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Netflix Moves To Nobble Android Smartphones

Netflix has started to nobble Android smartphones especially devices that have been
“rooted” or ‘unlocked’, the move could affect hundreds of thousands of Australians.

The US content Company has moved to deny service to devices that are not Google certified, as their latest v5.0 app now relies fully on the Widevine DRM provided by Google and if this is not present on a device users will not be able to access Netflix.

Netflix’s reasoning behind this move may be that it wants to make it tougher for its content to be pirated – something that’s become potentially easier now that Netflix lets you download shows to mobile devices rather than just streaming them.

A man prepares to watch House Of Cards on the Netflix Inc. application on a tablet device in this arranged photograph in London, U.K., on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016. Netflix Inc., which delivered the best return of any stock in the S&P 500 last year, has ambitious plans for this year so it can produce something new next year: serious profits. Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Many Android users with rooted or unblocked devices are reporting that while their currently installed Netflix apps still appear to be working for now, the app is already appearing as ‘incompatible with their device’ when they call it up in the Google Play Store.

Jogn Archer who does TV reviews for SmartHouse said in a Forbes article’Given that Google’s Widevine digital rights management system is apparently the reason for the Netflix block, it seems a bit strange that the app (even v5.0.5) seems to still be working at the time of writing; it’s currently only the Play Store download that’s been blocked. But it’s always possible, of course, that the app will suddenly stop working on rooted/unblocked devices as Netflix expands its status change’.

Rooting and unlocking Android devices has become a common practice among users who want to either get hold of new software versions immediately (without having to wait for them to roll out over the air), or who want to delete built-in software they wouldn’t otherwise be able to remove – such as Samsung’s TouchWiz apps.

In fact, research by AndroidHeadlines suggests that more than 25% of Android users root their mobile phones, meaning that not just millions but potentially tens of millions of Android users could be affected by Netflix’s new position.

If/when it transpires that the Netflix app stops working on rooted/unlocked Android phones as well as the app not being available via the Play store, we will update this story accordingly.

Netflix also announced its first Australian-based production today. Tidelands will film in Queensland next year, will debut exclusively on Netflix.

Erik Barmack, vice president of international original series at Netflix, says that the company “can’t wait to bring the mystery of Tidelands to our members around the world.”

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