Video: Get A First Look at Disney+ Thanks To a Preview Launch in the Netherlands
Disney+ won’t launch in the United States until November 12. But viewers over in the Netherlands are already enjoying Disney’s new streaming services thanks to an early two month free trial available until the launch date. Thankfully, some of the more excited Disney fans have taken to YouTube with a glimpse at how Disney+ operates, the content available, and much more. So let’s dive into this Disney+ free trial and see how the service looks.
The Verge provided an in-depth rundown of the Disney+ free trial, in which they echoed their hands-on impressions from The D23 Expo where they called the service “empty but elegant,” mostly because it’s well-designed but doesn’t have a huge library of content yet. It has significantly less than Netflix, but it already has much more than Apple TV+ plans to have at launch.
Prominently displayed are the titles of Walt Disney Pictures, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic, each with their own carousel of available titles. Weirdly enough, this trial run of Disney+ had 18 of the movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe available to watch, even though only a handful of Marvel Studios movies are supposed to be available at launch. This could be due to different licensing agreements for various territories, so we may see fewer Marvel movies in Disney+ in the US.
On the Star Wars side, every single movie is available, not to mention the animated shows like Rebels, Resistance and Clone Wars, as well as LEGO shorts and specials. But since it’s still early, The Mandalorian is still waiting in the wings.
As far as shows are concerned, you’ll find everything from old 90s animated favorites like the original DuckTales, Darkwing Duck and Chip ‘n’ Dale Rescue Rangers to Disney Channel favorites like Hannah Montana. Fox gets a little bit of a showing with X-Men: The Animated Series included here, though it seems to be one of the few (if not the only) title from Fox that is available in this free preview (including movies). Not even The Simpsons can be spotted in this preview, which is likely due to rights deals still in effect at other networks and streaming services.
The Disney section has even more goodies beyond the expected movies and shows, because they also dug back into their history to include classic Mickey Mouse shorts (and that’s on top of all the Pixar shorts available too). These things haven’t been easily available to view anywhere like this, and it could result in a resurgence of classic Disney material as time goes on. Honestly, I’m hoping that the same thing happens with HBO Max with regards to the Looney Tunes shorts from decades ago.
There’s even a specific section for 4K Ultra HD and HDR content, and that’s the only way you’ll be able to isolate which movies are available in that high-resolution viewing format. The search function doesn’t allow you to look for titles by “4K” or “Ultra HD.” As of now, there are only 17 titles in that section, many of which are Star Wars and Marvel titles, but this will surely be growing as time goes on and more movies get added to the service. Don’t forget that these high-definition titles are available without an upgrade charge, and that goes the same for Dolby Atmos.
Though you can’t search by format, you can search by character, which results in all the titles that feature any given Disney popping up. That’s helpful if you want to see everything with Mickey Mouse, but a little unnecessary if you only want to watch movies where Mars Needs Moms.
Based on The Verge‘s report and these two videos from excited Disney fans in The Netherlands, this looks like pretty much what we expected. The user interface isn’t much different from what we get from Netflix or your typical Apple TV streaming app.
Having said that, the amount of content available at launch isn’t quite as expansive as I hoped. While there are gems here that haven’t been readily available on other streaming services like this, many of those titles feel more like novelties than anything to be truly excited for. The upside is that the movies come with a lot of special features, something that pretty much all the other streaming services are lacking, though Netflix has been trying to change that recently, at least with their own movies and TV shows.
The lack of exciting content isn’t enough to make me regret signing up for three years of the service upfront, and at the end of the day, it’s probably just enough to keep Disney fans busy until the content library starts growing with all the original movies and TV shows that will arrive in the coming months. After all, we know The Mandalorian is coming on November 12, along with stuff like The World According to Jeff Goldblum and the live-action Lady and the Tramp movie. So I’m betting this is something that will prove its worth more and more as time goes on.
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