If you were an early adopter of smart TVs, you could be in for a shock.

Netflix has announced some older televisions from the start of the decade will no longer work with its app due to "technical limitations".

The affected models are mainly from the start of the 2010s, with smart TVs from Samsung and Panasonic so far confirmed to be affected by the issue, which could also hit models from other vendors.

Streaming wars: ABC's iView hits NZ, Apple and Disney just days away - how they stack up
Netflix vs TVNZ OnDemand, Spark vs Sky: Streaming numbers revealed


A Netflix spokesperson has confirmed to the Herald that customers would soon lose access on some devices.

"On December 2nd, Netflix will no longer be supported on a small number of older devices due to technical limitations.

"We've notified all impacted members with more information about alternative devices we support so they can keep enjoying Netflix uninterrupted."

Alternative devices include games consoles, such as PlayStation or Xbox, streaming sticks, boxes such as Google Chromecast and Apple TV, and some Blu-ray players.

It's understood these technical limitations revolve around the digital rights management (DRM) protocol used by earlier televisions that has since been superseded and can't be upgraded.

DRM is designed to combat piracy by restricting what copyright works can be viewed in which places and on what devices.

At the start of the decade, many smart televisions were supported by Windows Media DRM (WMDRM), but that has now been replaced by Microsoft PlayReady.

DRM can be a thorny issue, with proponents arguing it is vital to protect intellectual property and prevent piracy, while critics say is an added inconvenience and, given multiple workarounds, doesn't have a meaningful impact on preventing piracy.


One other criticism of DRM is content people have bought can become inaccessible years later as protocols are updated or abandoned.

Netflix subscribers, however, pay for access to the streaming giant's library and don't buy the content themselves.

A post on a Samsung support page said its older televisions from "2010 and 2011 with a C or D after the screen size in the model code" will stop working with the Netflix app next month.

A number of Panasonic Viera smart TVs from 2013 and earlier are believed to be affected as well, but it's best to check your own individual model before you rush out and buy another device.

An easy way to check if your television will be affected is by checking against your user manual.

If you've thrown it away, most manufacturers offer them online. Search your model number on your manufacturer's website, and then search the digital user manual by hitting Ctrl + F (cmd + F on Mac) and looking for "WMDRM".