Looking to watch West Side Story before the The Oscars? Well, think twice before you just use it in the app you prefer, as it might be better in another app you already have. Because, yes, somehow this lauded film is included on two streaming services at the same time.
This is because of a deal (opens in new tab) between Disney and WarnerMedia that saw many Fox movies getting shared across both Disney Plus and HBO Max. But even though we really like HBO Max here at Tom's Guide, there's good reason to watch it on Disney Plus instead.
Yes, sometimes even the best streaming service fails to stack up. That said, if you only have HBO Max (say you took my advice to cancel Disney Plus this month), I'm not sure this will be enough to push you back to the house of the mouse.
It all depends, you see, on how clearly and vividly you want to see West Side Story.
- Disney Plus starts at $7.99 per month (opens in new tab)
West Side Story won't look as good on HBO Max
While you can watch West Side Story on HBO Max, it's streaming an inferior version of the film. This is because, unfortunately, not all of the HBO Max movies stream in 4K Ultra HD.
HBO Max only offers a select list of films (opens in new tab) at that rate, and limits its HDR 10 and Dolby Vision support to just those films as well. You might not have noticed this selective 4K streaming, as it's (mostly) limited to the huge 2021 releases that hit HBO Max the same day as theaters, such as Dune, Godzilla vs Kong and The Suicide Squad, as well as the first three Matrix movies (The Matrix Resurrections is not on HBO Max at the moment).
Disney Plus, however, offers 4K Ultra HD streaming for West Side Story, and for many other movies as well. Those include the Star Wars movies and the Marvel movies. Disney Plus also adds on Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos for Spielberg's modern classic, so that it looks and sounds as good as it can, provided our TV supports those modern standards.
Analysis: HBO Max costs too much to lack 4K
If the $7.99 per month (opens in new tab) Disney Plus can offer 4K for many of its movies, it only seems right that HBO Max (starting at $9.99 per month (opens in new tab) with ads, and $14.99 (opens in new tab) without ads) would follow up and do the same.
The pricing for each service may be more about the content it streams — JustWatch claims that Disney Plus has more than 740 movies and 280 TV shows (opens in new tab), while HBO Max has over 2,000 movies and 580 shows (opens in new tab) — but try telling that to someone who is trying to manage their streaming budget.
Sure, HBO Max has a wider range of content, but fans want to see those shows in crystal clear 4K. Especially if they know another app can offer it.