Netflix iOS app

Netflix recently launched a Windows Phone 7 app that lets subscribers stream “watch instantly” videos to their phones. The company has been offering this feature for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad users for a few months. But what’s up with Android? You’d think that Netflix would have released an app for the fastest growing smartphone platform before the brand-new Windows Phone 7 OS, right?

Well, as it turns out Netflix has been working on Android software. According to a recent blog post though, there’s just one problem: There’s no universal Digital Rights Management solution available for Android, which means that Netflix has to work with hardware makers on device-specific DRM technology. That process takes a lot more time than developing software that can run on all Windows Phone 7 devices — and it also means that not all Android phones will be able to run the Netflix software once it’s released early next year.

Only devices from hardware makers that are working with Netflix will be able to run the Netflix software. Eventually, it’s possible that Netflix could come up with a solution that works across all Android devices, but it looks like we shouldn’t expect that to happen anytime soon.

Of course, many folks view DRM as a dirty word, but it’s worth keeping in mind that there’s no way that Netflix is going to offer its video service without some sort of content protection system to prevent users from ripping the video streams and uploading them to the web illegally.

This would also explain why the BlockBuster streaming video app which was released earlier this year only supports some handsets.

Brad Linder

Brad Linder is editor of Liliputing and Mobiputing. He's been tinkering with mobile tech for decades and writing about it since...

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