In brief: For anyone with Apple devices and a Netflix subscription, AirPlay has been a handy way to stream shows from one device to another. But in a move that looks suspiciously spiteful, Netflix have killed support for AirPlay, citing “technical limitations.”
Since 2013, Netflix has been compatible with Apple’s AirPlay feature, allowing users to stream content from their iOS phone or tablet to Apple TV. But this week people noticed that the functionality no longer worked. Netflix have now confirmed that AirPlay is “no longer supported for use with Netflix due to technical limitations.”
The move isn’t particularly devastating, as native Netflix apps are available on most smart TVs, and screen mirroring or Chrome casting still function, but it does seem like a mild and unnecessary annoyance for anyone who previously relied on the feature.
The “technical limitations” in question have arisen because Apple partnered with numerous TV manufacturers to make their TVs compatible with AirPlay 2. According to Netflix, AirPlay doesn’t give proper identifiers that allow Netflix to determine what device it’s being streamed to, and thus doesn’t make sure that their “standard of quality for viewing is being met.”
While Netflix is saying the change is to ensure their streams are of a sufficiently high quality, the timing makes it somewhat suspicious. Apple recently announced their own subscription-based streaming service, Apple TV+.
This wouldn’t be the first time that rival streaming platforms have used underhanded methods to get one over on the competition. Back in 2015, Amazon stopped selling Google’s Chromecast devices while it tried to popularize its own Fire TV sticks. That dispute took three years to cool down, when Amazon started stocking Google products once more. Many AirPlay users will no doubt hope that it’s not three years until these ‘technical limitations’ are resolved.