If you own an Android device that has been rooted or unlocked illegally, you may no longer be able to download the Netflix app from the Google Play Store. If you already have the Netflix app installed on your device it should still work, but it could stop working at any minute.
In recent times, Netflix has expanded internationally and started offering downloads. It has also cracked down on anyone using VPNs to watch content not available in their country. And now it’s cracking down on anyone who has rooted or unlocked their Android device. Which is annoying.
Netflix Is Incompatible With This Device
As first spotted by Android Police, the Netflix app on the Google Play Store is now showing as “incompatible” with rooted and unlocked devices. This is, according to the company, all thanks to Netflix switching over to using the Widevine DRM (Digital Rights Management) software.
Given that Widevine is owned and operated by Google, it’s no surprise that apps utilizing Widevine aren’t made available to Android devices that haven’t been certified by Google. However, even people whose phones have shipped with unlocked bootloaders are being affected.
Netflix issued a statement saying:
“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.”
Thankfully, for anyone with a rooted or unlocked device now judged to be “incompatible”, there is a simple alternative to downloading Netflix from the Google Play Store. All you need to do is sideload the app onto your Android device. Until Netflix figures out how to stop that too.
Netflix Protects Itself Against Piracy
The whole point of DRM, including Widevine, is to protect against piracy. And so we suspect Netflix has acted to strengthen its safeguards in light of offering users the chance to download content to watch offline. Innocent users getting shafted as a result is unfortunate, but expected.
Have you rooted or unlocked your Android device? Have you found that certain apps are no longer available from the Google Play Store? If so, which ones? Are you worried that Netflix will stop working altogether at some point? Please let us know in the comments below!
Image Credit: Jenny Cestnik via Flickr