Netflix has an app for streaming movies and TV shows for the iPhone and iPad. As the Android OS surpasses iOS as the most popular operating system on phones, this leads to a natural wondering of what’s delaying the Android version for the Netflix app. Netflix answers that question exactly in a blog post last evening. (Hint: The problem is DRM.)
We regard Android as an exciting technology that drives a range of great devices that our members could use to nstantly watch TV shows and movies from Netflix. We are eager to launch on these devices and are disappointed that we haven’t been able to do so already. The hurdle has been the lack of a generic and complete platform security and content protection mechanism available for Android. The same security issues that have led to piracy concerns on the Android platform have made it difficult for us to secure a common Digital Rights Management (DRM) system on these devices. Setting aside the debate around the value of content protection and DRM, they are requirements we must fulfill in order to obtain content from major studios for our subscribers to enjoy. Although we don’t have a common platform security mechanism and DRM, we are able to work with individual handset manufacturers to add content protection to their devices. Unfortunately, this is a much slower approach and leads to a fragmented experience on Android, in which some handsets will have access to Netflix and others won’t. This clearly is not the preferred solution and we regret the confusion it might create for consumers. However, we believe that providing the service for some Android device owners is better than denying it to everyone.
We live to get Netflix on new devices, so the current lack of an Android-generic approach to quickly get to all Android devices is frustrating. But I’m happy to announce we’ll launch select Android devices that will instantly stream from Netflix early next year. We will also continue to work with the Android community, handset manufacturers, carriers, and other service providers to develop a standard, platform-wide solution that allows content providers to deliver their services to all Android-based devices. I’ll keep you updated on our progress.