Skip to main content

Disney Plus price is going up in 2021 — and it will still be a bargain

Disney+ on an iPhone
(Image credit: WhatToWatch.com)

There were tons of surprises during Disney's massive Investor Day event. New shows. New movies. Teasers of other things to come. The surprise wasn't that we were getting a look at some new stuff — it was just the sheer amount of new content coming our way over the next few years that was beyond incredible.

And then there was that final surprise. Yes, Disney+ is getting a price increase. 

That actually shouldn't be a shock. When Disney+ went live in November 2019, its $6.99-a-month subscription fee looked like a downright bargain compared to Netflix. It's a little tougher to compare it to Amazon Prime Video, which for most of us is amortized with the rest of our Amazon Prime subscription. (To be honest I couldn't even tell you what mine costs at this point. It's just a thing that exists. But since you asked, it's $12.99 a month, or $119 annually. Prime Video on its own costs $8.99 a month.)

It also shouldn't at all be a surprise when subscription fees start low and then ramp up slowly over time. You can always charge more — and you'll almost never see a company charge less. 

Let's go back to the Netflix comparison for a minute. We'll use the current numbers for that service (and, yes, they just went up), and the upcoming changes for Disney+.

Both services have a world of content. Some exclusive to the service, some that you've probably seen elsewhere before. Technologically, though, there's a world of difference in what you're paying for.

Both Disney+ and Netflix are available in 4K resolution. Both support the Dolby Vision standard of high dynamic range, which allows for more colors and makes everything look better.

But whereas you get the best you can get with that same $7.99-a-month fee with Disney+, you'll have to pony up a whopping $17.99-a-month for 4K support via the Netflix Premium plan.

That's a $10 premium for what basically should be table stakes in 2020. Supporting 4K resolution isn't optional (a fact that many of us have been griping to HBO Max about, though it's finally going to be fixing that missing feature). And there's something that just feels wrong about having to pay that much more for it. For what it's worth, Netflix's "Standard" plan, which gets you 1080p resolution, also costs 75 percent more than Disney+.

And all that is before you even attempt to compare content, which I think is a fool's errand. You'll be comparing apples to oranges. But the simple fact is that if you want Disney and Star Wars and Marvel and Pixar, you'll be heading to Disney+. Netflix has its own series and shows and movies. That's all a matter of preference. 

We'll gripe about the Disney+ price increase. That's what we as consumers do. But there's zero doubt in my mind that technologically speaking, it's still a bargain. I'll make the argument that Disney+ can easily make the argument that its content is worth another $12 a year.

And that's even before diving into the list of things to come.