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Cellphones Handhelds Media Movies

Why There's Still No Netflix App For Android 291

Posted by timothy
from the wouldn't-exactly-say-I-was-missing-it dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Why is there a Netflix app for iOS devices and Windows Phone 7, yet no Netflix support for Android? Well, Netflix has been working on an Android app but has run into a few technical hurdles because Android lacks a universal DRM solution which means that the company has to work with different handset manufacturers separately in order to ensure that the installed DRM protocol meets the requirements laid out by the movie studios."
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Why There's Still No Netflix App For Android

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  • Too Easy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by redemtionboy (890616) on Sunday November 14, 2010 @05:04PM (#34225576)
    Seems like there could be some solution...staring me right in the face...I dunno....maybe no DRM....but nahhh. That's just crazy...
  • by goombah99 (560566) on Sunday November 14, 2010 @05:13PM (#34225652)

    Maybe the preponderance of Android devices where you really can't enforce DRM will drive companies like Netflix to start bargaining for the right to stream without DRM. Not that it'll probably happen, but it's a nice dream...

    Dream on just like everyone from napster to limewire did. It took apple's $1 song to make it easier to pay than pirate music. Everyone won. Moreover apple installed speedbump DRM (I.e. just a pain in the but to remove and not worth your time, but removable if you wanted. even apple's own tools could remove (e.g. imovie). ) then they pushed for drm free music.

    Complain, but they moved the ball forward more in 1 year than all the attempts before.

    On the otherhand the handsets present a new playing filed where it looks like lockdown platforms are going to be the norm for a variety of reasons.

  • by mlts (1038732) * on Sunday November 14, 2010 @05:16PM (#34225662)

    My question is, do we want DRM on the platform? Slippery slope here -- First it will be to protect movies. Then it will spread to apps, and then to critical parts of the Android OS, which makes it easier for cellular carriers to force device makers to lock their phones down.

    We have enough issues with lockdown, especially the fact that there are -zero- [1] Android phones shipping in the US that have the ability to support custom ROMs.

    I'll pass on the DRM. Netflix can stream and cache or roll their own solution in the apk so it doesn't affect the whole phone.

    [1]: Of course, you can get a N1 or something else via import, but no US cellular carrier sells an open phone, and the only phones Google sells are ones that are antediluvian in nature when it comes to Android versions.

  • Re:Too Easy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MoonBuggy (611105) on Sunday November 14, 2010 @05:16PM (#34225664) Journal

    I genuinely wonder what the execs have against that solution, in this case. They aren't morons, they know there are fifty different ways to get a movie up onto the torrent sites, and that grabbing a low quality stream from a phone handset wouldn't be the top of the list, so it seems a little odd that they'd be this bothered about it.

    Put aside the "Lolz the MPAA are evil bastards" mindset (which, I must admit, I do often agree with) for a minute and try to work out the business logic behind this. The only thing I can think of is that they don't believe that allowing Netflix on Android will motivate enough new subscribers to be worth setting a "no DRM" or "lax DRM" precedent in one of their contracts. That's still working on the logic that DRM stops copying, though, which really doesn't appear to be the case.

  • Re:Too Easy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 14, 2010 @05:21PM (#34225712)

    Good point. Right now the torrent sites are filled with x264 rips of blurays, but if this netflix app came out on android with a flaw in the DRM, the torrent sites would clearly start offering these low resolution versions instead.

  • by Libertarian001 (453712) on Sunday November 14, 2010 @05:28PM (#34225768)

    All is hear is the studios screaming at me that they don't want my money every time I open my wallet.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 14, 2010 @05:43PM (#34225890)

    No.

  • Forget Android (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Yvan256 (722131) on Sunday November 14, 2010 @05:46PM (#34225914) Homepage Journal

    I just want a decent selection from Netflix Canada.

  • Re:Too Easy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TheRaven64 (641858) on Sunday November 14, 2010 @06:14PM (#34226158) Journal

    What evidence do you have for that? What things can you stream from Netflix that you can't already (easily) get hold of pirated copies of? I use a service like Netflix here in the UK - I could easily pirate everything I've ever rented from them on DVD or streamed with their Flash thing. The DRM in both cases is irrelevant - it doesn't stop pirates, it just stops me from using the streaming thing on all devices that I might want to use.

    I don't pirate for two reasons. First, and most important, the legal streaming stuff is actually more convenient - it will start playing a few seconds after I press play. Second, I actually don't mind giving the studios some positive reinforcement (i.e. money) when they make stuff I like. There's little enough stuff that I want to watch being made, I don't want them to make less of it.

  • by girlintraining (1395911) on Sunday November 14, 2010 @06:25PM (#34226236)

    All is hear is the studios screaming at me that they don't want my money every time I open my wallet.

    Oh, they want your money. They just want it again, and again, and again.

