Disney+ follows Sky TV, Netflix, YouTube and introduces drastic changes to YOUR streaming

Disney+ has launched in the UK today, March 24, 2020 (and can be streamed for free). However, it might not quite look as good as you were hoping. Ahead of the launch, the House of Mouse extraordinary new measures to lower the pressure the feverishly-anticipated Netflix rival could exert on broadband bandwidth across the country.

The unprecedented steps follow similar measures introduced by Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, and Apple TV+, which have all pledged to drop streaming quality in a bid to alleviate some of the strain on the broadband infrastructure as millions work from home and self isolate to try and stop the spread of the novel coronavirus and flatten the curve of the virus to buy NHS workers and vaccine researchers more time.

Netflix has promised to cut its pressure on bandwidth by 25 percent. The decision was made following a request from the EU Commissioner and CEO Reed Hastings after politicians raised concerns about the ability for broadband connections to cope with the increased connections.

Although some experts had predicted blackouts across the UK as millions were told to social distance themselves from others and bars, restaurants, theatres, gyms, leisure centres and other venues were shuttered, that has yet to happen. However, a number of software solutions to improve working from home – like Microsoft Teams – have struggled with the increased demand over the last week or so.

Unlike Netflix, Disney+ does not charge an additional fee to stream in Ultra HD 4K quality.

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Instead, the shows and movies will use the pixel-packed quality image whenever the bandwidth is available. Like Netflix, the company has pledged to drop its bandwidth allocation by around 25 percent to relieve pressure on UK Internet Service Providers (ISPs) systems.

“Disney will lower our overall bandwidth utilisation by at least 25 percent in all of the markets launching Disney Plus on March 24th,” Kevin Mayer, Disney direct-to-consumer division head, confirmed in a statement about the streaming cuts.

For those who don’t know, Disney+ will be home to a number of popular properties from its back catalogue, including every entry in its record-breaking Marvel Cinematic Universe, every episode of The Simpsons, as well as classic animated films and their live-action remakes, like The Lion King.

Disney+ represents a colossal push into the streaming market from the company that taps into the breadth of Disney’s media empire. For example, the video on-demand app will also allow access to the likes of National Geographic shows and movies, like the Academy Award-winning Free Solo, and films from Pixar Studios, which is owned by Disney.

But while those in the UK might not be able to enjoy the latest Marvel Movies in the most eye-watering quality, Disney has shelved the launch of Disney+ entirely in France at the request of the French government. Disney had planned to launch the service in France with the majority of European countries today, March 24. However, this has now been delayed until the week of April 7th, according to Disney.

That’s two weeks after it was initially set. Broadband strain continues to be a serious concern for countries across the globe. According to US television and internet analytics firm, Nielsen, when people stay home it can “lead to almost a 60 percent increase in the amount of content we watch in some cases”.

Meanwhile, Sky TV has enabled free access to Sky Go Extra to enable up to three screens to be used to watch Sky TV in busy households – in order to prevent fights over the living room television while everyone is cooped-up inside over the coming weeks. It has also allowed customers free calls to UK landlines until the end of April. Visiting any NHS resources will not count towards a Sky Mobile customers’ data usage, it has confirmed.

Disney+ is available on a wide range of devices at launch, including Samsung Smart TVs, video game consoles, iPhone, Android phones, iPad and other tablets, Sky Q boxes, and Amazon Fire TV streaming sticks, to name a few.

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