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Disney Launches Streaming Video Service with Free Movie

Disney fans can already stream their favorite movies via services like Netflix, but if you're looking for a more comprehensive library, the film company has you covered. A new streaming service called Disney Movies Anywhere offers instant access to more than 400 films, and new users can grab one for free.

Disney Movies Anywhere is exactly what it sounds like: a service that gives users the chance to stream or download movies from Disney, Pixar and Marvel to either their computers (PC and Mac) or their iOS devices. Users purchase these movies via iTunes, which syncs up with the Disney Movies Anywhere app and website. At present, the service is not available for Android, streaming boxes or game consoles.

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Apple also appears to be working closely with Disney for the launch of the service. Users who sign up for Disney Movies Anywhere and link their iTunes accounts will receive a free copy of Pixar's superhero satire "The Incredibles."

In addition to full movies, the service also offers behind-the-scenes featurettes, individual songs and short cartoons from the Disney vaults. Titles tend to skew newer ("Frozen" and "Thor: The Dark World" feature front and center on the website), but some classics like "Cinderella" and "Mary Poppins" are present and accounted for, too.

Although the service is new, users may already have a few streaming titles at their disposal. Disney DVDs and Blu-rays often come with digital download codes. Users can sync these codes with their accounts to give their libraries a head start. Future movie purchases can also help users earn points toward other rewards, such as other movies or other digital goods.

One potential pitfall of the service is that it offers each movie à la carte. Disney aficionados hoping to stream the company's entire backlog will have to shell out an awful lot of money to do so. Each movie costs roughly $20 to purchase; acquiring the entire collection would set a Disney fan back a few thousand dollars, at least.

Not every company could get away with launching its own streaming service, but Disney and its murine mascot tend to attract a fairly hardcore crowd. Between children, parents and dedicated Disney fans, Disney Movies Anywhere stands a good chance of eking out a niche in a crowded marketplace.

Follow Marshall Honorof @marshallhonorofand on Google+. Follow us @tomsguide, on Facebook and on Google+.

Marshall Honorof is an editor for Tom's Guide, covering gaming hardware, security and streaming video. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi.