Last week there were a number of reports that Netflix would no longer work on some smart TVs from December 2. Turns out, that’s not exactly true.
Samsung was one of the first to issue the release informing customers that some models would no longer support the Netflix app meaning the streaming service wouldn’t be playable.
Reports indicated that it wasn’t just Samsung models being affected. Brands like Vizio and Roku would also stop supporting the streaming service’s app.
We reached out to Netflix Australia who confirmed the news.
“On December 2nd, Netflix will no longer be supported on a small number of older devices due to technical limitations. We’ve notified all impacted members with more information about alternative devices we support so they can keep enjoying Netflix uninterrupted,” a Netflix spokesperson told us.
But we wanted to know which models were being affected and why.
Why won’t Netflix work anymore?
It’s understood to all come down to a digital rights management issue. Some of the first smart TVs back in the early 2010s came with Windows Media DRM (WMDRM), a predecessor to Windows Play Ready, which is no longer in use.
The TL;DR of it is streaming services, like Netflix, require devices to use a rights detection service in order to block any unauthorised recording or playback. Those TVs that had WMDRM built into them back when it was the primary DRM service will no longer be able to play Netflix because the service will no longer accept it.
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Which models are being affected in Australia?
This is where things get a bit curly. Gizmodo Australia reached out to Samsung, Sony, Hisense, Panasonic and Philips to see if any of their smart TVs were going to be affected.
A Sony spokesperson told us “all existing Sony TV models with Netflix are unaffected.”
Similarly, a Samsung spokesperson confirmed to us that this would only affect models purchased in the US and Canada. None bought in Australia would be affected. Hisense and Panasonic also confirmed it wouldn’t affect their models either.
It’s unclear at this stage why models in Australia aren’t affected and whether they contain different DRM services when compared to the affected U.S. models. We have asked Netflix for clarification on this.
Philips is yet to respond with confirmation but given no models seem to be affected in Australia, we’ve reached out to Netflix again to see if there actually any Australian models affected by the streaming service’s doomsday. We’ll report back to you when we know.
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