Disney’s subscription video streaming service, Disney+, first launched in the United States, Canada, and the Netherlands in November 2019 and has since expanded to over 70 countries.
While South Africa is not among the countries supported, that hasn’t stopped locals from enjoying shows such as The Mandalorian and Loki.
One way to access the titles on Disney+, while still paying for them, is to use a virtual private network (VPN) service.
While Netflix currently offers 3,559 movies and 1,957 TV shows, according to JustWatch, Disney+ offers around 967 movies and 329 TV shows.
The Premium Netflix service costs R169 a month, whereas Disney+ is $7.99 or R115 a month, and both offer 4K streaming.
Netflix’s Standard package is R139 per month, but it is limited to HD (1080p) resolution and fewer simultaneous streams than Disney+.
With Disney’s acquisition of the Marvel and Star Wars franchises, Disney+ offers plenty of exclusive movies and TV shows for fans.
Much of the appeal of Disney+ lies in the monopoly it can exercise over titles from these franchises.
Included in the Disney+ package are all the Disney movies, from the 1937 Snow White to animations from 2021; movies from Pixar, also owned by Disney; Marvel movies and TV shows; Star Wars movies and TV shows; and a wide range of content from National Geographic.
Streaming from Disney+
Disney’s service enables you to stream from four devices concurrently, and you can download as many titles as you want on up to 10 devices.
Disney+ also allows for streaming on the following platforms.
Mobile Devices and Tablets:
- Android phones and tablets
- Apple iPhones and iPads
- Amazon Fire Tablet
- Android TV Devices
- LG WebOS Smart TVs
- Samsung Tizen Smart TVs
Connected TVs, Game Consoles, and Streaming Devices:
- Amazon FireTV
- Apple AirPlay
- Apple TV (4th Generation and later)
- Sony PlayStation
- Vizio SmartCast TV
- Xfinity Flex and X1 TV Box
However, there is a catch for South Africans — Disney+ isn’t available in the country. Going to the Disney+ website from your device in South Africa will see you land on this page:
A workaround for this is to install a VPN, which will enable access to the full range of content on Disney’s streaming service.
Free VPN services are plentiful, though almost all of them cap the monthly data you can upload and download.
After installing your VPN, select a server from the US and activate the VPN. The ProtonVPN window looks like this:
This will assign a new IP address, which will make it seem like your computer is in the US.
Close your browser completely, and once your US VPN is active, reopen the browser and navigate to the Disney+ page.
If your VPN is active, you will be met by the standard home page:
The standard subscription is available from the link at the bottom.
Making payment is also not straight-forward, as you will either need a US credit card or virtual credit card, or use Android and iOS gift cards.
Once your subscription is active, you will need to activate your VPN each time you want to watch Disney+, as the site will not grant access to its content from a South African IP address.
It should be noted that circumventing geographic blocks on video streaming platforms is usually against the terms of service.
Legal experts have also warned that it may be considered piracy in South Africa and it is therefore not officially recommended that VPNs be used for geo-unblocking.
The following table shows how Disney+ compares to Netflix Premium.
|Disney+ vs Netflix in South Africa|
|Maximum streaming quality||2160p||2160p|
|Supported devices||TV, laptop, smartphone, console||TV, laptop, smartphone, console|
|Number of devices for streaming||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Number of devices for downloads||10||4|
|Recommended download speed||25Mbps||25Mbps|