Netflix's ad-supported plan limits Chromecast support to Google TV devices
You may have to buy a newer Chromecast if you want to save money on your Netflix subscription.
What you need to know
- It appears that Netflix's cheaper plan with ads doesn't work on streaming devices without Google TV.
- The new ad-supported tier is also not supported on Apple TV at launch, though support is coming soon.
- Nonetheless, Netflix's ad-supported tier supports iOS, Amazon Fire TV devices, gaming consoles, Android phones, and more platforms.
Netflix's ad-supported plan just launched in select regions, but the $6.99-per-month tier may not be available on Apple TV and non-Google TV devices at launch. This means that if you want to use the new plan, you'll need to buy a new Chromecast with Google TV dongle.
This limitation was first spotted by 9to5Mac (opens in new tab) on Netflix's support page (opens in new tab), which states that "Basic with Ads isn’t supported on Apple TV." It is not immediately clear why Netflix's cheaper tier skips that platform, but a company representative has told 9to5 that this is only temporary and that it plans to roll out support for Apple TV soon.
It will be surprising otherwise, given that Netflix Basic with Ads is accessible on iOS devices. Many ad-supported video on demand options are also available on Apple TV, making support for Netflix's lower-cost plan seem unthinkable.
Besides the Chromecast with Google TV, the new plan supports Amazon Fire TV devices, Android phones/tablets, game consoles like the PS4/PS5, and smart TVs. Meanwhile, many of the best streaming devices without the Chromecast with Google TV interface do not support Basic with Ads. The PlayStation 3 and Roku are also omitted in the list of compatible devices, though the latter's absence is apparently due to an oversight, per The Verge (opens in new tab). It's not clear whether these devices will eventually pick up support for the ad-supported plan in the future.
While the cheaper tier sounds appealing to anyone looking to cut costs on their streaming subscriptions, if they don't mind the ad interruptions and a lower content resolution, the current limitation is a bit disappointing.
For the time being, you may need a newer Chromecast with Google TV if you're using an unsupported piece of hardware. That said, the agony should not last long.
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Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He has been writing about consumer tech and apps for as long as he can remember, and he has used a variety of Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. Send him a direct message via Twitter or LinkedIn.