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Netflix drops AirPlay support citing unnamed 'technical limitations'

Netflix debuted AirPlay support in 2013.

For reasons unknown, Netflix recently disabled the ability to stream content from an iOS device to Apple TV using Apple's AirPlay protocol, a move that limits customer options.

The change in app policy was noted in a recent update to the official Netflix Help Center webpage, which now instructs iOS device users to connect to a TV using built-in Chromecast, Netflix 2nd Screen or a physical cable.

"Airplay is no longer supported for use with Netflix due to technical limitations," according to the Netflix document.

Customers attempting to stream video content to an Apple TV or AirPlay-compatible device are now met with an error message.

As noted by MacRumors, which reported on the development on Friday, the abrupt end to AirPlay support is something of a curiosity.

Netflix first offered support for AirPlay in 2013 and has maintained functionality until this week. Further, the company provides user access to a standalone tvOS app, which for many makes AirPlay a redundant feature.

While not confirmed, Netflix could be shoring up content protections as major TV manufacturers begin to integrate AirPlay 2 into their respective lineups. The addition means users will no longer need an Apple TV to stream video from apps that support protocol.

At CES 2019, Samsung, Sony and Vizio each revealed upcoming TV hardware support for Apple's streaming protocol in separate announcements. Korean tech giant LG followed suit in March.

Netflix's AirPlay reversal arrives just two days after Vizio launched a beta version of its SmartCast 3 software with support for both AirPlay 2 and HomeKit.

Netflix is making efforts to silo its content, and finances, to official channels like its own iOS and tvOS apps. In November, the company stripped its iOS app of in-app subscription options, effectively avoiding App Store revenue sharing fees.

More recently, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings in March said his company would not participate in a then-rumored Apple-branded subscription TV service. Apple unveiled Apple TV Channels and Apple TV+ at a special event a week later with no mention of Netflix integration.

"Apple's a great company. We want to have people watch our shows on our services," Hastings said at the time.