Breaking Up Is Easy To Do

Constantly running from the room to check his text messages. His whispered late-night phone calls. Lipstick on his collar. Honey, even if you didn't see it, we knew hell was ready to break loose. Then last Monday, your TV and Netflix had a real blow up. I know, I know. Breaking up always breaks your heart. But I think it's better this way.

On October 16th, Netflix did us dirty. They sneaked around behind our back, and took a beautiful relationship, and just trashed it. Like a total jerk who seemed like a really nice guy, they promised to love you forever, then you caught them with Brenda, that floozie. Honey, you need a glass of wine. But wait. Like a bartender cutting off a customer who has had one too many, Netflix told lots of customers: you've had enough. In particular, some models of smart TVs, Blu-ray players, and game consoles suddenly ceased to tango with Netflix.

I guess Netflix is cleaning house. Last month, the company put its DVD-to-mail rental service out to pasture. The reason? In Netflix's view, apparently, DVDs are obsolete. And now the company has started to obsolete older streamers.

In this latest affront, for those customers, instead of an eagerly-awaited cinematic masterpiece, the company helpfully displayed a screen that said: “Screw you.” Well, that's not exactly correct. Actually, the screen said: “Your device is old, you are a loser, and we hate you so much that we don't even want to take your money anymore.” Well, hang on. Technically, that's also not what the screen said. Actually, it politely advised customers that Netflix was no longer supporting their device. Also, screw you.

Which devices had their plugs pulled? Among the losers: some Panasonic, Samsung, and Hitachi TVs and Samsung and Toshiba Blu-ray players. As you might guess, they were very, very, very old devices. In particular, they left the factory floor at least 10 years ago. Which in technology terms, puts them somewhere in the Late Jurassic epoch (between the Kimmeridgian to Tithonian stages if you want to be more precise.) For your reference, that means your device is essentially a Camarasaurus dinosaur. Cute and cuddly, but very, very old. The mutton chops give it away.

On the other hand, if you are interested, here is a list of devices that Netflix does support. Not much comfort if you've been jilted. I am only trying to be helpful. Like giving you a list of singles bars in the area. The good news (if you are still into Netflix) is that you don't have to landfill your TV or Blu-ray player. Buy a Roku streaming stick or Google Chromecast. Not as convenient, but it does the job.

Now, alert readers probably expect me to rail against the corporate injustice on full display here and in fact I am none too pleased. But, I give up. When you buy a smart device, you dance with the devil. And when the devil comes for your soul, you give it to him. That's the rule. When your smart device is kind of old, it starts spinning that great roulette wheel of brick. And the house always wins.

I don't have the technical particulars, but I am certain that the Netflix stream is constantly evolving. At some point (like last Monday) their stream was probably no longer compatible with some older devices. The question Netflix must ask is, do we stop evolving (and improving) our stream, or lose a few legacy customers? The answer is obvious. No matter what the technology is, older devices should never hold back future ones. That shiny new smart thing you just bought? Some day it too will be just another brick in the wall.

First observation: Don't feel bad, It wasn't you. It was him.

Second observation: Honey, he never deserved you. You were too good for him.

Third observation: Here, have another glass of wine.

mround's picture

While I'm probably one of 27 people in the world who doesn't do Netflix, it's happened with other things too. My Devonian Panasonic plasma came with apps, but they're all gone now; the only "updates" in the last 10 years have been to remove apps, not fix/improve features. So, what does this tell us? Simple. Don't choose a TV/soundbar/whatever based on operating system; choose it based on function. Get one with a good picture and whatever else non-app that you need. Then get a Roku or similar stick for streaming. Chances are, it'll have cooked itself and been replaced by the time 10 years go by and the app reaper comes. The TV itself will probably still be working fine (as my Devonian plasma is).

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