Back in April of 2017, DC Comics announced that they would be releasing a new streaming service exclusively for DC Comics use, and not including other intellectual properties owned by Warner Brothers. It wasn’t until much later that we learned it wasn’t just a streaming service of DC video content, or just a competitor to Marvel Unlimited which catered exclusively to comic book readers. No, DC Universe would do both.
What is DC Universe?
DC Universe is a streaming service that provides both video and comic book content to is users. It operates much like Netflix, Hulu, or other video-on-demand services, but with the added benefit of being a reader for comic books.
We should also mention that there is a video game also called DC Universe, and the general term used to refer to all of the collective worlds, superheroes, and events is also the same. So that can be a little confusing. But we are talking specifically about the streaming platform.
It was released on September 15, 2018 with a moderate amount of content, but the creators have continued to update and add more features as the months have gone on. This is our complete guide to the platform for 2019.
What does DC Universe Include?
DC Universe is a multi-purpose streaming platform. It functions differently than most video-on-demand services (except perhaps for Amazon Prime) in the sense that video is only one of its many offerings. Among other things, DC Universe includes:
- Various older films such as the classic Christopher Reeve Superman films, and the original Batman films. It also includes Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy.
- Many animated and live-action television shows based on DC properties, such as the DC Animated Universe, various DC Animated Films, and classics like the Lois & Clark series or Birds of Prey. There are also a few newer shows like SyFy’s Krypton.
- DC Universe originals, including Titans, Doom Patrol, Young Justice: Outsiders, and more. We’ll discuss these in more detail below.
- DC Daily, a talk show that airs new episodes every week day.
- Various shorts, documentaries, and other specials.
- Over 20,000 comic issues! This is almost the entirety of DC’s digital catalog. It would be futile to list all the great comics here, but it includes such classics as Batman: Year One, Crisis on Infinite Earths, Infinite Crisis, Flashpoint, some of the very first comics ever, as well as most of the more recent comics up to about a year ago. New comics are added roughly 12 months after their initial release.
- Community forums, places where you can discuss all things DC Comics with other like-minded fans. And maybe a few not-so-like-minded.
- A news feed related to DC Universe, but also to DC Comics in general.
- An encyclopedia, which acts a lot like a Wiki of sorts.
- A shop for exclusive gear, only available on DC Universe.
What Isn’t on the Platform?
Also, we should also mention what is not currently included on DC Universe. This is what you won’t find on the streaming service, as of this writing:
- CW’s DC shows including Arrow, Flash, Supergirl, etc. This is likely due to streaming rights, which are currently held by Netflix. However, if and when those rights expire, we will likely see the Arrowverse head over to DC Universe.
- Gotham and other shows that have streamed on other networks.
- Newer films like Aquaman, Wonder Woman, etc.
- The classic Batman ‘66 television show.
- Comics from various imprints like Vertigo.
Overall, it’s a lot of content, and even though it’s not 100% complete, with regular updates it’s likely we will see more content added to the service in the coming months and years.
One of the biggest downsides to DC Universe is that it isn’t available overseas, yet. That being said, many of the original shows have appeared on Netflix internationally, so you may still be able to watch them if you live outside of the United States.
Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do to read the comics. You could try to use a VPN to trick the service into thinking you’re from the US, but it’s uncertain if this would work.
As far as available apps, DC Universe can be used on:
- Web Browsers
- Apple TV
- Android TV
- Amazon Fire TV
- Xbox One
There is not an app for the Playstation yet, but since we recently got one for Xbox One, it’s likely we’ll get one for Sony’s console in the near future.
As of this writing, DC Universe will set you back $7.99 USD a month. You can also get an annual plan of $74.99 a month. This averages out to $6.25 per month.
So for a streaming service, this is a relatively cheap price. However, it’s likely that DC is keeping the price low for now to attract users, and it will eventually go up as more and more people become aware of the service.
Ease of Use
Overall, I’d say DC Universe is pretty intuitive, at least on the iOS app and the web browser version. I’ve had some trouble finding what I’m looking for with the Xbox One app, having to ultimately resort to the search for most of what I want to watch (or read).
That’s another nice thing about the TV apps, you can use them to read comics on your television. I’ve actually found this to be a nice touch. You can even set it to autoplay so you’re watching a slideshow. It’s a bit like watching a silent movie.
I will say that, especially at the beginning, there were a lot of bugs, and not everything worked right. I still get the occasional crash while I’m reading a comic, and I have to reload the issue. Though I get far fewer errors now than I used to.
The video streaming runs fairly smoothly. I know this can sometimes be a deal breaker with some streaming services. But even if you have poor Internet, you will likely still be able to watch DC Universe’s selection.
How does it compare to Marvel Unlimited?
There are a number of differences when comparing DC Universe to Marvel Unlimited.
- More comics. Though it didn’t start out this way, DC Universe now has far more comics at 20,000 than Marvel Unlimited’s approximate 15,000 comics.
- Video content. The obvious difference is that DC Universe includes film and television shows, whereas Marvel Unlimited only includes comics.
- Other extras. DC Universe contains forums, encyclopedias, a shop, and more.
