Recently, it has become clear that Netflix has stopped supporting its app on old devices like smart TVs, Blu-ray players and more.
It seems so nice: buy a smart TV and you have access to all the hip (streaming) services and other hot apps of the moment. But the emphasis, it turns out, is always on the latter. Manufacturers very quickly throw in the towel when it comes to updates for their “latest and greatest” TV operating system. And then it usually doesn’t take long for third-party apps to stop as well. Because to continuously adapt those apps for an outdated system just costs too much money. We see this clearly in the case of Netflix, for example, which is currently stopping support for a whole range of older televisions, Blu-ray players, game consoles and so on.
No more updates = disconnecting from network
On the one hand, of course, you can say that “that’s just the way things are. On the other hand: televisions (and now ‘smart’ projectors) in particular last significantly longer than the OS they run on. In fact, you should force yourself to disconnect the TV (or other device that no longer gets updates) from the network. This is because the security risks increase rapidly from the moment security updates (not to mention upgrades…) stop appearing.
Forget about that smart part from day one
This often lax update attitude of manufacturers means that when you buy a television, you shouldn’t really pay attention to what the smart part can do. After all: in two or three years, that part will be a brick. Smarter is to either just buy a “dumb” TV (although that will prove challenging to find one these days) or simply not use the smart part from day one. So in no way connect your TV to any network whatsoever. Instead, invest in something like the Apple TV. Let that device take care of the smarts.
With an Apple TV, you know the device will get many years of updates. When that period is over, you simply replace the outdated set-top box for a new one for relatively little money. Transferring apps and data is a snap. This solution is particularly interesting if you already have other (mobile) Apple devices in your home: many of the apps and subscriptions purchased for them also work on the Apple TV.
Beware of Chinese Android set-top boxes
What you should ignore are the mostly very low-priced Android TV set-top boxes as offered by a range of Chinese fantasy brands. In fact, even those usually see no updates from the moment you turn them on. Moreover, they often already have questionable apps on them ex-factory that often cannot be removed or can only be removed with great difficulty. Be wise and don’t be fooled by the promised functionality of those devices. The functionality is usually there, but there is also a lot of “unwanted” functionality. Always keep that in mind.
A non-updated device, or a device of unclear origin could just be an unwanted spy on your home (or worse: corporate) network. Play it safe and disconnect. Not just because of that no longer working Netflix and other apps.