Disney says The Simpsons in original format will arrive next month

Late last year following the launch of its Disney+ streaming service, Disney promised that it would make The Simpsons available in its original 4:3 aspect ratio (for the first 20 or so seasons) at the request of fans. This is more than just an aesthetic issue — the cropping has ruined a number of jokes from the earlier seasons by removing important visual context necessary to complete the humor.

The first 19 seasons of The Simpsons, as well as part of Season 20, were made and aired in 4:3 aspect ratio, which suited the displays at the time. The big transition to 16:9 aspect ratio happened in early 2009 as more people began abandoning their older TVs for new widescreen high-definition models. A number of other animated shows like American Dad made similar changes around that time.

This represented a big change in how videos look on the screen; some consumers hate the appearance of black bars next to older content and will use their TV's built-in widescreen function to force the video from a 4:3 to a 16:9 aspect ratio. Creators have largely harped against such technology, insisting that content should be provided untouched in the way it was intended to be viewed.

Though most television networks air older content in its original aspect ratio, some continue the habit of cropping to widescreen...as did Disney with the launch of its streaming service. Disney+ had been criticized by some as unpolished and lacking even basic features, which have slowly trickled out in the months since launch.

In a tweet on Thursday, the company confirmed that it still plans to make the older The Simpsons episodes available to stream on Disney+ in its original aspect ratio, but you'll have to wait until the end of May before the change arrives. Last November when it promised the change, Disney indicated that viewers will have the choice of watching these episodes in 4:3 or 16:9 aspect ratios.