- TV capability. Marvel Unlimited is only available on the web and on mobile devices, meaning you can’t view the comics on prominent television apps.
- Price. Marvel Unlimited is a full $2 more expensive at $9.99. However, as mentioned above, it’s likely that DC Universe will up their prices in the future.
- Bugs. Generally speaking, Marvel Unlimited has fewer bugs than DC Universe. But it’s worth noting it has also been around longer.
I know it may look like DC Universe is (mostly) superior to Marvel Unlimited, primariliy because it is more than just a comic-reading service, and it contains more content, which leads me to…
Is DC Universe Worth It?
Now let’s just get this out of the way first, I am not an affiliate of DC Comics in any way. They are not paying me for this post, nor do I get any kickback for any traffic I send towards DC Unlimited. So any recommendations I make are purely my own opinion, unbiased by monetary means.
That being said, I absolutely 100% recommend DC Universe to anyone who is a fan of DC Comics. In fact, I’d recommend it to people with even a passing interest in DC, or who only like one or two characters. Even those who know nothing of DC but want to learn more will find something in this streaming service that they will love.
For DC fans, DC Universe is the be-all and end-all of the fandom. When you total up all the features and advantages, you simply cannot ignore its value. These features include:
- Quality original television shows
- Almost all of DC’s archive of animated shows
- Classic films and television shows
- Most of the more recent animated films
- A HUGE library of 20,000 comics
- A highly reasonable price of $7.99
- Forums, shops, and other features not found in any other streaming service
Consider purchasing a subscription if you fit any of the following:
- You are a DC fanatic
- You are interested in getting into the comics
- You want a cheap, economical way to re-watch some of your favorite DC classics, like the original Batman: The Animated Series.
- You want to enjoy some fresh, new superhero content.
Overall, I do highly recommend DC Universe for most geeks. And it might be better to get in on it now before they raise their price for new subscribers (again, I’m not getting any money for saying this).
I apologize once again for any of you who live outside the US, but keep checking back to see if the platform updates their availability for international viewers.
DC Universe Original Content
One of the greatest draws to any streaming service is their original content. As such, I thought it fitting to provide a brief review of the original content we’ve seen on DC Universe so far.
- Titans: This show started just after launch, and was surprisingly good. After a controversial trailer was released at San Diego Comic Con, many thought it wouldn’t be a good show. And indeed, the decision to go uber-dark was one that originally did not sit well with me. But after watching it, I can safely say that (though different than I would have done it) the show delivers on its storytelling quality. The season finale, for example, was a phenomenal piece of storytelling.
- Young Justice Outsiders: Season 3 of Young Justice was a draw for many fans, and I can safely say that it delivers on the quality you would expect based on the previous two seasons. This has been my favorite exclusive so far on the platform.
- Doom Patrol: This show is weird, but in a good way. Though, like Titans, it’s extremely dark and you definitely don’t want your kids watching it, it’s almost Deadpool-like in its campiness, and I like it.
As of right now, that’s everything new that has been released on the service. But we also have the following coming in the near future:
- Swamp Thing: As of this writing, Swamp Thing is just about to debut its first episode, but the trailers give it a similar dark vibe to Titans and Doom Patrol. There have been some rumblings that there were problems in production, but we shall have to wait and see. Based on the trailers alone, I think it looks alright if you’re a fan of horror.
- Stargirl: Stargirl is currently in development, and is created by Geoff Johns and Lee Moder, set to premiere in 2020 near the beginning of the year. It cast Brec Bassinger as the title role, and many other of the cast have also been announced. It’s unclear if this show takes place in continuity with any others.
- Harley Quinn: This is an adult animated show featuring Big Bang Theory’s Kaley Cuoco as the title character. Given that Harley is one of the more irreverent and beloved characters in the DC pantheon, and consider a well-received trailer, it should be a great show. It’s created by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm (the creators of the character back in the days of Batman: The Animated Series) and is set to premiere in October of this year.
- Metropolis: We know very little about this show, and it’s unclear if it’s even still in development. But if it does come to light, it will feature as a prequel of sorts, with Lois Lane and Lex Luthor before Superman/Clark Kent came to the city. And though it’s not 100% confirmed, this would likely take place in the same universe as Gotham.
Is DC Universe Doing Well?
First of all, it’s impossible to know this for sure, since we do not have access to DC’s subscriber or financial data. That being said, a number of outlets have come out to say that the service is doing well. According to /Film’s sources, “it is outpacing expectations.”
The question is, is it doing well enough? The amount of bandwidth and server time needed to host a streaming service is not cheap, and they need a lot of subscribers to get there. Of course, services like Marvel Unlimited have been doing well for years, and so we can likely predict the same for DC Universe.
If there are to be any major changes, it will likely have to do with the video content, since producing exclusive content is highly expensive, and will not continue if they do not see estimated growth. However, given the story listed above, I think this is highly unlikely. Though DC Universe is almost certainly going to take a loss in its first few years (this is normal), I do not believe it will last long.
In other words, go get your subscription. It’s worth it, and they will definitely need your money to keep it alive. And I really REALLY want it to stay alive.
For detailed timelines and read-throughs of multiple DC Comics properties, visit our DC Comics Timeline Hub.