Daily News Roundup, 4/8/19: Netflix Kills AirPlay Support

Apple passes Spotify subscribers in the US, Google’s Pixel 3a and 3a XL leak (again), Microsoft makes it easier to remove USB drives, and a whole lot more. Here are the biggest stories from the weekend to start your Monday.

Netflix Kills AirPlay Support Because of “Technical Limitations”

Netflix has supported casting content with Apple AirPlay since 2013, but over the weekend it “suddenly” pulled the plug on the feature. It was originally speculated this was a response to Apple upcoming TV+ service, but it turns out it’s actually…something different

As discovered by The Verge, this has nothing to do with TV+, but rather the fact that AirPlay is no longer limited to Apple TV devices and is rolling out to third-party devices, like Vizio TVs. In an official statement, Netflix claims that it “can’t distinguish which device is which” or “certify devices,” so it “had to just shit down support for it. ” Wow.

Here’s the full statement, as given to The Verge:

We want to make sure our members have a great Netflix experience on any device they use. 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.

It’s interesting because you’d think that, as a standard, AirPlay should work the same across all devices—just like Google’s Casting platform. It doesn’t matter if you’re casting to Chromecast, Android TV, or a TV with native casting support, it just works. Netflix clearly sees something different here with AirPlay devices outside of Apple TV.

While it may not seems huge since most device’s have native Netflix support in the first place, this is still a pretty hard blow to Apple TV users since they’re essentially being “penalized” by Apple’s choice to open the AirPlay platform to third-party manufacturers.

Hopefully, at some point there will be a standardized way to test these devices and Netflix can re-enable AirPlay support across all compatible devices. Until then, however, the company recommends everyone switch to the native app.

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