Earlier today, Netflix started showing up as ‘incompatible’ on the Play Store for rooted and unlocked Android devices. However, the app itself continued to work fine, leading some (including myself) to think it could have been an accident. However, Netflix has now confirmed to us that blocking modified devices from downloading the app was intentional.
This is the full statement:
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.
If you’re not familiar with it, Widevine is a Google-made DRM technology that works across various desktop and mobile platforms. The Netflix website has been using Widevine since it moved away from the Silverlight plugin. The update’s changelog also confirms the usage of Widevine:
“Version 5.0 only works with devices that are certified by Google and meet all Android requirements.”
What isn’t exactly clear is why only the Play store listing is blocked, but the app itself continued to function normally. I tried both Netflix 4.16 and 5.0.4 (the latest version, from today), and both worked without problems on my unlocked and rooted Galaxy Tab S. Maybe at some point the app will stop working, but that does not appear to be the case right now.
If you have a blocked device, I recommend following the Pushbullet channel for Netflix on APKMirror (click the Pushbullet button on that page) so you can continue to receive updates outside the Play Store.