We already know that Disney Plus with ads is coming on December 8, and will adopt the old ad-free price of $8 a month. Sadly, it sounds like commercials might not be the only caveat of this new “cheaper” tier of Disney Plus. In fact, you may have to go without some features you may currently be taking for granted.
Thanks to some code-diving in the Disney Plus app, it appears that the ad-supported Disney Plus tier will not support GroupWatch and SharePlay functionality. Which means any Disney Plus with ads you end up watching will be all by yourself. If that’s not acceptable, you’ll have to pay $11 a month for the privilege.
Disney+ Basic (ad-supported tier) tidbit: "Groupwatch and Shareplay unavailable for accounts on the ads tier.” pic.twitter.com/KuTeJiCEtnOctober 24, 2022
GroupWatch and SharePlay are variations of the same feature. SharePlay is an Apple system, letting iPhone, iPad and Apple TV users watch the same content during a FaceTime call. GroupWatch is cross-platform, and doesn’t include the FaceTime element, but it does let up to seven people watch the same content simultaneously.
In a way it makes sense that ad-supported tiers wouldn’t be able to GroupWatch with people with an ad-free subscription. There’s no chance Disney would let subscribers get away with not seeing ads, and that wouldn’t be fair for people who specifically pay to avoid ads.
But it also means there are extra downsides to opting for a cheaper tier. A pain that’s amplified by the fact ad-free Disney Plus will debut with an $8 price tag — the same price the ad-free tier costs ahead of December's price hike.
It’s a situation we’re seeing across the board. Netflix with ads is only available on the Basic tier, which limits you to 720p resolution, one screen at a time and no option to download content for offline viewing. While other streaming services tend to keep their plans the same, with ads as the defining factor, I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw similar situations pop up in the near future.
It’s not clear if Disney Plus with ads will miss out on anything else, but with the new plans set to launch on December 8 it shouldn’t take long for us to find out.