A cord-cutter’s guide to all the big new streaming services

Information found on the internet but condense for you

We know that four major global media companies are planning to launch streaming services in the near future: WarnerMedia (owner of HBO and Warner Bros.), Disney (owner of Marvel, Lucasfilm, and Pixar), Apple (owner of…phones), and NBCUniversal (owner of The Office and lots of other TV shows and movies). Their goal? Cut into Netflix’s monopoly on streaming, take better advantage of their own libraries and intellectual property, stem the tide of TV cord-cutting, and meet consumers where they are. Here is everything we know about HBO Max, Disney+, Apple+, and NBCUniversal’s unnamed streaming service. We will update this story as more information becomes available

HBO Max  WarnerMedia

What is HBO Max?

It’s simple: HBO Max is pretty much the reason AT&T bought Time Warner in the first place.

Not long after the telecommunications giant acquired Time Warner for $85 billion and renamed it WarnerMedia last year, the company announced it was developing a streaming service that would house content from across Warner’s many brands: HBO, TBS, TNT, CNN, and the Warner Bros. film and TV studios, among other assets. Later, it revealed the service would be called HBO Max (even though it includes plenty of non-HBO content), hoping to capitalize on the prestige TV channel’s cherished global brand.

AT&T thinks HBO Max will not only help it compete against Netflix, but that it will also act as something of a buffer for all the DirecTV customers AT&T is losing to cord-cutting. DirecTV, which is owned by AT&T, lost more than a half million subscribers in the first quarter of this year.

What’s included in a subscription?

A lot, actually. WarnerMedia says it will total 10,000 hours of content. These are the main components:

  • Everything from HBO: Game of Thrones, The Leftovers, The Sopranos—you name it. If it aired or will air on the HBO linear TV channel, HBO Max will give you access to it.
  • Ditto for shows from Warner’s suite of cable channels, including TBS, TNT, CNN, truTV, and Cartoon Network.
  • Warner Bros. movies: WarnerMedia owns the streaming rights to many of the countless films produced under the Warner Bros. banner over the years. So most of those films, from A Star Is Born to Batman v Superman, will appear on HBO Max. But the rights to some of them are tied up with other companies. Harry Potter, for instance, will stream exclusively on NBCUniversal until at least 2025—despite it being a Warner Bros. film franchise.
  • Warner Bros. TV shows: The story is the same for shows produced by Warner’s TV unit. WarnerMedia owns the streaming rights to many of them, but not all. Luckily, it’s making things a little easier on us by buying back the rights to many of the shows it licensed out to other services, like Friends. WarnerMedia reclaimed the rights to the beloved 1990s sitcom from Netflix earlier this year.
  • BBC: WarnerMedia recently acquired the streaming rights to several shows produced by BBC, including all 11 seasons of Doctor Who, Luther, and Top Gear.
  • Turner Classic Movies. Thousands of classic films, from Gone With the Wind to Casablanca, air throughout the year on the Turner Classic Movies TV channel, which WarnerMedia owns. At least some of those films will be available to stream on HBO Max.
  • Lots and lots of new stuff: WarnerMedia is developing original programming specifically for HBO Max. These will be called “Max Originals,” according to CNN. Reese Witherspoon and Arrowverse super-producer Greg Berlanti are both producing content for HBO Max. There will be a Dune TV series that serves as a prequel to next year’s feature film. There will also be some kind of sequel series to Gossip Girl.

When does it launch and how much does it costs.  

Expect a beta launch this year and full launch next year.  The cost is going to around $15.00 a month.


The Disney empire knows no bounds. Just as it took over the box office (Quartz member exclusive), Disney now seeks to take over streaming with a robust—and cheaper—Netflix competitor that utilizes its own vast library of content. Disney owns so much stuff.  That got much bigger when Disney acquired 20th Century Fox, and all of its film and TV assets, last year.

What’s included in a subscription?

Star Wars, superheroes, and Pixar, oh my. And that’s just the half of it.

  • Star Wars: All past, present, and future films and TV series that take place in Lucasfilm’s Star Wars universe will be available on Disney+. That includes all the oldies like Star Wars: A New Hope, but also new stuff, like the upcoming series The Mandalorian, produced exclusively for the streaming service.
  • Marvel movies: Disney+ will be the streaming home for all future Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) films. Meaning every new Marvel movie starting from this point forward will eventually end up streamable on Disney+.  The caveat is that not all past Marvel movies will be available on the service—at least not immediately. As with some of Warner Bros.’ content, the streaming rights to some Marvel movies are still tied up with other services. We know that at launch, at least four Marvel movies will be part of Disney+: Captain Marvel, Iron Man, Iron Man 3, and Thor: The Dark World, with Avengers: Endgame following a few months after the service launches. According to CNet, Disney will add a number of other Marvel titles, including Black Panther, to the service over the course of its first year—but we’re not sure exactly when.
  • New Lucasfilm and Marvel exclusives: There will be lots of new Marvel content exclusive to Disney+ as well, like the Marvel TV series Loki, Hawkeye, WandaVision and the aforementioned Star Wars series The Mandalorian.
  • Pixar: Every Pixar movie except Toy Story 4 (which recently came out in theaters) will be available on Disney+ at launch. Toy Story 4 probably won’t be too far behind.
  • All 30 seasons of The Simpsons
  • All the classic animated Disney movies: Disney is ending its longstanding practice of keeping its time-honored classics in a vault, and will allow them all to appear on the Disney+ service. These include The Lion King, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Bambi, etc.
  • Other Disney TV shows, movies, and original content: In total, the service is expected to have about 500 movies and 7,500 episodes of television. CNet has a comprehensive list of every title that’s been announced.

