Netflix is rolling out a number of service updates, which is generating messages to all their users with older equipment. When you log on to your account, you may see the warning “Due to Technical Limitations, Netflix will no longer be available on this device after December 1st, 2019”. Basically, they are telling you that your smart TV is obsolete for their streaming.
This may be due to limitations in the embedded operating system, the type of processor or a combination of both. Specific to Netflix, older devices won’t be able to support a newer standard of digital rights management (DRM) software.
Much like your smartphone or computer that is no longer able to get operating system (OS) updates, or new apps, you TV can run into the same issues. And it’s happening to smart TVs that are as new as 3 years ago, which can be very frustrating.
Aside from buying a new TV, the fix for Netflix issue is to get an external media streaming device. We recently reviewed these streamers and the top choices are:
Amazon Fire TV (starting at $19.99)
Amazon Fire TV Cube (about $90)
Roku (starting at $29.99)
Google Chromecast (about $35)
Apple TV (starting at $149)
Nvidia Shield (starting at $149)
FYI – If you already have a game console like the PlayStation 4 / Pro 1 TB (about $275) or Xbox One / S 1TB (about $149) , you don’t need a streaming device, as those consoles support many of the popular streaming apps. This may also be a good reason to get either of these consoles if you were already leaning that way.
It’s also worth mention that even if your smart TV does support all the services and apps you use, one of the streaming sticks above could run faster and smoother. And give you more features (like voice controls).
We’ll also point out that even streaming sticks are vulnerable to obsolescence. The Netflix app won’t work on some of the very first Roku streaming devices for the same DRM reasons as older Sony TVs. The upside is that for around $25 you’re services can always be up-to-date with the latest technology.
Bottom line, streaming devices are cheap compared to the cost of buying a new TV!