin to practice social distancing and self-isolation, and comes at the behest of the European Union. The company has also agreed to delay the launch of the service in France by two weeks, meaning it'll now launch on French soil on April 7, 2020.

Still, there's plenty of good news left in the tank. Sky Q users, for instance, will be treated to a dedicated Disney+ app to their premium set-top box, letting them access even more of their content in one place (assuming they're subscribed to the service). Notably, the deal also includes the "first-pay window for 20th Century titles," meaning Sky Q will be the first place cinephiles can watch Disney-owned movies like Le Mans '66 and Terminator: Dark Fate.

Meanwhile, O2 has announced it'll be the exclusive UK mobile network distributor for Disney+ when it launches in the region. In what's being billed as an "exclusive launch offer," new and upgrading pay monthly customers on O2 will be able to get six months of Disney+ for free, letting them use the service across supported mobile and TV devices. If you don't fancy an upgrade, it'll also be possible to add Disney+ to your existing plan for £5.99 per month, with O2 promising to knock £2 a month off the bill of anybody who plumps for that pricier option.

Frustratingly for those living in Eastern Europe, Latin America, and the Asia-Pacific, there's a good chance Disney might not bring the service to some countries in those regions until 2021. It's also unclear what the Disney+ catalogue will look like in those regions when it does evetually arrive, with the company also pointing out that "titles may vary by territory" as a result of existing licensing deals it has with rivals like Neflix. 

5) Don't have a cow, The Simpsons are coming to the UK

Due to existing streaming deals and partnerships, it seemed like the UK version of Disney+ would be missing The Simpsons when it launched. As you can imagine, it was a situation that caused something of an uproar on social media, but as is usually the case with these things the execs over at Disney have managed to hash out a solution.

After remaining tight lipped for a number of weeks, the company has finally confirmed that Disney+ UK viewers will have access to over 600 episodes of The Simpsons at launch, which is pretty much all of them. So, you can breathe a sigh of relief, cancel that boycott, and prepare to splash out on yet another streaming service. Your wallet will be thrilled.

In fact, the fledgling service will offer over 500 movies, 350 series, and 26 exclusive Disney+ Originals on launch day in the UK. That includes huge blockbuster flicks from Marvel like Avengers: Endgame and Black Panther, a tear-jerking smorgasbord of Pixar films and shorts, the entire Star Wars Saga (excluding the Rise of Skywalker), and insightful National Geography documentaries like Jane and Science Fair.

Natrually, you'll also be able to access a huge range of Disney classics like The Black Cauldron, Cinderella, The Lion King, and The Little Mermaid, and other less obvious choices like Mrs. Doubtfire, Home Alone, and Avatar. Out of those Disney+ Originals, The Mandalorian is the obvious draw, but other shows like The World According to Jeff Goldblum and The Imagineering Story could also be worth a watch. Honestly though, gaining unlimited access to the entire Beverly Hills Chihuahua trilogy is easily worth the price of admission alone.