Disney+ launches in UK, 6 European countries at 25% lower bandwidth

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Disney+ launches, but don't count on much customer support for now.
Photo: Apple

Disney+, the streaming service from the Walt Disney Company, launched in the early hours of Tuesday morning across the United Kingdom and six European countries, but at reduced bandwidth and video quality after a government request to ease the strain on broadband networks.

Cult of Mac confirmed that the Disney+ app and service are available on the Apple TV App Store in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria and Switzerland.

The Disney+ app can now be downloaded for iPhone, iPad and Apple TV, but requires Apple TV 4K or Apple TV HD. The app does not support the third-generation Apple TV.

Disney also reconfirmed it will launch in France on April 7.

The service being rolled out will feature 26 Disney+ Originals plus an “extensive collection” of titles with more than 500 films, 26 exclusive original movies and series and thousands of TV episodes from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic, and other content producers owned by the entertainment giant.

No customer service for now

Ricky Strauss, president of Disney+ content and marketing, discussed the difficulties the company faced launching the service in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are, all of us in the world that we live in, facing really challenging times,” told the U.K. PA news agency. “Our focus at the moment is the same focus we had when we launched from the beginning here in the US and some other markets in November, which is to provide quality content and storytelling, and have the benefit of the backlog of our catalog to entertain people and to provide hours of incredible content from the Walt Disney Company, and that continues to be our focus and our mandate.”

Despite the company’s efforts, the COVID-19 pandemic has laid enormous challenges on the company. Disney warned it had to close some of its Disney+ customer service centers due to the coronavirus outbreak. Customers should expect longer than normal wait times for live chat and phone support this week, the company said, suggesting people visit the online Disney+ Help Center.

Users can access Disney+ through a range of platforms in addition to Apple TV, including iOS, Android and Amazon, gaming consoles like the Xbox One, and smart TVs including LG and Samsung. In the United Kingdom, Sky users can also access the app through Sky Q.

Pricing runs 5.99 pounds/6.99 euros per month (compared to $6.99 in the United States), or 59.99 pounds/69.99 euros (compared to $69.99 in the U.S.) for an annual subscription.