One of the biggest concerns about cloud-powered software services is the longevity of those platforms. With standard software, you can use it for as long as you want. Take, for example, Photoshop. If you purchased a copy of Photoshop from Adobe in 1989 and continued to have a computer on which you could use it, it would continue to operate today, 30 years later. However, if you subscribe to Photoshop CC today, that version may be terminated from operation at any moment.
The most common way that consumers interact with cloud services is through their streaming video services. This week, the software as a service retirement issue is going to hit home for some Netflix users, as their devices will be officially unsupported. It's not going to apply to modern or highly popular devices, but it will apply to some high profile devices, including Samsung and Vizio TVs and Roku set-top boxes. According to a Netflix representative,
On December 2nd, Netflix will no longer be supported on a small number of older devices due to technical limitations. We've notified all impacted members with more information about alternative devices we support so they can keep enjoying Netflix uninterrupted.
Netflix has claimed that the move is because of the technical limitations of these older devices. As Netflix has continued to improve the features of its platform, it would make sense that older devices might produce some new challenges. When the company introduced the choose your own adventure story Bandersnatch, it was only made available on certain platforms. This created a user experience issue, as well as a technical issue, having to limit the reach of a particular media item. The introduction of the ability to skip political jokes in the new Seth Meyers standup special could have brought this technological divide back to light.
While this might be an immediate disappointment to those who own these devices and use them to stream Netflix, continued development for older devices is an unnecessary expense, especially if there are issues with the capabilities of those devices in general. For those affected, there are some inexpensive solutions to the problem, including the Roku Premiere, which is currently $30.