Returning ‘The Simpsons’ to 4:3 Aspect Ratio Upended Disney Plus’ Content Delivery System
However, once the dust had settled, fans were outraged by another tech issue — “The Simpsons” was in 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio, a big difference from the original 4:3 ratio.
Fans of the show voiced their frustrations with the new format, complaining that it ruined a lot of the show’s notorious visual gags. The company expressed then that they would work on returning the series’ original format, and in April, made the official announcement that users can start watching in the 4:3 ratio beginning May 28.
Though Disney was attuned to fans’ complaints since November, it’s taken the company nearly 6 months to make the changes. This, according to Variety, is because they had to reconfigure their content delivery system. “Basically, the Disney Plus team had to reconfigure its content-delivery engine and build a brand-new feature to accommodate a concept it hadn’t previously anticipated: Giving viewers access to the same content but with different underlying video attributes, according to Joe Rice, VP of media product at Disney Streaming Services. And, it had to do that without breaking any of the existing features of Disney Plus,” Variety wrote.
Part of the new goal for Disney was to ensure that the new feature didn’t disrupt how the app normally works. The company had to make sure that even in the 4:3 aspect ratio, features such as Continue Watching, Watchlists, as well as auto-playing episodes in sequential order, would still function.
The new feature allows viewers to watch available episodes in the 4:3 ratio, but it also gives them the option to continue watching in the 16:9 aspect ratio if they so choose. It is also worth noting the Disney has expressed that picture quality is better in the new 16:9 format.