Just last week, Disney announced Disney+ will have apps for iOS, Apple TV, Android and Xbox One, along with previously known devices such as the PlayStation 4 and Roku. Here, at the D23 Expo, I had the chance to check out how the Disney+ application works on an Apple TV. As you can see in the picture above, the Disney+ app looks like most Apple TVs, but Disney hopes to make it stand out from the rest by offering a heavily curated and personalized experience for every viewer -- which it will do with a combination of human editors and machine learning algorithms. If you're a Star Wars fan, for example, the Disney+ app will recommend shows and films from that franchise, as well as content others like you are watching on the service.
Michael Paull, president of Disney Streaming Services, told Engadget the idea with the Disney+ app is to make it "simple, elegant and easy to use," regardless what device you're watching on. At the same time, he said, it's important for every user to have a unique viewing experience on the app. That's why the service will launch with up to seven user profiles per account, which will let each person have their own watchlist and sections such as "Recommended For You" and "Continue Watching." If you use streaming services like Netflix and Hulu (which is majority-owned by Disney), these may seem like basic features, but it was important for Disney+ to have them from day one.
On the Home page of the Disney+ app, you'll see a carousel with big imagery, which will rotate new and noteworthy series and movies. If you have Disney+ on day one, you can expect The Mandalorian and Captain Marvel to be up there, and the carousel will change periodically as Disney brings more Originals and movies to the service. Right below that, there's a set of main tiles that are organized by studio brand, rather than genre. Paull says the goal with these studio tiles being front and center is to not overwhelm people with random choices, and this gives them an easy way to get into the films or series they love the most.
Each studio tile comes to life as soon you click or tap on it. If you go into Disney, you'll instantly get an animation of Disney's Magic Kingdom, while the Pixar one will bring up the studio's iconic lamp intro. When you're inside the studio hubs, hovering over any film or series tile is going to bring up a clip to preview it. If you click on a movie like Avengers: Infinity War, you'll find a written synopsis, extras and related films.