Netflix Kills AirPlay Support

Posted on April 8, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Apple, Music + Videos with 21 Comments

Netflix recently killed support for Apple’s AirPlay streaming technology in its iOS app. But there’s no conspiracy here, Netflix says: The firm didn’t drop AirPlay over some dispute with Apple about its coming TV+ service as many in the Apple community alleged.

“Airplay is no longer supported for use with Netflix on iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch due to technical limitations,” a Netflix statement vaguely explained on a support page on the firm’s help site. The note was tied to a recent app update that dropped AirPlay support.

And it would spawn dozens of conspiracy theories, most tied to the fact that Apple recently announced a coming TV service called TV+ that will compete directly with Netflix. Furthermore, Apple is bringing its AirPlay streaming functionality—which is like Google’s Chromcast/Google Cast but for Apple devices—to a range of third-party smart TVs, which will help spread usage of the TV+ service.

But it’s not making this change to hurt Apple, Netflix says. There’s no conspiracy.

“We want to make sure our members have a great Netflix experience on any device they use,” a Netflix statement explains. “With AirPlay support rolling out to third-party devices, there isn’t a way for us to distinguish between devices (what is an Apple TV vs. what isn’t) or certify these experiences. Therefore, we have decided to discontinue Netflix AirPlay support to ensure our standard of quality for viewing is being met. Members can continue to access Netflix on the built-in app across Apple TV and other devices.”

Presumably, Apple will find a way to correctly identify AirPlay-compatible devices, and thus their capabilities (HDR support, and so on). And that, should this happen, Netflix could simply reinstate AirPlay support. Plus, Netflix still supports Chromecast on iOS, so you can use that technology with a compatible Smart TV or set-top box if you prefer streaming from your device for some reason.

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