A major fix has been announced for Disney+ next year

A major fix has been announced for Disney+ next year
Disney+ just launched last Tuesday, and already it appears to be a huge success. Over 10 million subscribers signed up in the first 24 hours, although we should point out that the service offers a seven-day free trial. The vast majority of those using the app are Disney fans looking to view classic animated and live-action films, well known Disney Channel fare, and content from Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic. The app will also show original content, much of it featuring older, iconic Disney characters. But there is one more group of fans binge-watching an animated television series that is offered on Disney+ that has nothing to do with Disney's animation studios.

Earlier this year, Disney closed on its $71.3 billion acquisition of 21st Century Fox. With that transaction, Disney purchased the rights to all 30 seasons of The Simpsons (season 31 started this past September). And while Disney+ subscribers are no doubt happy about being able to watch all but one of the show's episodes that have been televised since the show's debut on December 17th, 1989 (the Michael Jackson episode is not available on Disney+), there is one issue that is bugging many of them.

Disney will offer the first 19 years of The Simpsons in the original 4:3 aspect ratio next year


As pointed out on social media (via The Verge), even though the first 19 seasons of the show were broadcast in an aspect ratio of 4:3, Disney converted them to 16:9 for Disney+. This resulted in some visual gags getting cropped out on the streaming video app. But Disney says that starting next year it will make episodes from the first 19 years of the show (and some season 20 episodes) available in a 4:3 aspect ratio. In a statement, Disney said, "We presented 'The Simpsons' in 16:9 aspect ratio at launch in order to guarantee visual quality and consistency across all 30 seasons. Over time, Disney+ will roll out new features and additional viewing options. As part of this, in early 2020, Disney+ will make the first 19 seasons (and some episodes from Season 20) of “The Simpsons” available in their original 4:3 aspect ratio, giving subscribers a choice of how they prefer to view the popular series."


From season 20 onward, The Simpsons have been broadcast in 16:9, so those episodes are presented on Disney+ exactly in the same format as they appeared on television. In other words, if you watch those later seasons on Disney+ you won't miss any jokes.

Disney is charging $6.99 a month for a monthly subscription, $69.99 for a 12-month subscription. Each account can cover 10 different devices with up to four allowed to use the service at the same time. A bundle including Hulu and ESPN+ is priced at $12.99 per month. Considering that 4K video is part of the subscription, Disney is in the unfamiliar situation of undercutting the competition; a similar plan on Netflix costs $14.99 a month. Verizon customers with an unlimited plan are receiving one-year of Disney+ for free. If you're a Big Red customer eligible for this reward, you can follow the directions right here to claim your subscription.

On Tuesday, when the service launched, there were some glitches right off the bat. Some subscribers couldn't log-in, some content wasn't showing up and some took way too long to load.  Considering the number of people trying to access the streaming video app, that should not have come as a surprise. But since then, everything seems to be working fine.

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2 Comments

4. Alan01

Posts: 641; Member since: Mar 21, 2012

Uh...what? Please point out the bias in our reporting on Disney+. Yes, there were glitches on launch day. No bias there. And Disney itself said that it is making the change to the aspect ratio on older Simpsons' episodes. We love Disney+ and last week we mentioned how it rang up 10 million subscribers in 24 hours. Regards, Alan

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