Netflix Turns Its Back on Older Apple TVs

Netflix has had enough of older Apple TV models. The streaming giant on Tuesday sent an email to customers, saying that it would no longer support second- and third-generation Apple TV models after July 31. 

Netflix also updated its Apple TV support page, saying that the older Apple TVs would lose support at the end of next month.

Netflix didn’t immediately respond to a CNET request for comment on its decision to end support for older Apple TV models.

Apple launched the second-generation Apple TV in 2010 and followed with the third-generation model in 2012. While they come with a nearly identical design to the current 4K model the company launched in 2022, they’re decidedly underpowered in comparison, with only HD support and no compatibility with Apple’s App Store

The second- and third-generations of the Apple TV are also outdated in Apple’s own calculation: the company ended all support for the devices seven years after their launch dates — so seven and five years ago, respectively.

While Netflix is ubiquitous across devices and platforms, supporting its app across so much hardware is resource intensive. From time to time, Netflix, like other app makers, analyzes usage and determines which devices no longer warrant the resources it’s dedicating to ensure they work with its software. The company apparently decided older Apple TVs now fit that mold.

Netflix has made similar decisions in the past, ending support for a range of older televisions and set-top boxes along with Samsung TVs and Roku devices. Netflix has never divulged the formula it uses for determining when it’s time to stop supporting a device.

It’s unknown how many users are still running second- and third-generation Apple TVs, but considering how old they are, it may not be many. For those users, there are few options remaining to keep watching Netflix on their televisions. For one, you could opt to stream Netflix from another device connected to their televisions, or you could buy another set-top box. Indeed, while Netflix is shutting down support for older Apple TV models, those who access the streaming service on those devices won’t lose their subscriptions and can instead stream from another device.

Looking ahead, it’s unknown when Netflix will phase out support for other Apple TV hardware. But considering the fourth-generation model launched in 2015 — just three years after the third-generation version — it may not be long before it meets the same fate.

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