It’s that time of year again! And we don’t mean it in a good way since it’s all back to square one with our country’s current 2-week total lockdown from June 1 to June 14. With cinemas forced to cease operations (yet again), among the major source of entertainment that we can get from home happens to be what is now becoming good ol’ reliable streaming services.
Thankfully, the long-awaited Disney+ Hotstar Malaysia has arrived just in time on June 1st!
Brief History About Disney+
Originally launched in the US and a few selected countries on November 12, 2019, Disney+ a.k.a. Disney Plus is yet another strong competitor in the streaming wars. Similar to its rivals such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ operates as a subscription-based streaming service. It offers a library of movies, animations and TV series from Disney’s own archive and others like 20th Century Studios (formerly 20th Century Fox) and of course, Marvel Studios.
What Is Disney+ Hotstar Malaysia?
While the viewers from the US and selected countries can enjoy streaming both highly-anticipated Star Wars and Marvel series such as “The Mandalorian”, “WandaVision” and “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier”, some of us have to resort to seeking them in an illegal way.
Well, not anymore, thanks to the timely arrival of Disney+ Hotstar Malaysia, which made its official debut on June 1st, 2021. At present, the price for the subscription is rather unique compared to its rivals, as evidently seen with its one-and-only 3-month subscription that costs RM54.90. And come to think of it, RM54.90 for 3 months is considered a steal! That means you only need to pay RM18.30 for a month. Whether or not Disney+ Hotstar Malaysia would consider the regular monthly subscription basis remains to be seen.
In case you are wondering why there’s a “Hotstar” behind Disney+, that’s because it happens to be a collaboration between Disney and Star India’s Hotstar streaming service.
Personal Review On Disney+ Hotstar Malaysia
First things first, I have to admit the RM54.90 for a 3-month subscription sounds enticing enough. Besides, we are talking about a streaming service that has over 800 movies and 18,000 episodes of TV series. So, I ended up subscribing to Disney+ Hotstar Malaysia early in the morning. And since I’m not an existing Astro subscriber, I went straight to the website itself.
Subscribing to Disney+ Hotstar Malaysia is pretty straightforward and easy to follow. Just click the “Subscribe” blue button on the top right side of the main page. You can also get to select your preferred viewing language beside the “Subscribe” button. However, it is restricted only to English and Malay languages.
From there, scroll down and the only available plan you can see is RM54.90 for 3 months. Click “Continue” and you will have to enter your mobile phone number. You get an SMS with a four-number code that needs to be entered on the website to grant access.
But What About The Payment?
Well, the good thing about the payment is its flexibility. You can choose to pay for the 3-month subscription via credit card, debit card or online banking (FPX), where the latter supports up to 17 banks. This includes the likes of Maybank2U, CIMB Clicks, Hong Leong Connect and RHB Now.
Navigating around Disney+ Hotstar Malaysia is smooth, thanks to its clean and streamlined design. They have four main categories to choose from including Series, Movies, Disney+, Local and Kids. If you find anything you like, just add them to your watchlist.
The only major gripe about Disney+ Hotstar Malaysia is unlike the one seen on Netflix, it lacks additional clickable features including cast and director. While this may be a minor issue for others, I personally prefer to have those additional features on Disney+ Hotstar Malaysia. That way I get to know how many movies or series are available featuring the actor’s or director’s works on the streaming service itself.
Still, at least they include genres with 14 of them available such as Drama, Family, Action and Superhero. Moving on to My Account, you can choose to cancel your membership anytime if Disney+ Hotstar Malaysia isn’t up to your expectation.
So, What’s Available On Disney+ Hotstar Malaysia?
Now, this is where it matters the most: the content. If you happen to be a huge Disney fan, you are in for a treat here. For Disney Classics alone, you get to stream some of the all-time favourites such as “Alice in Wonderland”, “Mulan”, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” and “Pinocchio”. Not to mention they have popular Pixar animations included ranging from the first “Toy Story” to others like “Monsters, Inc.”, “Finding Nemo” and last year’s “Soul”.
When it comes to Disney’s live-action movies, you can enjoy popular blockbusters like “The Lion King”, “The Jungle Book” and “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil”.
Marvel Movies & More…
Fans of Marvel superhero movies, in the meantime, can look forward to the likes of “Avengers: Endgame”, “Black Panther” and “Iron Man”.
