Fans were furious this week to learn that some older Smart TV devices would no longer support Netflix starting in December. Netflix emailed customers who were being effected by the update on Monday to let them know their devices would stop working on Dec. 1. Customers took to social media to rail against this injustice.
Smart TVs have exploded in popularity in recent years, as they make life a lot more convenient in the streaming age. They have on-board apps for most streaming services, including Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and so on. However, as they age, these devices go out of date pretty quickly.
Users were enraged to find that a whole new batch of these devices are expiring with Netflix's next big update in December. Emails shared on social media show the company apologizing that many Samsung Smart TVs would no longer work with Netflix in a couple of weeks, due to "technical limitations."
This includes other devices as well, such as older Vizio Smart TVs and older Roku players. While dedicated streaming devices like Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV may update for years, these onboard options do not get the same support from software developers.
Of course, there are many other options available for streaming, from Roku and Google Chromecast to apps on game consoles, DVRs, computers or even some DVD and Blu-ray players. Still, Smart TV users are not excited to throw a new remote into their entertainment juggling act.
Here is a look at the outcry over Netflix's new update excluding Smart TVs.
Fed up with #Samsung. I spent— -.-. .... .-. .. ... -- ..- -- ..-. --- .-. -. (@ChrisMumford99) November 5, 2019
£150 on a special camera to use Skype and after 2 months they stopped that, making camera useless. Now this..Netflix Will No Longer Be Available on Select Samsung TVs. Smart TVs should be able to have all aps. https://t.co/aolWHiytvo via @ComicBook
For some users, this was just the latest in string of indignities. One person on Twitter noted other features they had paid for and then not gotten, such as Samsung's attempt to incorporate video chat on Smart TVs in 2015. Many thought that Samsung should follow through on the apps it promised to support.
Some savvy users boiled this news down to a simple factor: laziness. They argued that the folks at Netflix, Samsung or both had simply decided it was not worth it to "write additional code" to keep the Smart TV apps up to date. It is not clear how true this is, as the company's blame the lack of support on "technical limitations," which could be more of a hardware issue.
Some users took an optimistic look at this update, seeing it as an opportunity for other companies to lobby for their money. Rather than buying a new TV altogether, many will likely purchase an external device like a Roku. If those companies can time it right, they could see an influx of new customers.
It was in correspondence with samsung and netflix tech, originally. Netflix pointed to Samsung, Samsung pointed to Netflix. Both were asserting the other had to update firmware. Samsung & Netflix eventually told me they were no longer updating firmware to accommodate my model tv— Steve Maier (@SteveMaier_) November 5, 2019
While trying to figure out what was going on an what they could do, customers swapped stories of interacting with tech support at Netflix and Samsung. From the sound of it, there was no clear consensus on the root cause of the issue, but either way the decision was set in stone. No amount of customer outrage seemed to sway the companies toward updating Smart TVs.
If you bought a smart TV and use it for streaming services, you wasted money. What HULU and Netflix are now doing was so predictable. Buy a ROKU device. It'll save you money. https://t.co/LUqf1eXSQD— Mike Anderson (@m_anderson2015) November 5, 2019
The news that yet more Smart TVs would become normal old screens led many people to one simple conclusion: they just are not worth it. Many figured that this trend would continue, as neither Netflix nor TV manufacturers would put in the time or effort to keep these relatively niche devices up to date. On top of that, if there really are hardware issues here, it would be difficult and impractical for most people to fix them.
Cynics rolled their eyes at the news, and half-jokingly guessed what would come next: a proprietary streaming service from Samsung itself.
All jokes aside, many users sought out a complete list of Netflix's supported devices, looking to explore their options. Netflix's website actually has a list of these devices categorized by type and manufacturer, but it has not been updated to reflect the changes coming in December. Many users were weary about buying a device that could lose support within a month.