Tuesday 21 November 2017

Netflix could stop working on millions of Android smartphones after new update

The streaming company recently started rolling out Version 5 of its app Photo: Bloomberg
The streaming company recently started rolling out Version 5 of its app Photo: Bloomberg

Aatif Sulleyman

Netflix could be about to stop working on millions of Android smartphones, thanks to a new update.

The streaming company recently started rolling out Version 5 of its app, which is designed to protect Netflix from potential content pirates.

However, the update is also likely to unfairly punish plenty more users who have no such intentions.

On Google Play, the Netflix app has started appearing as “incompatible” for rooted and unlocked Android devices.

Rooting is a relatively common practice among technology enthusiasts, as it unlocks a broader range of operating system customisation options and can allow you to download software updates earlier than you would be able to otherwise.

“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,” Netflix told Android Police.

“Version 5.0 only works with devices that are certified by Google and meet all Android requirements.”

The Widevine DRM (digital rights management) technology mentioned by Netflix is designed to prevent piracy, and rooted devices appear to be getting targeted because they provide users with a greater chance of circumventing it.

However, for now at least, the Netflix app still appears to be working on rooted devices that Google Play claims it’s incompatible with.

The company is also testing price increases for customers in Australia.

It raised prices by as much as $3 AUD for a number of users, as part of a trial.

In a statement, Netflix said: "We continuously test new things at Netflix and these tests typically vary in length of time. In this case, we are testing slightly different price points to better understand how consumers value Netflix. Not everyone will see this test and we may not ever offer it generally.

"Reports that we are testing “weekend-only” pricing are inaccurate and entirely false. As our statement clearly states, this testing varies in length and time and the fact that some members saw this test on a weekend is completely unrelated. This testing is limited to Australia."

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