Disney Plus to fix Simpsons aspect ratio following criticism

When people booted up Disney Plus (Disney+) earlier this week to, maybe, watch The Simpsons, many noticed something odd.

While older seasons of The Simpsons aired in a 4:3 aspect ratio, they were now streaming on Disney+ in an updated 16:9 aspect ratio. This sounds good in theory since many TVs are designed with that ratio in mind, but some noted how it seemed to ruin a lot of visual gags.

In one example noted by Tristan Cooper on Twitter, the 16:9 aspect ratio cropped out a key joke in an older episode.

It also just makes it look weird, stretching the scenes out so that characters look wider than normal. This isn’t a dealbreaker, but it’s distracting.

However, it seems as if Disney has taken note. In a statement provided to the AV Club Friday afternoon, the company noted that it will soon offer viewers the option to choose their preferred aspect ratio.

“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.”

Disney+ is the exclusive streaming home to The Simpsons following the merger with 21st Century Fox earlier this year. Without this compromise, viewers would’ve been left with the ugly new ratio for streaming, so it’s good that it’s coming early next year.

Let’s hope that Disney+ has a number of other features planned for 2020. As Ara Wagoner noted in her review of the service, it’s missing some key features, including a Keep Watching section and picture-in-picture support.

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