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back to article Sony denies Netflix app to older Bravia smart TVs

Sony today heralded the arrival of Netflix on its Sony Entertainment Network, the content it provides through its smart TVs, Blu-ray Disc players, media streams and, of course, the PlayStation 3. That's good for Netflix subscribers with a PS3, but other fans of the video-on-demand service are stuffed unless they happen to own …

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Anonymous Coward

Sony aren't exactly the only company that do this, but yeah it sucks ass big time and engenders no brand loyalty. Thankfully I have a PS3.......not that I would ever Netflix or any other streaming service. Shite quality is not allowed in my home cinema set up :)

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JDX
Gold badge

Unless you used NetFlix you wouldn't know if the quality was good or not. It's very good, though for proper home cinema I have no idea about the sound and if you're properly snobby I suppose it's not up there with bluray!

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Mushroom

vote with your wallet...

The main reason that Sony no longer feature in my collection of electronic s is their attitude at times like this.

Like HP whose printer died before it had reached the end of it second set of inks - at 14 months old, I just remove such suppliers from consideration when buying.

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Anonymous Coward

"They are clearly too ancient in Sony's view"

Panasonic and Samsung's view as well. We'll all just buy new kit obviously.

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Coffee/keyboard

Splutter....

my only reason for buying a sony blue ray player.......

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Stop

This is one reason why I don't want a smart TV. As soon as the maker pulls a move like this, you'd end up adding a separate box anyway. I'd rather have a dumb (but good quality) panel with plenty of HDMI ports and provide the extras myself with a Media PC, games console or other box of my choice.

That way I choose my services, choose the UI, and don't get left in the cold like this.

It's not the crime of the century, but it doesn't inspire me to buy a TV from them.

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FAIL

I have the same issue with my Samsung C650. Samsung aren't putting Netflix on it in the UK, even though the US has it. It is just annoying, as I can use the XBox instead. I paid less than £300 for the 37" C650 so I'm not hurting. But, would I ever pay a premium for a 'smart' tv? Nope. As you said, plenty of HDMIs and a high quality panel is all that is needed, with a five year guarantee from John Lewis. Then buy a decent media box for less than £100 or a Revo box for less than £200, which can be given to granny or the kids when an upgrade is required. Now the TV manufacturers don't genuinely compete in the standalone media box market at the moment. The first one that does will sell a lot of panels if it offers the best product plus integration with its own TVs (even if it is only remote compatibility, smartphone apps and the fact that folks like stuff that matches).

What makes me laugh is that Samsung and Sony still haven't acknowledged throughout their labyrinthine and organisations that one of Apple's key differentiators is that it does keep on updating its consumer electronics, which increases customer satisfaction, residual values and market share. I've got mates still using four or five year old Apple phones. How many people are using four or five year old Samsung or Sony phones, never mind the even worse support from the other big player in TV, LG? I thought Sony had learnt a lesson when it announced it would update all its 2011 phones to ICS, but once again one bit of Sony learns while another bit fails.

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"I've got mates still using four or five year old Apple phones. How many people are using four or five year old Samsung or Sony phones..."

Whilst I agree with your view on smart TVs, I doubt your mates have an old phone because it gets software updates...people generally have old phones because they don't want additional functionality - the latest iPhones include forward facing camera and retnia screen which are not provide for older models.

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Old Samsung Phone

"I've got mates still using four or five year old Apple phones. How many people are using four or five year old Samsung or Sony phones ..."

I keep my 10 year old Samsung R225 laying around to tide me over a couple of days waiting for $4 replacement off eBay when the battery dies in my Motorola V195. For some reason the original Samsung battery just keeps on keeping on.

This 5 year old Mac Pro desktop is still humming right along. See no reason to replace it for another 5 years.

I'd rather save on my monthly phone bill and put the difference in AAPL than have a iPhone. But perhaps I'll splurge and buy an Apple TV set later this year just to see what problem Steve thinks he solved.

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This post has been deleted by its author

I'm no fanboi, far from it, but Apple rolled out a lot of stuff that Sony, Samsung or LG would have withheld to encourage product replacement. As far as I can remember, Apple supports old devices until they simply can't hack it any longer, which generally has been about three years (though obviously Apple can't give devices hardware capabilities they never had). Compare this with Sony, Samsung and LG. Samsung regularly abandons devices within twelve months (Galaxy Tab, last year's TVs, etc.) Sony was slated for its failure to update devices and it appears that its mobile division has learnt a belated lesson, but TV hasn't. LG has, in my experience, a habit of releasing very capable hardware with appalling, not fit for purpose, software, and not even attempting a bug fix, never mind new capabilities. I've never bought Apple because I don't want to be trapped in its yard, but I might have done differently if I'd known how well they would support existing customers and the impact that would have on residuals and longevity. It isn't just because the phones are pretty (and the 4 ain't). You're right about added functionality as the reason to upgrade, but if the hardware is capable of what you want Apple gives you software upgrades for free. That is a big plus.

