Sony denies Netflix app to older Bravia smart TVs
VoD service limited to 2012 models
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 one of this year's tellies or Blu-ray boxes.
Sony has neen offering net-connectable TVs and BD players since 2010 - not exactly a timeframe beyond the limits of built-in obsolence, and certainly too short a time for most folk, even Reg-reading tech fans, to have upgraded.
Yet Sony doesn't make these new features available to its existing customers.
"The Netflix app will be available on all 2012 Bravia, Blu-ray and Blu-ray Home Theatre models which feature Sony Entertainment Network," says Sony at the end of its announcement.
Not a word on 2011 or 2010 sets and boxes. They are clearly too ancient in Sony's view.
Or maybe it hopes we'll all buy a new TV just for these new features. And hopes we'll do so again, next year. And the year after that. That seems a tad harsh too us, even if Sony is losing money hand over fist on its TV production.
Or maybe Sony would actually sell more TVs if it stopped shoving customers out into the cold almost as soon as they've taken delivery of their new set? Supporting older but still recent models - now there's a thought… ®
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.
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.
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.
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
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.