Disney never doubted it; fans and potential customers never doubted either. Thus when it officially started launching in November 12 last week, the new exclusive SVOD streaming service Disney+ was a runaway hit with viewers and binge-watchers. Of course, being a relatively new online media platform, the early days were full of hiccups. They ranged from Disney+ incompatibility issues with third-party devices, missing episodes from TV and animated series, and display problems involving said content that were not originally produced in HD. This was especially prominent with long-running Fox cartoon sitcom “The Simpsons,” with fans upset that the 4:3 aspect ratio of earlier seasons were choppily cropped to the current 16:9 standard. They have complained to Disney, and Disney replied.
According to The Verge, Disney has made an official promise to fix the aspect ratio problems affecting viewers of the first 19 season of “The Simpsons” on the Disney+ platform, with the solution to be implemented early next year. Trying to adjust the original 4:3 aspect ratio to 16:9 has resulted in what fans described as the cropping of visual gags and funny background events in scenes of the early “Simpsons” seasons, which tended to happen at the screen edges.
In their official statement, Disney said that their forcing the 4:3 format seasons of “The Simpsons” to the current 16:9 aspect ratio standard was to simply maintain a visual consistence across all 30 seasons of the well-known animated sitcom on their streaming library. The fix they intend to implement come the year 2020 would be to release an alternate version of “Simpsons” seasons 1-19 presented in the original 4:3, thus unaffected when displayed on current TV sets. This also includes certain episodes of season 20, as the aspect ratio transition occurred in the middle of its production back in 2009.
Granted, the “Simpsons” aspect ratio quandary is something fans are already familiar with. The show’s previous streaming platform home was the exclusive “Simpsons World” website under FXX, which also flubbed the 4:3 and 16:9 issues by having the pre-change seasons be cropped or stretched to the latter. Fans on social media have illustrated the problem with images such as the tweet below, where the 16:9 reformat (right image) cut off the gag that is seen on the original 4:3 (left image), that the “variants” of Duff beer are all identical, filled from just one pipeline.
Other problems Disney+ had with their old-series streaming include not just missing episodes (from the likes of “Darkwing Duck”), but also episodes arranged out of order in the viewing list (seen with “X-Men: The Animated Series” and “Kim Possible”). “Simpsons” also suffers from both issues.
Image courtesy of The Wrap