Last week it emerged Netflix would no longer support a range of older TVs and media players from the likes of Samsung and Roku. However, when asked why, the company would only cite “technical limitations” of the ageing devices.
Now the picture is becoming a little more specific on why streaming the latest original movies and series won’t be possible on ageing sets. The company told Gizmodo that, at least when it comes to Roku devices, that digital rights management appears to be the issue.
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Netflix said that that the older devices use Windows Media DRM, which is as old as it sounds. Netflix switched to Microsoft PlayReady back in 2010. Netflix says this makes it easier to get content from third-party providers.
While Netflix has continued to support the Windows Media DRM, from December 11 this will be no more and those devices will be cut off.
In terms of the Roku devices, the Roku SD (N1050), Roku HD-XR (N1101), Roku HD (N1100, 2000C) and Roku XD (2050X, 2050N, 2100X, 2100N) will be affected. Samsung Smart TVs made between 2010 and 2011 are also on the outs. There are also some Vizio TVs that are losing access to Netflix.
It isn’t only Netflix that’s walking away from these older TV sets, the US streaming service Hulu is also removing some features from the Roku models mentioned above.
In truth the number of folks affected by the change in policy is likely to be limited, given they’re now up to a decade old. If you are affected, then there’s never been a better time to buy a 4K TV set, with Black Friday around the corner. In 2019, Black Friday is closer to Christmas than usual, falling on November 29th. If you don’t mind cutting it close, you could choose to wait until then to get most of your gift-buying out of the way.