When does it launch? 

Nov. 12.

How much does it cost?

A standalone Disney+ subscription will cost $7 per month, or $70 for a year. You’ll also be able to sign up for a $13 bundle that includes Disney+ and Disney-owned services Hulu and ESPN+. (Disney bought a controlling stake in Hulu when it finalized its Fox takeover.) Only the ad-supported version of Hulu will be available as part of that bundle. Still, that’s $5 cheaper than if you were to sign up for all three services separately.

directly through their cable plans.

How is it different from Hulu and ESPN+?

Hulu is a completely different streaming service that just now happens to be owned by Disney as well. The Mouse House currently has a 67% majority stake in the service, with Comcast as a 33% silent partner. Hulu will continue to have much of the same library as it used to, including its many originals, like The Handmaid’s Tale. So that’s not really changing. Disney plans to use Hulu as a “general entertainment” complement to Disney+’s more family-friendly studio offerings. (Read: All R-rated or potentially controversial stuff will stay on Hulu, while Disney+ remains pristine.)

ESPN+ is ESPN’s $5-per-month streaming service (Disney owns ESPN) that includes all kinds of sports programming outside of the main American sports leagues (NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL). So it’s got stuff like boxing, tennis, lacrosse, UFC, golf, cricket, and some MLS coverage.

Apple TV+


Enter Apple TV+, Apple’s answer to Netflix, HBO, and the streaming revolution. The tech company thinks that making its own shows, with big celebrities involved, will diversify its revenue streams, help it take on Netflix, and ultimately enable the company to sell more iPhones and iPads.

What’s included in a subscription?

A number of Apple original series and films. Just how many is unknown. But we know a few of the TV shows Apple is developing that will either be available at launch or shortly after:

  • The Morning Show: a dramedy about the behind-the-scenes of an American morning TV talk show, starring Reese Witherspoon, Steve Carell, and Jennifer Aniston
  • For All Mankind: an alternate history drama that shows what might have happened if the USSR landed on the Moon before the US and the space race never ended, co-created by Battlestar Galactica producer Ronald D. Moore
  • See: a fantasy drama that stars Jason Momoa and takes place “600 years in the future after a virus has decimated humankind and rendered the remaining population blind”
  • Dickinson: Hailee Steinfeld plays the titular American poet in this period comedy “with a modern sensibility and tone”
  • Mythic Quest: a comedy about a video game development studio, co-created by and starring Rob McElhenney of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
  • Truth Be Told: a legal drama inspired partly by the Serial podcast, starring Octavia Spencer and Aaron Paul

Other shows, like the reimagining of Steven Spielberg’s sci-fi anthology series Amazing Stories will be added to the service each month. Apple has dozens of original shows, films, and documentaries in the works, including stuff from Oprah Winfrey, JJ Abrams, and Sesame Workshop.

When does it launch? 

November 1st.

How much will Apple TV+ cost?

$4.99 per month. Those who buy a new Apple device with the TV app pre-installed will a year of the service for free.

How do I get it?

Apple TV+ will reportedly be available in more than 100 countries. It will be part of Apple’s revamped TV app, which Apple is smartly allowing to appear on platforms like Samsung smart TVs, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, and more—so you won’t necessarily need an Apple device to download Apple’s TV app and sign up for an Apple TV+ subscription. There have been rumors that Apple could bundle an Apple TV+ subscription with subscriptions for Apple Music and Apple News Plus, but those haven’t been confirmed.


What is the service called?

Peacock! The name is a reference to NBC’s longtime logo, introduced in 1956 to underscore the network’s increase in color programming.

What’s included in a subscription?

The Office.

No, really, that’s the main draw right now. The beloved NBC workplace comedy is leaving Netflix next year and will be available on the NBCU streaming service starting in 2021. NBCUniversal has also announced that original series Queer as Folk, One of Us Is Lying, and the third season of A.P. Bio (which NBC is reviving after initially cancelling it) will be exclusive to the streaming service.

Other than The Office, Peacock will include over 15,000 hours of content, comprised of a wide range of classic sitcoms, reboots of classic sitcoms, new original shows, and a library of films from Universal Pictures. Headlining the slate will be beloved comedies The Office (US version) and Parks and Recreation, as well as reboots of Battlestar GalacticaSaved by the Bell, and Punky Brewster.

Peacock’s original series will include Dr. Death, a drama starring Alec Baldwin based on the true-crime podcast of the same name, and Brave New World, an adaptation of the Aldous Huxley novel. On the original comedy front, Peacock will stream Rutherford Falls, co-created by The Office veterans Michael Shur and Ed Helms, and Straight Talk, from Rashida Jones and Jada Pinkett Smith. Here’s everything NBCU has officially announced so far.

When does it launch? 

April 2020.

How much does it cost, and how do I get it?

It’s free—with ads—for paying NBC cable-TV subscribers in the US. Cord-cutters will have the option to subscribe to the streaming service separately, but we don’t know how much NBC is going to charge those people.

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