Apr 22, 2018 | Updated: 07:21 PM EDT

Shift In Copy Protection Results In Netflix Not Available On Rooted Android Phones

May 16, 2017 05:20 PM EDT

To prevent piracy, Netflix is using version 5.0 of its app that prevents owners of rooted Android phones from downloading movies from the streaming site. The new version of the app uses the Widevine digital rights management of Google, which treats modified gadgets as incompatible. Netflix confirms that devices which are not certified by Google or has been altered would not see its app on Google Play.

The use of rooted devices gives the gadget owner a better chance to circumvent the digital rights management because there is more control over the OS. The method also makes it a bit easier to strip the copy protection from the downloaded copy of a Netflix movie than to rip the stream, Engadget reported. However, Android Police says the Netflix app would still run properly for now if the Android phone owner had installed the app by sideloading the APK.

But if the Android phone has an unlocked bootloader, the user could be denied easy access to Netflix even if the owner uses untouched, secure firmware. Besides Netflix, other apps such as Pokemon, functionalities of Sony cameras, and Snapchat disallow gadgets with an unlocked bootloader or are rooted, Valuewalk reported.

Netflix is even washing its hands for the shift. The video streaming site says the inability of rooted Android phones from accessing its app was because of its use of the Widevine DRM provided by Google. Mashable points out that not all phone users who root their devices do it to download movies from streaming sites. Some root their devices for better control in customizing the OS or making their smartphones more efficient. But device makers do not support rooting which voids the warranty on the gadget. One reason for the change is because Netflix recently enabled downloads for offline viewing of its series or movies.

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