Netflix reveals why it's dropping support for some older devices

midian182

TechSpot Editor
Staff member

Netflix had said that the affected devices are no longer supported due to “technical limitations,” which isn’t much of an explanation.

Now, a Netflix spokesperson (via Gizmodo) has given more details: it’s all to do with DRM. With regards to the older Roku devices, these are running Windows Media DRM, but Netflix has been using Microsoft PlayReady since 2010. So, as of December 2, these older products that can’t be upgraded to PlayReady will no longer be supported by Netflix.

The Roku devices in question are between eight and ten years old. They include Roku SD (N1050), Roku HD-XR (N1101), Roku HD (N1100, 2000C), and Roku XD (2050X, 2050N, 2100X, 2100N). If you’re still using one of these, you should probably upgrade before losing the service.

Additionally, Netflix said the change would also “impact select 2010 and 2011 Samsung Smart TV models that were sold in the U.S. and Canada.”

For Vizio TV owners, the affected devices were sold around 2012 to 2014 and include some of its Smart TVs with VIZIO Internet Apps (V.I.A.). The company did say that Netflix “continues to work smoothly on other VIZIO Smart TVs with VIZIO Internet Apps Plus (V.I.A. Plus) and SmartCast TVs/Displays. There are still over 70 apps available to consumers with V.I.A. devices.”

While Gizmodo didn’t reveal if Netflix dropping support for older Samsung and Vizio TVs was also related to Windows Media DRM, this is likely to be the case.

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Uncle Al

TS Evangelist
You know, if they were really smart they would work out a deal with those companies they will no longer support and offer an opportunity to "upgrade" at a spectacular price. That would help them maintain their subscriptions, spread a LOT of good will, and do something that nobody else in the industry has thought of ....
 

wiyosaya

TS Evangelist
You know, if they were really smart they would work out a deal with those companies they will no longer support and offer an opportunity to "upgrade" at a spectacular price. That would help them maintain their subscriptions, spread a LOT of good will, and do something that nobody else in the industry has thought of ....
Who knows? Maybe they made an effort to do so. As I see it, I would not be surprised if TV manufacturers pushed back at that since many large screen TVs out there, I.e., 55", 65", etc., are less than $500. About five or six years ago already, my local and trusted A/V dealer told me that margins are exceedingly low in that price range. This in response to rebates to dealers and end users - so much so that apparently some dealers were finding it not worth their time and effort to get them to pay up on those rebates.
 

yRaz

Nigerian Prince
So the DRM on my $4,000 Samsung qled might stop being supported, but all this stuff is 1) more easily pirated and, 2) can be streamed from a browser on a PC.

Okay Netflix, smart move.....how many smart TVs are running piracy software? Isn't it way easier to pirate on a PC?

Whatever, only show that Netflix has that I watch is Bojack horseman and it's last season comes out in a few months. Guess Hulu will be getting my money, they have the better line up anyway.
 

Scshadow

TS Evangelist
So the DRM on my $4,000 Samsung qled might stop being supported, but all this stuff is 1) more easily pirated and, 2) can be streamed from a browser on a PC.

Okay Netflix, smart move.....how many smart TVs are running piracy software? Isn't it way easier to pirate on a PC?
Isn't it a bit more logical to suggest that if the DRM was broken on the TVs, that they would be utilizing it to pirate on the PC? They aren't trying to block piracy on the TV platform, they are trying to block piracy that might emulate these TV platforms.This is more of a problem on TV manufacturers not providing a way to update their smart apps. Of course security changes and of course eventually the old connection methods can't be maintained.
 

yRaz

Nigerian Prince
Isn't it a bit more logical to suggest that if the DRM was broken on the TVs, that they would be utilizing it to pirate on the PC? They aren't trying to block piracy on the TV platform, they are trying to block piracy that might emulate these TV platforms.This is more of a problem on TV manufacturers not providing a way to update their smart apps. Of course security changes and of course eventually the old connection methods can't be maintained.
I'd argue it's easier to pirate material on a PC than it is to hack a TV to pirate it. I also don't think people are paying $5000 for a TV just to pirate Netflix shows to post on torrent sites. Not to mention that tons of people hack Amazon fire TV sticks and they get access to Netflix on any TV they connect it to. I don't see Netflix talking about that. Further, I don't see much Netflix content worth pirating. Their selection has been dropping steadily shortly after it's release.
 

brucek

TS Guru
I doubt it's because someone at Netflix was terrified a copy would be made/on one of these older devices, or even by emulating them. What would they care really anyway.

I bet it's far more mundane and boring. It could be a routine IT decision around the lines of "if the vendor isn't going to support this DRM module, then we aren't going to use it anymore." Or I don't know if the old and new require separately encoded digital copies, but if they do, as the number of old clients drops, at some point someone is going to want all that disk space back (particularly at the edge caches.) Or it might be more about the language in the licensing contract.
 

Danny101

TS Guru
So it seems that Netflix was maintaining at least 2 copies for different DRM. If companies won't update their apps or devices, then they lose access. Can't really blame Netflix for dropping old copies. Manufacturers aren't going to update devices when they can sell new devices. Forced obsolescence. They could charge a fee to update the software and keep more e-wastes out of landfills. The TV'S will be fine since you can plug in a new device but Rokus and streaming devices, not so much.
 

Carlos GarPov

TS Enthusiast
I bought 3 samsung TVs and all of the wireless card were disabled by Samsung through updates. I guess this is an agreed movement on the Industry to sell us more S@hit
 

Soulburn74

TS Booster
At least your smart tv has a broken netflix app, my much older smart tv has non usable yahoo/blockbuster apps on it (yes please laugh out loud at how old my samsung plasma tv/space heater is, with burned in espn and nfl logo's in the corner), did I complain and go buy a new tv, of course not, I bought a current streaming device.

For my particular instance, it might be time to get a new tv, just so I can join team 4k, but otherwise, I would not waste thousands just because netflix stopped working directly on my tv.
 
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