Disney+ has confirmed plans to lift restrictions on its streaming bandwidth to boost picture quality ahead of the arrival of two of the most eagerly-anticipated titles coming to the services this year: Frozen II and Hamilton, which was brought forward an entire calendar year as theatres across the world remain shut due to strict social distancing rules.
Disney+ squeezed the amount of bandwidth available to subscribers to reduce the strain on broadband networks as countries across Europe and the rest of the world went into lockdown. And it wasn't alone in taking this decision to reduce streaming quality. This followed similar moves from YouTube, Netflix, Prime Video and Apple TV+ amid concerns that broadband infrastructures might not be able to cope as millions of people remained at home to work, study, and yes, binge hours and hours of classic animated Walt Disney movies, Pixar and Marvel films.
YouTube, Netflix, Prime Video and Apple TV+ have also eased restrictions as people return to work and broadband infrastructures were proven to be able to cope with the increased demand. And now Disney+ will also remove restrictions.
Unlike Netflix, Disney+ includes Ultra HD streaming at no extra cost. For a flat £5.99 subscription fee, viewers will be able to tune-in to shows and movies at Ultra HD picture quality with HDR and 5.1 surround sound. All you need is a fibre broadband connection fast enough to serve-up that quality (not to mention a 4K TV with HDR and a surround sound system or soundbar). For comparison, Netflix reserves these home cinema experiences for those who cough-up for the priciest subscription tier, which will set you back £11.99 a month.
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A spokesperson for Disney+ told Express.co.uk, “The temporary bandwidth reduction that went into effect earlier this spring is beginning to lift and the full Disney+ catalogue is now available to stream in HD and UHD formats in the UK and Ireland.”
And the timing couldn't be better for Disney+ subscribers as this promises to be one of the biggest weeks since the video on-demand service first launched in the UK. Friday, July 3 sees the arrival of the biggest animated film of all time – Frozen II. This will be available to all subscribers from midnight and is likely to prove immensely popular with families across the UK.
One of the most anticipated sequels, Frozen II was a blockbuster behemoth, bringing in an eye-watering $1.32 billion at multiplexes worldwide following its release in November 2019. While it has been available to rent digitally for a few weeks, July 3 is the first time Frozen II has been available on a video on-demand subscription service.
With the voices of Idina Menzel, Kristen Bell, Jonathan Groff and Josh Gad, Frozen II reunites the Academy Award-winning team of directors Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck as well as songwriters Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, which put together the first Frozen film.
As well as Frozen II, Disney+ will host a number of extras, including Into The Unknown: Making Frozen 2, Olaf’s Frozen Adventure, Frozen Fever and Lego’ Disney Frozen – Northern Lights. And of course, the first film in the series, Frozen.
And that's not the only blockbuster arrival on July 3, 2020. Broadway sensation Hamilton, written by Lin-Manuel Miranda (Moana, Mary Poppins Returns), has enthralled audiences in New York, London, Chicago and Puerto Rico where tickets have been akin to gold dust. Now, the 11-time- Tony Award, GRAMMY Award, Olivier Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning stage musical will be streamed on Disney+.
The Walt Disney company paid a wince-inducing $75 million for the rights to broadcast the recording of the original Broadway cast, including Lin-Manuel Miranda himself, setting records. Originally scheduled to arrive on Disney+ on October 15, 2021, the streaming service brought the release date forward by more than a year as millions shelter at home amid the ongoing global public health crisis.
Written by David Minister