Netflix for Android just changed to stop including rooted Android devices. For millions of people, this means that they will not be able to download and play Netflix on their Android device if they have chosen to root it. We have all of the latest details about the change with Netflix, which could impact millions of Android users.
Netflix for Android Stops Functioning On Rooted Android Devices
Regardless of whether you have an Android phone or tablet, you are at risk for no longer being able to watch Netflix if you have a rooted device. Netflix already confirmed that for people with rooted Android devices, you will not see Netflix in Google Play Store. Netflix specifically used the words certified by Google when talking about this, and then mentioned altered devices will not see the app show up either. Essentially, the new version of Netflix for Android, which is version 5.0, is all about copy protections.
Getting more into Netflix for Android changes, Netflix now uses Google Widevine completely, which is a digital rights management program. This program will prevent piracy, so in the effort to stop piracy, Google Widevine will see rooted devices as incompatible. There are a couple of big problems with this new change though, even though Netflix seems to want to protect content from being leaked online.
The biggest issue is that if you root your Android device, you can end up circumventing the DRM in more ways than before. It is much easier to circumvent the DRM in rooted devices, so there is your first major problem. Secondly, a lot of people who root their Android devices are doing so in order to get more control from their operating system, and it has nothing to do with trying to do illegal activities.
Impact of Netflix for Android Change to Widevine
The new version of Netflix for Android, version 5.0, could end up hurting a ton of viewers who are following the rules. Even worse, this likely is not going to stop people from ripping content either. One good thing is that for the Netflix for Android app, you can still sideload the APK and get it to work. This method might not be around for long though if Netflix finds out you can still do this to gain access to the app.
Beyond that, something else that was noticed was that it also seems to depend on whether or not you have Android Pay cleared on your Android device to run. Instead of this being all about Widevine, it appears that when it comes to if Netflix for Android will show up on Google Play, you need to have Android Pay cleared on your device.
This means that if your bootloader is unlocked, you likely are not going to get Netflix for Android on your device. This is true even if everything else is secure in terms of firmware. Even though this will create problems, people who wanted Netflix will still get it. There are a ton of rooting methods that can go undetected, which means it will not be flagged through Widevine.
The real issue is that a lot of people who choose to root their devices are doing so for more customization options and abilities. A lot of rooters are not into piracy or illegal activities, but changes in the rules, like Netflix for Android, makes it harder for those legit people to run their Android devices properly.
The impact here could be pretty severe, but only if you have Netflix for Android version 5.0. It does not appear that Netflix versions below 5.0 will be impacted by this change. If your Android device automatically updates to the newest version of the app, you might want to disable that if the new Netflix update has not hit your Android device yet.
Netflix has not said whether or not this new feature will stay in place, but it seems that the rooted devices will be out in the cold probably forever with this new change. If you have a rooted Android device, at this point you will have to make a choice between the rooted device and Netflix.