DC Universe, the new streaming service for all things Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and more, launches Saturday.
Our first hands-on look at DC's big foray into streaming services came at San Diego Comic-Con earlier this year. While the service will not initially feature upcoming DC movies like and , or its current slate of shows on The CW, it does include a library of live-action and animated movies, TV shows, documentaries, a comic book library and offers for exclusive toys.
So if you're excited by the first trailer for the, want to explore the depths of a Swamp Thing show or check out the just-announced , you're going to need a DC Universe subscription.
But what sets that subscription service apart from the Netflix, Hulu and HBO subscriptions you may already have? Let's break it down…
It's $7.99 a month
Let's get the price out of the way first. DC Universe will cost $7.99 a month, with annual membership currently available for $75, and it comes with three free months of service.
Note: Preorders are only available in the US. International pricing to come...
Where can I watch?
When DC Universe launches, it can be viewed using apps for iOS and Android phones and tablets along with streaming boxes such as Roku, Android TV, Apple TV and Chromecast. The service will also be available using a web browser.
Titans kicks off a big focus on original programming
So why should you add DC Universe to your pile of subscriptions? DC has been successful in adapting properties like the Flash and Supergirl to TV, with both series anchoring an entire DC television universe that airs on the CW and comes to other streaming partners. But, as even fans will admit, those shows focus more on fun than seriousness.
That's where Titans comes in. Just take a look at the trailer revealed at Comic-Con:
Yes, Robin said "F*** Batman." This is a far more adult take on the Teen Titans than fans may expect, but it falls in line with DC's vision for Universe. Instead of creating a universe that's extensively interconnected, DC is opting to put its characters into their own settings. Which brings us to…
We know what DC's first batch of original programming looks like
With the announcement of Stargirl during a Geoff Johns-centric panel, DC's original lineup expands to six shows:
- Swamp Thing
- Doom Patrol
- Harley Quinn
- Young Justice: Outsiders
So far, just Titans and Doom Patrol are known to take place in a shared universe. Swamp Thing, on the other hand, will be horror-inspired. Harley Quinn and Young Justice: Outsiders are animated. And Stargirl "reimagines Stargirl and the very first superhero team, the Justice Society of America."
It's not just all about original shows
We saw a number of older shows and movies included in our early demo of DC Unlimited, from Batman Beyond to the first two seasons ofand The Adventures of Lois and Clark, the and yes, the Christopher Nolan Batman films. While we don't have a complete list, DC Universe's Saturday launch coincides with Batman Day, and with that will be plenty of Batman content:
- Batman (1989)
- Batman Forever
- Batman Returns
- Batman and Robin
- Batman Begins
- The Dark Knight
- Batman Ninja
- Batman: Bad Blood
- Gotham By Gaslight
- Batman: Mask of the Phantasm
- Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
- Batman Beyond
- Batman: The Brave and the Bold
- Batman: The Animated Series (remastered in HD)
- The Dark Knight Returns
- Batman: Year One (1987)
- Batman: Year Two
- Batman: Shaman
- Batman: Mad Love
- Batman: Year 100
- Batman #1
- Detective Comics #27
Comics will live alongside original shows and movies
No, we don't know exactly how many comics will be available and which series will be included. Warner Bros. Digital Networks President Craig Hunegs told CNET that thousands of books will be available at any given time, from 80 years of comics.
"Members can watch a show or movie, and then flip to reading comics instantaneously," Hunegs said, mentioning that the comics included in the library may at times be curated to line up with storylines being followed in DC's TV shows and movies.
So, a complete Shazam/Captain Marvel archive to pair with the, perhaps? That's totally a possibility.
All comics will be available both on- and offline, with a particularly interesting capacity for TV-based viewing that brings pages to up to 4K resolutions.
That comics archive puts that $7.99 price in a new perspective, given that Marvel's digital comics service, Marvel Unlimited, costs $9.99 a month. That service does have a bigger library, with more than 20,000 books currently available, but it doesn't go beyond the world of pages and panels.
What about toys?
DC Universe will also include a store with merchandise that is exclusively available from the service. At launch will be a series of action figures based on the Justice League animated series that ran from 2001 to 2004, with Batman, Martian Manhunter, Green Lantern and Hawkgirl available at launch. In October, Aquaman and Wonder Woman will arrive, followed by The Flash and Superman in November. Each figure will sell for $28 or all eight can be purchased in a bundle for $194 until Nov. 30.
We'll see if that's enough to convince fans beyond the most hardcore to cough up another $8 a month to access their favorite superhero universes. Until then,, and .
Originally published July 20.
Update, Sept. 14: Regularly updated as more details emerge.
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