Netflix is blocking installation on rooted Android devices

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rooted android devices

Netflix is one of the most popular subscription-based streaming services on the planet – and for a very good reason. Netflix has an incomparable library of content – especially if you’re able to hop over the company’s increasingly strict geo-fencing to tap into the American content.

It’s become increasingly tricky to do that. Where, once upon a time, a simple DNS service would have offered easy access to the entire globe’s Netflix content, a DNS and VPN crackdown has made it harder to bypass Netflix’s restrictions.

Of course, it’s still possible to poke holes through Netflix’s attempts to gate content, but that’s become even harder now – especially on Android.

Users have discovered that the Android Netflix app no longer installs on rooted Android devices. Netflix has since confirmed that it is intentionally blocking unlocked and rooted Android devices from downloading the latest version of Netflix.

“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.

That said, the app still functions on said devices when side-loaded through less official means, so it’s hardly a deterrent to the more technically savvy; people who’d root their phones to begin with. That is perhaps set to change in the future.

While this is likely a move spurred on by copyrights and licensing issues, it seems fruitless. The sort of people who root phones are the sort of people who probably know where and how to download illicitly obtained media. Blocking legitimate streaming apps will only lead to increased piracy. I firmly believe that many pirates would happily pay for the media they consume if it was easy to access, and hurdles like this only push people back towards illegal file sharing.

Last Updated: May 15, 2017

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Geoffrey Tim

I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

  • I for one don’t like the idea of a google powered DRM system… Google has far too much power already

  • HairyEwok

    hehe. Netflix got no chill.

  • I dont understand why they would lock out rooted devices. It’s not like a rooted device can crack netflix content for free or anything? I’m still running a Samsung Note 2 and have it rooted purely to Rom my phone up to current spec Android. The phone works flawlessly even though it is 5 years+- old, now I can’t “officially” access the content I actually pay them for?

    For a company that needs subscribers to make money, they make is really difficult to keep that sub alive for anyone not based in the US.

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