Given the fact that Disney has acquired the Fox company back in early 2019, they also added in Fox-era “X-Men” movies, “Deadpool” and “Fantastic Four”. Speaking of Fox, well-known movie franchises including “Alien”, “Predator” and “Die Hard” are all here.
Star Wars Fans, This One’s For You
Let’s set aside all the mixed responses surrounding the “Star Wars” prequel and its sequel. Both aforementioned trilogies are available for streaming and so does the original “Star Wars” trilogy. If that’s not enough, they even threw in the Star Wars animated series (e.g. “Star Wars Rebels”, “Star Wars: The Clone Wars”) for good measure. And of course, you finally get to legally stream the first two seasons of “The Mandalorian”.
Local & Chinese Movies Included
Not content with just English-language content, they have both local and Chinese movies as well. In addition to the Disney+ Hotstar Malaysia exclusive premiere of “J2: J Retribusi”, you will find others such as “Ejen Ali: The Movie”, “Munafik”, the first two “KL Gangster” and even critically-acclaimed features, namely “Guang” and the late Yasmin Ahmad’s “Mukhsin”.
Not to be left out are several Hong Kong and Chinese movies such as “Ip Man 4”, “The Storm Riders”, “Infernal Affairs” and “Goodbye Mr. Loser”.
Series That You Can Binge-Watch
Remember back in the day where you have to wait for a new episode of your favourite TV series to appear once a week? Although by today’s standard, you can get the same privilege in other streaming services like Netflix, it’s still worth mentioning here.
For example, you can finally binge-watch all original 9 seasons of “The X-Files” series as well as its two revival seasons. Here are a few other popular series you can expect from Disney+ Hotstar Malaysia: “The Walking Dead”, “Grey’s Anatomy”, “The Simpsons” and “Modern Family”.
Also, let’s face it, (most) people are excited to subscribe to Disney+ Hotstar Malaysia because they can legally stream “WandaVision”, “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” and the upcoming “Loki” (set to be released on June 9).
Censorship? Like, Seriously?
One of the popular movies that I rewatched on Disney+ Hotstar Malaysia was the 1996 action movie titled “The Rock”. You know, the one with Nicolas Cage and the late Sean Connery where they team up to infiltrate the Alcatraz prison to stop a rogue team of US Marines from launching a deadly nerve gas? While profanity remains audible in the actors’ dialogues, it’s kind of baffling to see the English subtitles… censored? This brings me to the ultimate question: Why bother censoring the profanity for the English subtitles when the foul language can be heard anyway?
Disney+ Hotstar Malaysia vs. Netflix
Ah, yes… the inevitable streaming war between Disney+ Hotstar Malaysia and Netflix. Let’s see how these two streaming giants fare in their respective services:
In terms of pricing, Disney+ Hotstar Malaysia easily wins hands down. Here, I’d like to repeat the value-for-money package that it offers us at just RM54.90 for a 3-month subscription. Of course, it would have been sweeter if Disney+ Hotstar Malaysia considers allowing us to subscribe to its streaming service on a monthly basis.
By comparison, Netflix’s Basic account (for Standard Definition) is priced at RM35 per month. And if you can’t stand the sight of standard-definition video quality, you need to at least fork out RM45-55 for Full HD and 4K resolution respectively. Sure, you can always choose the cheaper RM17-a-month package but too bad it’s only available for mobile streaming and sadly restricted to standard-definition video quality.
b) Content Library
According to Statista, Netflix (for Malaysia) has a whopping 6,361 content available including movies and TV shows combined. Truth to be told, Netflix is more diverse when comes to a mix of adult-oriented and family-friendly materials.
Disney+ Hotstar Malaysia, on the other hand, largely targets kids and families, especially judging by their family-friendly Disney and related movies & TV shows. Although you still get to stream adult-oriented fares like “The Rock” and “Crimson Tide”, Disney+ Hotstar Malaysia benefits the most from having Marvel, Star Wars and its own extensive library from their decades-long production company.
c) Supported Devices
Just like Netflix, Disney+ Hotstar Malaysia is capable of support across multiple devices. You can stream your favourite movies or series on the likes of laptops, computers and smart TVs. Alternatively, you can choose to stream them via mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. (Google Play, iOS).
Long Story Short, Should You Subscribe To It?
Well, given the current 2-week lockdown and who knows, it might extend longer than expected, I have to say it’s worth subscribing to Disney+ Hotstar Malaysia. And more so if you are fans of the Disney, Marvel and Star Wars franchises.