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Netflix has an annoying excuse for killing AirPlay support

Published Apr 8th, 2019 6:50AM EDT

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One of the simplest ways to start watching your favorite Netflix shows is to get a hold of your phone and then just beam the content to a big screen TV. It’s that easy. But Netflix seems determined to make it harder than that for those people who pull this move with the help of iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV — or other AirPlay 2 compatible devices.

Netflix quietly pulled AirPlay support MacRumors reported on Friday, a move that might have easily been perceived as a new war among tech players. Apple a few weeks ago unveiled its brand new Apple TV experience, of which Netflix isn’t a part of, as well as its own Apple TV+ streaming platform that rivals Netflix directly.

But Netflix later confirmed to The Verge that it removed AirPlay support because of a “technical limitation.”

Netflix can’t tell AirPlay 2 devices apart, as they don’t have digital identifiers.

“We can’t distinguish which device is which, we can’t actually certify the devices… so we’ve had to just shut down support for it,” a Netflix spokesperson said, which sounds a lot like technical bullshit.

The official statement is a bit longer than that and stresses on the fact that Netflix wants to deliver a great experience to users, which isn’t something to scoff at:

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.

At the same time, it also sounds like a poor excuse to limit the AirPlay functionality across the board. You can still use Netflix on Apple TV as well as on Smart TVs. It’s just the AirPlay feature that doesn’t work. And it sure sounds like this is the sort of issue that Apple could fix in the near future. But Netflix is choosing to make a big deal about something that’s irrelevant to end users. I’d absolutely want to know how many people stopped streaming Netflix via AirPlay because of the AirPlay-related quality issues that Netflix is referring to.

Hopefully, this won’t escalate into the kind of silly feuds between tech giants that we’ve witnessed before, and AirPlay will soon be supported again on Netflix.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.