Users noticed how, on certain devices, the Netflix app appeared as incompatible on Google Play Store. Later, the company declared that this was not a glitch, as they blocked it for rooted and unlocked devices running Android.
Netflix confirmed that it was their fault that the app was incompatible for some users. All rooted or unlocked devices were blocked from downloading the app from Google Play Store. If you have such a device and already have Netflix installed, the app should still work. However, the company might soon be upgrading the older versions and block them, too.
Non-certified devices are blocked from downloading Netflix
When asked about the reason why they chose to do this, Netflix responded that the newest version of the app relied on the Widevine DRM powered by Google. Therefore, devices which are not certified by Google can no longer work with the app, as they are incompatible.
Widevine is a system created by Google that manages digital rights. Therefore, it works with devices certified by the company. Netflix chose to use this system to protect their content and prevent piracy. They resorted to such an extreme measure after they allowed users to download shows to their SD card of their Android devices. As expected, this gave rise to a wave of piracy.
Does this work against piracy?
This might sound like a good solution to prevent piracy, but there are already ways to combat it. First of all, there is Magisk, a software which roots your Android device and comes with a special feature, Magisk Hide. This feature prevents the rooting from being detected.
Also, this move might not benefit all users. Those people with unlocked devices, but with a secure firmware might be blocked from downloading the app. Also, many users root their devices for customization purposes, and have no malicious intent.
However, Netflix’s attempt is understandable. After reaching 100 million subscribers, the company faced more piracy concerns. Still, more users embrace the service and contribute to its growing popularity.
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