The DhakaTribune’s Showtime is here to help you and guide you through how to use these services from Bangladesh
The digital content streaming war will get much more fierce from next month as the two biggest new services Disney+ and Apple TV+ will go live from November 12 and November 1 respectively. Sadly both of these platforms will not launch in Bangladesh. The Dhaka Tribune’s Showtime is here to help you and guide you through how to use these services from Bangladesh.
What you will get
Disney+ is the upcoming American video on-demand streaming subscription service owned by The Walt Disney Company. The service had a test run in the Netherlands on September 12 and is set to launch in the United States and Canada on November 12, Australia and New Zealand from November 19 and gradually expand globally.
The platform will be a major contender against Netflix, currently the most popular over-the-top (OTT) streaming service in the world.
Disney+ will be focused on film and television content from Walt Disney Studios and Walt Disney Television. They will produce original films and TV series for the platform but they will rollout with the vast content already produced or owned by the corporation. This includes a vast amount of content from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic, and 20th Century Fox. This means the service will start with approximately 500 films and 7000 television episodes at its disposal.
Experts are speculating this will make Disney+ a monopoly in the OTT business as they will stop leasing digital distribution rights for these content to major platforms like Netflix, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video and the upcoming Apple TV+.
On the other hand, Apple TV+ is owned by Apple, the world's sixth richest public company according to Forbes. They have their own plan to compete with Netflix, capture their market share and rolling out in 120 countries from day one with their star studded original content lineup. They even have a separate pricing plan just for India, which is a huge content consuming market with more than a billion potential customers.
Plans and pricing
Both services will not feature any advertisements or commercials. Both will support downloading of content on mobile devices like Netflix for offline viewing, and both will also support streaming shows and movies at 4K resolution and some contents in 4K HDR.
A single Disney+ account ($6.99/month) will support streaming for up to 10 devices at once, with up to four concurrent streams (watching the same show or movie on four devices) at once.
Apple TV+ ($4.99/month) will support six people for one account but Apple has not announced any concurrent streaming information yet. But Apple’s original contents will either be subtitled or dubbed in almost 40 languages from launch along with audio descriptions in eight languages.
Also, the company is offering anyone who purchases an iPhone, iPad, Mac or an Apple TV set-top box released in 2019 a free year of Apple TV Plus. If you happen to buy a new 2019 Apple product like the iPhone 11 Pro or a 2019 iMac, you can log into the device with your Apple ID, run your paid VPN service through a US server, then login to the website of Apple TV Plus and claim your one year long free service which you can share with six other who can run the service from any PC, Android or latest smart TV which has Apple TV+ functions, if they also have paid VPN subscriptions.
Streaming from Bangladesh
Since both of these services will not be available in Bangladesh, local viewers need to use a paid VPN (Virtual Private Network) service and an international credit card to subscribe to them.
Apple TV+ will be simple and straightforward as everything is interconnected with the Apple ecosystem and their Apple ID. If you do not have an Apple ID then create one first from Apple’s official website.
Subscribe to a paid VPN service like ExpressVPN or NordVPN which will cost from $12 to $15 each month. Though the most expensive option in the market, we recommend ExpressVPN as our tests showed that it is the best VPN for streaming or multiplayer gaming and can be simultaneously used on five different devices.
When Apple TV+ launches you can connect to a US server through the VPN app on your phone, PC, or even some smart TVs. Go to the official Apple TV+ site and login with your Apple ID. Enter your credit card information and make sure you have enough dollar endorsed on your card. The international payment gateway also needs to stay open during the transaction. Contact your bank’s customer helpline for more information on that.
After the payment process is set up, you can watch your favourite contents on Apple TV+. Make sure you always connect to a US network on your VPN app before logging in to the Apple TV+ app.
Subscribing to Disney+ is a bit tricky. The service is accessible via a paid VPN but will not let you pay unless you have a credit card from a US based bank.
There are two options to work around this. The first option is subscribing to the Indian OTT platform Hotstar, known as India’s Netflix. Hotstar signed an exclusive deal with Disney recently to offer Disney+ contents in India through their app without any additional charges.
So, you need to use an Indian server through your paid VPN service and register on Hotstar (₹365/month). During our tests Visa and Master Cards issued from Bangladesh did not let us pay on Hotstar during the registration process. The only cards that worked were an American Express (Amex) card issued from Bangladesh (did not work on the first time but after entering the credit card info a couple of times, the server accepted the payment) and a Payoneer Mastercard (used by freelancers).
The second option is if you have any friends or family living in any country where Paypal is available. Disney’s payment system accepts Paypal from any country. All you need to do is launch the VPN under a US or Netherlands (currently Netherlands server is doing a test run). Then go to Disney+ official site and register through your email and set a password. Go to the payment options and pay through the Paypal gateway by using someone’s Paypal account and your Disney+ will be up and running.
Some forum’s have claimed Amex cards issued from any country can successfully clear payment on Netherland’s test server which is offering a month-long free trial. We have not tested this method and can not confirm this.
Is VPN usage legal in Bangladesh?
Yes. According to Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission’s (BTRC) website and its office memo no: BTRC/E&O/VoIP (177)/2005-24; dated January 06, 2010 states that VPN can be used if “VPN service is intended for data services only, no commercial voice traffic is allowed over VPN. Passing illegal VoIP traffic through VPN tunnel in any circumstances is strictly prohibited.”
VPN services are therefore completely legal to use unless it is being used to run illegal Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) traffic, also called IP telephony.