Netflix, the largest on-demand video streaming platform, suddenly seems to be missing in action if you own an Android smartphone that’s either rooted or has an unlocked bootloader. There’s no need to panic as this is not an off chance accident, the streaming giant has confirmed that the change can be seen as intentional and some Android users won’t be able to download its app from the Google Play Store.
The blockade on the download of Netflix’s Android app is due to the fact that the updated app now features complete integration with Google’s Widevine digital rights management (DRM) solution. This will enable the company to better protect their copyright video content from being copied and pirated by power users. This solution prevents Android devices not certified by Alphabet to download right-protected software from the Play Store.
In an official statement, a Netflix spokesperson mentioned:
With our latest 5.0 release, we now fully rely on the Widevine DRM provided by Google; therefore, many devices that are not Google-certified or have been altered will no longer work with our latest app and those users will no longer see the Netflix app in the Play Store.
This means power Android users, who love to tinker with their devices, will no longer have instant access to the Netflix app from the Play Store. Such devices will no longer be able to search for the video streaming app on the Play Store and clicking a link to the page for the app marketplace will return a ‘this version of the app isn’t compatible with your device’ notification.
But, Android Police, who first reported this development, mentions that the video streaming platform works just fine for Android users who’ve already downloaded the app or have sideloaded it on their device. This is applicable for those running the updated 5.0.4 version or the previous 4.16 version of the app. While the Netflix app is working for now, there’s a possibility that Google DRM might ban the same from being used on non-certified devices in the future.
In its official statement, Netflix has only shed light on the policy change being introduced into its app. It presently hasn’t confirmed whether it is being done to crack down on piracy of its original programming but that seems like a plausible concern. This, however, puts the power users in jeopardy as they will have to surrender either the customizations or their beloved TV shows/movies. A tough decision indeed.