NETFLIX HAS DROPPED support for Apple AirPlay in what may well be an early shot across the bows at its newest streaming rival.
AirPlay lets you stream content from one Apple device to another: an iPhone to an Apple TV, for example. Netflix has been a keen supporter of the technology and has featured it since 2013, but its guidelines now state that it's no longer supported "due to technical limitations."
It's not really clear what those technical limitations are, given there don't seem to have been any changes made to AirPlay that would break it, though The Verge claims it's something to do with Apple allowing other companies to use its AirPlay 2 standards. Apparently, AirPlay 2 doesn't have any digital identifiers to tell Netflix what device it's streaming to, and this could lead to a dip in quality.
"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," a Netflix spokesperson told The Verge.
"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."
In practical terms, it's hard to imagine this impacting quality too much. If you try to stream Netflix to your HomePod and are disappointed by the picture quality, that's very much on you. But nonetheless, Netflix has clearly decided it's just easier to jack the whole thing in.
It's also true to say that this isn't going to inconvenience Apple fans too much. If you don't have Apple TV or a modern games console, Smart TVs tend to have Netflix built in nowadays, and if they don't you can still send Netflix to your TV via Chromecast. At an absolute pinch, you could just plug in an HDMI cable.
But at the same time, this could just be the beginnings of a petty game of one-upmanship, like how Amazon refused to sell Chromecasts, and how Google retaliated by blocking YouTube on Echo Show. Netflix has already said it won't be on Apple TV+ and stopped people subscribing through the iOS app. We'll just have to see how Apple responds. µ
'Some of us like the misery'
That'll surely affect its credit score