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Disney Plus to fix Simpsons aspect ratio following criticism

The Simpsons on Disney+
The Simpsons on Disney+ (Image credit: Nick Sutrich / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • The Simpsons is streaming on Disney+, but people were noting weird cropping thanks to the aspect ratio.
  • Disney released a statement saying that it'll add more options for viewing in the future.
  • You can subscribe to Disney+ (opens in new tab) starting at $7 per month.

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.

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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.

Carli Velocci
Carli Velocci

Carli is the Gaming Lead and Copy Chief across Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore. Her last name also will remind you of a dinosaur. Follow her on Twitter or email her at carli.velocci@futurenet.com.

4 Comments
  • Fix all the aspect ratios. I was totally on the fence about this whole service. $7 for one show (we all know what show that is).. other than that, blah. I figure I'll pay the $7 a month and thenshownisnt as good as they say, cancel. Go to watch it on the Android app on my Note 10+.... Not only do they not have crop to fit screen to remove bars from the top and not stretch the picture (just like the superior Netflix offers) but they think the solution is a giant border around the ENTIRE SCREEN. It's obvious this whole service was rushed... Only one original worth a crap at the launch and the app it self is a train wreck. There is no way this service is going to be a threat to Netflix unless stuff like that is fixed immediately and they add a TON MORE original content quickly.
  • I can enlarge to full screen on my midranger Android device and get rid of the black bars. I was able to do the same on the desktop version on the Surface... Not sure what the issue is...
  • I should have just bought the Simosons on DVD few years back for first 19 seasons. They were reasonably affordable back then. I recently checked and now itll cost far too much money...
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