  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Sunday November 14, 2010 @07:15PM (#34226538)

    Hollywood is one of the worst, but many game publishers, and others really do think the DRM war can be won. They think if they can just lock things down well enough, then it'll be over, people won't be able to pirate and sales will go through the roof.

    This was real evident with Blu-ray. They went to some very extreme lengths to protect the discs. This wasn't a "Well it'll stop casual people at home," thing they really though they'd stop the pros. They flat out said BD+ would be unbroken for at least 10 years. Ya well we see how well that all worked out. They really had talked themselves in to it that if they just made the DRM good enough, they'd stop it.

    It is a delusion that is encouraged by another delusion in that pirated copies are seen as lost sales. Many companies really do believe this. They do because it is such an attractive idea. I mean if your game sold 5 million copies but was download 20 million times, think how much more money you could have made! Gets them all excited with the thought that by investing resources in DRM you could literally increase your profits a few hundred percent.

    Now of course that isn't true, even if there were perfect DRM you'd find only a fraction of those pirated copies would translate in to actual sales. People will try something for $0 that they won't for more. Even if perfect DRM could be a reality it wouldn't increase sales like they hope. However the idea is so attractive that many delude themselves in to thinking it is real.

    Of course the DRM providers, and there are many, sell this too. They tell you how much more money you'll make with their DRM than without.

    Ultimately it all culminates in an attitude that the objective is not to maximize sales and thus maximize profits, it is to minimize piracy, even if it reduces sales. Counter productive, but we know humans are good at that kind of thing.

  • Re:Too Easy (Score:2, Insightful)

    by magus_melchior (262681) on Sunday November 14, 2010 @07:35PM (#34226666) Journal

    That's because the only "side of the story" they ever hear is from DRM salespeople, and because they only WANT to hear that side of the story. Media industry execs are still cut from the same cloth as the Disney execs who rejected a one-time-use VHS rental cassette because it didn't prevent group viewings-- if they aren't getting the same number of sales as there are eyeballs on the planet, sales are lost, ergo someone is stealing, full stop. They can argue that they're protecting artists and filmmakers until they're blue in the face, and we know they're lying when in reality they're thinking a backup copy of purchased physical media is illegal and that ripping off Peter Jackson for the LotR trilogy is SOP.

    Even when it comes to sales and losses due to DRM or online file sharing, they're probably cooking the books anyway, because for some reason they don't want to admit that they are wrong in any respect.

  • by dhavleak (912889) on Monday November 15, 2010 @04:25AM (#34228968)

    It is a delusion that is encouraged by another delusion in that pirated copies are seen as lost sales. Many companies really do believe this. They do because it is such an attractive idea. I mean if your game sold 5 million copies but was download 20 million times, think how much more money you could have made! Gets them all excited with the thought that by investing resources in DRM you could literally increase your profits a few hundred percent.

    Very very tenuous logic. You don't need to assume that all the pirated copies = lost sales. You merely need to assume some kind of realistic percentage of the pirates would buy the game if pirating was not an option. Let's be ridiculously conservative, and assume that percentage is as low as 1%. Let's assume that this game costs $10. Going with your figure of 20 million downloads, at $10 per game, you're talking 200 million dollars. Now if you assume that only 1% of the pirates would actually buy, you're down to 2 million dollars in lost sales. So your DRM solution has to cost you less than 2 million dollars, for it to be worth it -- simple math

    Now consider this -- nobody creates a DRM solution for a single piece of content -- they create it for a class of content (like say, all PS3 games use the same DRM solution, all iTunes songs use the same DRM solution, etc. etc.) -- so you're actually talking about multiple titles that would be pirated many million times -- and you're distributing the cost of your DRM solution across the "lost sales minimized" for all that content -- not just individual titles

    The last piece of the puzzle you seem to be missing -- if you don't combat piracy, it's the same thing as endorsing it. If you never protect your content, and you never prosecute people that pirate your content, then the people who are paying for it start looking like suckers. Basically, when everyone around you is downloading music/movies/games for free, and you're the only one paying for it, and there's no penalty and no inconvenience for the freeloaders -- why would you pay for it? So it's not even just about the 20 million downloads -- the 5 million people who paid might also stop paying if you turn a blind eye to piracy.

    Don't take this as an endorsement for DRM in general -- I hate FairPlay / PlaysForSure type DRM schemes as much as the next person. But any opposition to them has to make sense, for it to be taken seriously.

  • Dear Netflix.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Lumpy (12016) on Monday November 15, 2010 @07:44AM (#34229656) Homepage

    If I WANT a copy of the movie I am streaming, I'm certianly not going to rip the 320X240 version you are sending to the phone. I'll add the DVD to my disc list and rip it when it shows up.

    WTF is the paranoia over DRM on a very low quality phone video stream? Nobody will even WANT to rip that stream, That is the best DRM possible, make it a crappy quality.

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