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Disney+ Starts To Lift Its Coronavirus Streaming Restrictions

Today is a red letter day for AV-loving Disney+ subscribers in the UK and Ireland. After months of fans not being able to enjoy any of Disney+’s Star Wars, Marvel and Disney classics in their maximum picture and sound quality due to Coronavirus-related streaming bandwidth limitations, Disney+ has confirmed to me this morning that it’s lifting all such limitations in the UK with immediate effect.

So over the course of today (June 29) all subscribers in the UK and Ireland should see the picture quality of Disney+’s HD, 4K and HDR titles return to their high pre-lockdown quality. 

What’s more, just as importantly, people with TVs or sound systems capable of handling Dolby Atmos will once more be able to enjoy Disney+’s blockbuster content in the super-immersive object-based sound format (where a titles supports it). This can have just as big an impact on the viewing performance as premium video quality.

Disney+’s welcome move follows hot on the heels of Netflix starting to gradually lift its bandwidth limitations in the UK from June 17. It seems that most if not all Netflix 4K content is now back up and running in the UK at its pre-lockdown maximum bitrate of 15.25Mbps. 

In case you missed it, the whole issue of restricting streaming bandwidths started back in mid-March, when Netflix throttled back its streaming rate across Europe in response to concerns raised by an EU commissioner over broadband infrastructure’s ability to cope with demand during lockdown. 

Despite most technical experts and pretty much all European ISPs suggesting that they saw no likelihood of their systems becoming overwhelmed during lockdown, once Netflix had acceded to the EU Commissioner’s concerns it was inevitable that all the other big streaming platforms would follow suit. 

So now that Disney+ has joined Netflix in deciding that the UK and Ireland are sufficiently recovered from lockdown to remove its bandwidth-throttling measures there, we can surely hope that all the other big streaming names – most notably Apple TV+, Amazon Prime Video and YouTube – will do the same.

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