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It’s impossible to tell whether we’ve reached the peak of new streaming services or if we have yet to see just how much some services will consolidate. No matter what, it’s getting harder and harder to pick just a few services, since nearly every service seems to offer a few shows or movies worth subscribing for. Two of the most popular among nerds are Disney+ and HBO Max.
Both services offer a wealth of content designed to appeal to geeks: comic book movies and TV shows, sci-fi and fantasy, and a vast library of movies. What if you only want to subscribe to one service though? Which of these two streaming titans has the most to offer you?
Comic Franchises: Marvel or DC?
If you’re not into comic book franchises at all, this won’t matter to you, but if you’re a comic fan, this could be the deciding factor. Disney owns Marvel, while HBO Max features a large portion of the Warner Bros. library, which means DC Comics. While Marvel has regularly beat DC’s superhero movies at the box office, this won’t matter to a hardcore DC fan.
Unfortunately for fans, HBO Max takes a different approach to its DC content than Disney+ does. With Disney+, the vast majority of Marvel movies are available on the service. The only films you won’t find there are those that were part of preexisting deals with other streaming services like Netflix. Even these will presumably come to the service eventually.
HBO Max, on the other hand, tends to rotate its non-HBO content. This means that while the service launched with a wealth of DC films including Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman, and The Lego Batman Movie, some of those are no longer available. On the other hand, a few titles that didn’t make the launch like the Watchmen movie are now available. Still, it’s less than ideal knowing that you can’t count on certain movies being available.
Movies: Star Wars or Harry Potter?
Of course both Disney+ and HBO Max have many more movies than the Star Wars and Harry Potter franchises. These are just two of the biggest franchises among nerds on each service. Aligning HBO Max with just Harry Potter is perhaps more unfair, as it also has The Matrix, The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit – all trilogies – as well as Studio Ghibli classics.
The Star Wars movies are a major feather in the cap for Disney+, but the service also has plenty more to offer including, well, Disney movies. If you’ve got kids or are feeling nostalgic for your own childhood, the numerous Disney movies on the service are a major draw. The Pixar movies on the service also provide a ton of value.
TV: The Simpsons or Rick and Morty?
When it comes to TV, Disney+ features a large selection of live-action and animated series from both Marvel and the Star Wars franchise. Similarly, HBO Max features TV shows like the CW’s Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, and Arrow, as well as DC Universe original Doom Patrol and the HBO series Watchmen.
Where the two services really start to differ is their non-franchise TV offerings. Disney+ has The Simpsons, which is a big get, but doesn’t have as much to offer when it comes to other TV shows. HBO Max, on the other hand, has HBO series as well as other offerings like Rick and Morty, Doctor Who, and eventually, South Park. It also has a smattering of more standard sitcoms like Friends and The Big Bang Theory, assuming that’s your sort of thing.
Don’t Forget Your Other Options
Of course, simply sticking to Disney+ or HBO Max means ignoring all the other geeky content out there. You don’t have to limit yourself, but subscribing to everything means you’re approaching the same amount of money you’d pay for cable, which likely seems like too much if you pay for cable or a live TV streaming service on top of everything else.
Don’t worry though, we’ve got you. If you’re not sold on either Disney+ or HBO Max, make sure to take a look at our guide to the best streaming service for geeks.