Disney Plus with ads just got a major upgrade — here’s what we know

Hand with remote in front of Disney Plus on a television
(Image credit: Disney Plus)

Disney Plus with ads (aka Disney Plus Basic) is Disney’s response to a couple of trends with the best streaming services. First, streamers need to find a way to make more money off their platforms to turn a profit and appease shareholders, but they also need to provide more affordable options to entice subscribers as inflation hits everyone’s wallet. But when Disney Plus with ads went live, users noticed a glaring problem — it didn’t work with Roku.

Now that problem is officially solved. Roku has announced that it's streaming devices and smart TVs now support Disney Plus Basic, ending months where one of the best streaming services and one of the best streaming device manufacturers simply didn’t get along.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a standoff between streaming services and streaming device platforms. Netflix has its own ad-supported platform and while it finally works on Apple TV devices, there was a while were subscribers were unable to watch the latest Netflix shows and movies on the Apple TV 4K.

Hopefully, this is a sign that these disputes are going away. While these companies fight over ad revenues, the only people getting hurt are the consumers trying to save some money while still watching their favorite TV shows and movies. Given that these ad-supported tiers already come with some tradeoffs, it’s added insult to injury to limit where they can be watched.

Disney Plus with ads: What you need to know

A phone with the Disney Plus logos is surrounded by popcorn and an "Act fast" graphic in the corner.

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Disney Plus Basic was announced back in September of last year along with a slew of other Disney-related price hikes. Disney Plus, Hulu and ESPN Plus all got price hikes at the time. Disney also eliminated its legacy Disney Bundle (Disney Plus without ads, Hulu with ads and ESPN Plus), replacing it with a wholly ad-supported package.

However, since going live in December 2022, Disney Plus with ads has proved not all ad-supported streaming services are created equal. Netflix with ads comes with some serious drawbacks — lower resolution caps, limited simultaneous streams and you can’t even watch everything Netflix has to offer. That’s not Netflix with ads, that’s a whole different streaming service (Netflix Lite?).

By comparison, Disney Plus with ads is, well, largely just Disney Plus with ads. You still get up to 4K resolution, up to four simultaneous streams and access to the entire Disney Plus library of shows and movies. You even get support for Dolby Vision and HDR10, though you lose the ability to download content or watch with friends and family via GroupWatch

So if you’re looking to save some money, switching to Disney Plus Basic could be a savvy move. Though personally, I’d recommend spending just a bit more to get one of the new Disney Bundles. There’s one that gives you Disney Plus with ads and Hulu with ads for just $9.99 — just $2 more than Disney Plus with ads by itself. And for sports fans, an additional $3 will also get you ESPN Plus. 

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Malcolm McMillan
Senior Streaming Writer

Malcolm McMillan is a senior writer for Tom's Guide, covering all the latest in streaming TV shows and movies. That means news, analysis, recommendations, reviews and more for just about anything you can watch, including sports! If it can be seen on a screen, he can write about it. Previously, Malcolm had been a staff writer for Tom's Guide for over a year, with a focus on artificial intelligence (AI), A/V tech and VR headsets.

Before writing for Tom's Guide, Malcolm worked as a fantasy football analyst writing for several sites and also had a brief stint working for Microsoft selling laptops, Xbox products and even the ill-fated Windows phone. He is passionate about video games and sports, though both cause him to yell at the TV frequently. He proudly sports many tattoos, including an Arsenal tattoo, in honor of the team that causes him to yell at the TV the most.