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- Netflix no longer supports AirPlay, the feature that makes it possible to cast content from iPhones and iPads to speakers and TVs.
- The video streaming service said it scrapped support because there "isn’t a way for us to distinguish between devices" now that Apple is bringing AirPlay support to smart TVs from manufacturers including Vizio and Samsung.
- As such, Netflix says that it can’t ensure that it’s "standard of quality for viewing is being met."
Apple is starting to expand its AirPlay technology to third-party TVs, but Netflix has stopped supporting the feature. The video streaming giant discontinued support last week, instead urging subscribers to use the built-in Netflix app on Apple TV and other devices.
"We want to make sure our members have a great Netflix experience on any device they use," a company spokesperson said in a statement to Business Insider.
"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."
The move comes after Apple made it’s biggest leap yet into entertainment with the unveil of it’s long-anticipated subscription TV service, Apple TV Plus, which seeks to challenge firms like Netflix and Hulu when it comes to premium original programming. The service will provide access to a host of Apple original TV shows spearheaded by industry leaders like Oprah Winfrey, J.J. Abrams, Steven Spielberg, Reese Witherspoon, and Jason Momoa among many others. Apple has not yet said how much the service will cost or how many shows will be available at launch.
Here’s a closer look at how AirPlay works and why Netflix discontinued support for the technology.
What is AirPlay?
AirPlay is a feature built into Apple devices that makes it possible to beam audio and content displayed on screen from your iPhone, iPad, Mac, and other devices to nearby speakers and TVs.
Apple now allows third-party TV makers to support AirPlay 2, meaning an Apple TV set-top box is no longer required to AirPlay video to your television. Companies like Samsung, Vizio, Sony, and LG have all announced support for AirPlay 2 so far. Additionally, AirPlay 2 works with certain third-party speakers, as well as Apple’s HomePod, and is capable of casting audio to more than one speaker at a time. Supported devices will have the "Works with Apple AirPlay" seal displayed on their packaging.
Why doesn’t Netflix work on AirPlay anymore?
Netflix says that with AirPlay 2 coming to more TVs, it can no longer certify that all of its users will have the best experience using the feature. Previously, when AirPlay was only available via Apple TV devices, Netflix was able to certify that more limited experience. However, the spread of AirPlay 2 means that there will be way more devices using the feature, making it harder for Netflix to ensure what it considers to be the best experience.
How do you use AirPlay?
Whether you’re trying to cast video to your TV or audio to a speaker, it only takes a couple of swipes and taps to get started with AirPlay. First, make sure the device you’re trying to cast from is connected to the same Wi-Fi network as the device to which you’d like to AirPlay.
When watching a video on an iPhone, simply tap the AirPlay icon, which looks like a rectangle with a triangle underneath it. Some third-party apps require you to tap a different icon first, as Apple’s support page notes. YouTube, for example, has a cast icon that looks like a rectangle combined with a Wi-Fi symbol. After tapping the correct icon, choose the device you’d like to AirPlay to. When AirPlaying from a Mac, look for the same AirPlay symbol in the video playback controls.
If you’d like to mirror your device’s screen, look for the same AirPlay icon in your iPhone or iPad’s Control Center or in the menu bar on your Mac.
What should you do instead?
Many devices and platforms — including smart TVs —offer their own dedicated Netflix apps, which you can use instead of casting from your iPhone or iPad. The Netflix app is available on streaming media players like Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV, as well as smart TVs from Samsung, Sharp, Philips, and LG among others. Game consoles like PlayStation and Xbox have a Netflix app, too. Check out Netflix’s website for the full list of supported devices.
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