Here are all the things Netflix has taken from us

Netflix, a company that once built on better technology than its competitors, has slowly degraded its service in the name of expanding revenue, and also raising prices.

For example, a few nights ago, I was at my friend’s house because we were going to see The boy and the heron. In the hours leading up to the movie, we thought it would be fun to watch another Studio Ghibli film, and in Canada, they’re all on Netflix. However, my friend’s roommate recently went through a breakup, and the only Netflix signed into his TV is his ex-partner’s account. To avoid potential awkwardness (for him), I had the brilliant idea of ​​just airplaying the movie from my MacBook.

I logged on and started playing the movie but after about two minutes (basically just after the opening credit sequence), the screen went black. We could still hear audio and see the subtitles, but the picture disappeared. After a quick Google search, I discovered that Netflix blocked AirPlay on Macs, iPhones, and iPads back in 2019. This was back when Apple started rolling out AirPlay 2, and the streaming giant said it cut the feature because it couldn’t confirm Which TV is streaming the content, and it wants to make sure everyone has a solid Netflix experience.

This may not feel like a very legitimate reason, especially since a majority of TVs that support AirPlay 2 are smart options from LG, Samsung and Roku, with enough horsepower to stream content. On top of that, when I tried to stream the Ghibli movie, it worked fine until Netflix realized I was using AirPlay and arbitrarily cut my stream.

Instead, we’re left with Google Cast streaming since it works in a different way than AirPlay. When you play something with Google Cast, your phone isn’t actually cast to your screen. Instead, it sends instructions to the Cast-enabled device to watch what you selected. Think of your smartphone as both the menu and the remote of a streaming setup, but the device connected to your TV is still streaming Netflix from the built-in Netflix app. With AirPlay, your device streams content directly from your phone or Mac, and it’s more than screen mirroring when you’re away.

What else has Netflix killed?

But alas, AirPlay isn’t the only feature that Netflix took away. In my research, I also found a few other things that have gotten worse on Netflix since the service launched. This includes realistic film grain, password sharing, long TV seasons and most home video releases. It has been a few years.

The film grain is something I noticed this year when watching Maestro And May December. The grain just looked too uniform and kind of digital. One short Google search later, I discovered that Netflix de-noises its content and then applies curl back on the consumer side through the Netflix app to make it easier to stream.

The streaming service claims that this saves it roughly 30 percent of bandwidth compared to a film streamed with natural grain, but at Netflix’s scale and price, it feels like a cheap trick to take the grain away and replace it with something fake .

Another thing to slowly fade from existence in the last few years is long TV shows – and I mean both long seasons and shows with many seasons. Back before streaming, it wouldn’t be uncommon to see shows with even 20 episodes per season, and now we feel lucky if we get 10-12.

Netflix prices get even higher if you have an add-on that allows you to share passwords.

Also, before streaming, it wasn’t uncommon for shows to run for a few years, but now it feels like most Netflix TV shows get canceled after two seasons. This is also not as random as you might think. Now that people who work on TV shows no longer get residuals, Netflix created a deal that allows people who work on TV shows for the streamer to get a bonus if their show is renewed for a third season. Because of this, many shows are canceled after their second season, so the company can avoid paying higher wages.

Another thing that Netflix has removed the requirement for is Blu-ray releases. While many movies are still released on disc at some point, much of Netflix’s original content never does since it involves viewing outside of the Netflix app. For example, as a fan of the show bojack horseman, I once looked into buying the full series on Blu-ray and was shocked to find that Netflix only ever sold the first two seasons on disc. Newer shows are even less likely to have disc-based copies available for purchase. In some cases, there are even resellers on eBay who make and sell bootleg copies of Netflix shows on disc.

Oh, and let’s not forget password sharing. While Netflix proved that people would return to the service after the crackdown on password sharing, it still feels like the company could have avoided it and instead relied on the public’s goodwill.

Overall, it’s strange to be in a place where Netflix and the other streamers have such a strong grip on the market that they can pull once-free features and push them behind a paywall. Disney+ is also limiting password sharing and Prime Video recently placed ads in its regular tier, as well as moving Atmos Audio to a higher-priced plan.

With all the price hikes and feature removals, it’s no wonder that increasing numbers of people are returning to less-than-legal ways of watching content.

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