When I saw that people were asking “Can Nest Hub play Netflix?” my immediate reaction was to go “well, of course – it has Chromecast built in.”
Reader, I was being naive: there is currently no way to play Netflix on your Nest Hub (née: Google Home Hub) and that doesn’t look like it’s changing any time soon.
Can Nest Hub play Netflix?
No, and it’s frankly ridiculous.
Netflix was a Chromecast launch partner all the way back in 2013, and both the Nest Hub and Nest Hub Max have Chromecast functionality built in. Yet, if you try and cast Netflix from your phone, the Hub won’t appear on the list of devices. When I tried, an Nvidia Shield and my Android TV both appeared, but the Nest Home Hub did not.
This is all the more ridiculous when you realise that other streaming TV services do work with the Nest Hub and Chromecast. Cleaning the kitchen, where my display lives, has been made far more tolerable by the ability to Chromecast anything from Plex, Disney Plus or YouTube. But neither Netflix nor Amazon Prime Video work with Nest Hub at the time of writing, and I’m not holding my breath on that changing any time soon.
Why doesn’t my Google Nest Hub work with Netflix?
That’s a question I don’t have an answer for – technically it should, and it can’t be about piracy because Nest Hub uses Google’s own Widevine DRM.
When asked “what the hell, man” (I’m probably paraphrasing with my own thoughts here) by Android Police, Netflix gave a total non-answer: “We have no current plans to share for Netflix coming to Smart Displays.” That feels a bit misleading to me, because it’s not about adding new functionality, just whitelisting Nest Hub as a device that’s allowed to run it via Chromecast.
If I had to guess, I think the most likely explanation is twofold. Firstly, I suspect Netflix would rather its shows and films get the best picture and sound quality imaginable – something that smart displays aren’t known for.
Yes, it lets any old phone run the app, regardless of quality, but that brings me to point two: nobody is really clamouring for Netflix smart screen support. While every Netflix subscriber has a phone, probably only a fraction use smart displays – so why would Netflix bother supporting an experience it believes to be subpar if nobody’s really demanding it?
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