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Unhappy

Grrr

As others have pointed out, it's the same situation with other manufacturers. I bought a Samsung D6750 in December (a new model then) and Samsung have told me they won't bring the Netflix app to any 6-series TVs. The only benefit it provides over a 'non'-Smart TV is good DLNA capability.

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Anonymous Coward

LG too ... they're not doing Lovefilm on older TVs despite them being perfectly capable of it ...

The first TV manufacturer who breaks ranks and makes pledges to backport this type of thing in the future will clean up.

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Yes please

I'd like a software update to my (very late) 2010 model, please (KDL46NX713). It was certainly costly enough to expect that it would remain "supported".

I don't care about NetFlix, but I'd like the update to allow my Media Remote app on the iPhone to work (as it does on the 723). I'd like the 3D capability to work from USB sources (so that I don't have to connect my 3D Bloggie through HDMI, but can store the files on a USB stick instead) and I'd like an update to the other connected services.

It's not too much to ask, and I'm not going to buy a new net-connected TV to get these feature, but it doesn't seem beyond the realms of reasonable expectations, does it?

Having said all of this, the TV is still excellent and a very suitable monitor for cable TV... just don't forget about your premium users. Hey, look, it's got a WiFi and LAN connection and can access the internet for those updates, so get them developed and pushed out, please. And if NetFlix wants to drill Sony to get their service propagated to as many customers as possible and Sony could include those upgrades as well, then thank you NetFlix/Sony.

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Unhappy

Same procedure as last year

Exactly the same happened last year with LoveFilm support: I bought my Sony TV in early 2010, but only models bought from 05/10 were granted LoveFilm capability in early in 2011.

So yes, Sony really thinks that a one year old TV is not worth supporting (last firmware updates was in Spring 2010). Never again for me.

So my TV has ethernet, that is completely useless, since the Sony Applicast widgets are no longer supported at all, as they were superseded by something my TV does not support.

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FAIL

Writes in Filofax...

... yes, old style paper diary, "Do not EVER buy Sony TV again".

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WTF?

Is there not some anti-competition thing going on here

Didn't Microsoft get taken to the cleaners for not shipping with an alternative browsers?

Why is this any different? They are barring a supplier from their product... or refusing to support a legacy TV's.

Why is a TV older that this year being classed as a legacy? Can they not be made to implement the change under anti-competition rules?

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You actually hurt Sony more if you *do* buy a TV from them. They lose money on every one they sell.

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Facepalm

Hmm...

And they make how much money when we don't buy the telly?

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Re: Hmm...

I agree, funny way to run a business. You buy a Sony TV and spend X, Sony spends X+Y supplying the TV. Perhaps they think they will make up the difference in volume.

They need new accountants, I understand there are some previously employed by Olympus available.

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Can't say i'm too surprised by Sony or the other manufacturers stances on this. They want you to spend more money for the features you want and in their eyes they won't make any money by supporting older models.

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But what they are actually do is undermining their attempts to differentiate and add value, as the consumer refuses to pay for value added features which aren't going to be properly supported (i.e. why buy the 'twice the price' version (which has much, much better margins than the base model) if it will be obsolete after less than 12 months?). So, the consumer buys cheap, vanilla panels from anywhere and adds media boxes from elsewhere, and LG, Sony and Samsung become reduced to commodity margins - which is exactly the opposite of what they want. The same has has happened in the phone market - consumers are willing to pay a premium for an Apple device due to image, residuals and decent software upgrades, whereas the rest of the market, excepting Samsung to a degree, has trouble even getting cost price for their devices (e.g. Nokia and Sony are selling their phones for less than they cost to manufacture).

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JDX
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Just use a PS3 or cheap PC instead of wanting apps on the TV itself?

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Half a story

Netflix have decided to use a different DRM system in the UK to the US. Sony have tried to get it working on older TV's but couldn't. People need to remember that TV's are not computers, even though they are going that way. It's not just a case of installing new software and everything works. I say this as a 2011 Sony Bravia owner and a Netflix user.

