In a blog post, Joe Rice, a Disney vice president, explained why showing the original episodes in 4:3 format wasn’t as easy as some might assume. If 4:3 versions of the episodes were added as standalone bonus content, Rice said, features available for modern HD content, like Continue Watching and Watchlists, wouldn’t be supported.
To avoid that, Disney+ had to change how it packages and identifies content — such as video, various audio languages and subtitles — and metadata — like artwork, descriptions and credits. Previously, a content package could only have one version of a single video. But Disney+ wanted to avoid creating new content packages for every 4:3-format episode.
“It was clear that the cleanest path forward was to make a fundamental change to the content model to break the assumption that only a single version of video would be present in any given package,” Rice wrote.
Now, Disney+ is able to create content packages with two forms of a single video. For Disney+ users, all of this means that they can toggle between watching those early episodes in 4:3 aspect or 16:9 without losing any modern streaming features. For Disney+, the change could open up new ways of presenting content in the future.
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