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Quality or competition?

Only Netflix knows why it stopped supporting Apple’s AirPlay service.

The streaming giant said ensuring a quality viewing experience was behind the decision. In a statement this week, Netflix said that it wanted to “make sure our members have a great Netflix experience on any device they use.”

Last week, some subscribers were surprised to discover that the Netflix app for iPhone and iPad no longer supported Apple AirPlay, which allows iOS users to stream videos from phones and tablets to other devices, such as third-party TV screens. Netflix said that “with AirPlay support rolling out to third-party devices, there” wasn’t “a way for us to distinguish between devices (what is an Apple TV vs. what isn’t) or certify these experiences.”

However, skeptics questioned this explanation. One alternative theory points to increased competition between Netflix and Apple, which recently announced the launch of its long-anticipated subscription TV service, Apple TV Plus. The new service will offer original premium programming to compete with Netflix, Hulu and other streaming services.

Whether it’s a legitimate technical issue or related to potential business competition from Apple, Netflix’s decision won’t impact home viewers who use devices with the Netflix app already installed. Viewers used to sending programs from the Netflix app to their AppleTV or a smart TV will use the pre-installed Netflix app, instead.

Frances Katz is a freelance writer focusing on media, culture and technology. Her work has appeared in The Atlantic, The Week, The Washington Post, USA Today and other publications. She lives in Atlanta.