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Anonymous Coward

Define 'computer'

Most of them seem to be running linux or BSD these days so I'd argue they're computers. They may not have enough grunt to decode the stream in software, but that's a different matter.

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Thumb Down

I got LoveFilm - which wouldn't be a problem if the content wasn't such a shoddy offering.

Saying that, all the online film offerings are pretty poor in the UK.

And they wonder why there's so much downloading...

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Anonymous Coward

Guarantee?

Who will try to return a "Smart" TV on the basis that the supplier doesn't support its "Smartness" under guarantee?

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Coat

I'm not that surprised...

I think the issue here is that a lot of "branded" products (or just some of their component parts) are out-sourced from other suppliers. And given the lead time between design, prototyping, standards approval and production, it is very likely that the designers and engineers who worked on (say) an item that went on sale in 2010 are now working on the models for 2014, perhaps even for a different company.

So the chances are that the cost of re-employing engineers to tweak the firmware is too high for the brands - esp if they don't actually get any financial return for doing so (apart from customer loyalty).

Perhaps brands could offer firmware upgrades at a fair price just as the satnav brands do when they offer new maps for their devices....at least there'd have some clawback then :)

PS A friend of mine bought a Sanyo digital TV with built in Freeview just a few years ago....and guess what - it was only capable of receiving the 2k mode broadcasts so when Freeview went to 8k mode, the TV tuner stopped receiving broadcasts and there was no firmware upgrade path.

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Bronze badge

What? You have last years model? What a luddite!

Bates 4000 (vimeo.com)

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FAIL

yeah - this sucks

I bought a '2011 model' Bravia, 6 weeks ago. It's mental that they won't even bother updating the software on their previous newest model.

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Bronze badge
Boffin

Who can "Root" TV's, like Cell Phones?

It would seem to me that there would be a good market for 3rd party firmware for "Smart" TV's just like there is for Smart Phones.

Given that electronic manufacturers normal practice is to produce "Crippleware" (Firmware levels that have limited functions based on device model number even though the actual chips can do everything and more), then a "rooted" TV could have way more functionality than the manufacturer intended.

If the firmware upgrade is done after the warranty period then there should be no issue with the manufacturers

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Linux

Re: Who can "Root" TV's, like Cell Phones?

http://www.samygo.tv/

You'll be amazed at what you can do to Samsung TVs. On my C-series it took about 5 minutes and an old 2.5" USB drive to give it digital recording and the ability to pause live TV. Depending on your expertise and your model you can add all kinds of stuff and turn your TV into different models, regions, etc.

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Anonymous Coward

The promise of updatability

It seems to me that most 'visual' electronics product (DVD players, set top boxes, TV's etc.) have sold with the promise of OTA updates. This 'feature' could fix the ugly, lacking, unintuitive menu systems you never got a chance to try before purchase, or even add new functionality. I have yet to see one that has had an update put out. They'll often come with built in COMM and USB ports whose only purpose is to reprogram, fix errors or receive an update, inevitably amounting to nothing but wasted tech and increased initial cost. Best to ignore the marketing blurb and just stick to using an old pc to add all the functionality one needs to any audio/visual set up.

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Bronze badge
Boffin

Re: The promise of updatability

I have a Samsung 46" LED TV and a Samsung BlueRay player and both of them have been updated several times. You need to be connected via wireless or wired LAN and run the updates manually as the process does not happen "automagically".

The BlueRay player specifically needed updates to accommodate changes in DRM to play the new Star Wars discs which took a couple of months to come out. The TV had several updates that were adding different online services and various bug fixes.

Neither have been any problem after updating.

Both Samsung components are now over two years old so I'd have to give Samsung props for update support. I have heard terrible things about Sony support however.

I don't believe that any of the LAN or USB features are a waste of time because all new TV's are in fact embedded computers and these ports are already built in to the chippery and provide serviceability and expandability. These ports are designed in for programming and diagnostics and it's nice they are accessible to the consumer instead of being completely "crippled" after shipment.

I have yet to try adding a hard drive but that is an advertised feature of my TV.

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FAIL

taking it back

My parental units bought such a telly from a Sony shop last month. What are the chances that it is actually a '2012' model? Are they going to have to take this one back too? (The first one broke after three weeks).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: taking it back

I think it's unlikely this is an actual '2012' model.

John Lewis has some 2012 ones on their website but they aren't in stock yet.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: taking it back

It looks like the 2012 models end with *53 (553,653 or 753).

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