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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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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 14, 2010 @06:02PM (#34225562)
    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...
  • Ubuntu instead! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by linuxwonder (1681928) on Sunday November 14, 2010 @06:13PM (#34225650)
    Forget Android...what about Ubuntu? Just once I would like to access my Netflix accnt. without having to start my VM for XP!
  • by happymellon (927696) on Sunday November 14, 2010 @06:54PM (#34225986)
    Netflix runs on the Google TV... http://blog.netflix.com/2010/10/netflix-on-google-tv.html [netflix.com]
    Google TV runs on Android... http://code.google.com/tv/web/faq.html [google.com]
    Thus Netflix runs on Android. I don't really know much about the whole pkg infrastructure, is the Android VM still close enough to Java for the write once run anywhere?
  • Re:Too Easy (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 14, 2010 @07:41PM (#34226344)

    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.

    For that matter...I know of several people who own/rent/borrow the movie...rip the DVD and they have a copy of whatever they want to entertain themselves on their phones. Problem solved...no torrent downloaded...no problem with any Netflix application and nothing appears online.

  • Re:Too Easy (Score:5, Interesting)

    by wrook (134116) on Sunday November 14, 2010 @08:09PM (#34226516) Homepage

    Obviously I can't know exactly what they are thinking, but here's my guess. To us the business case is obvious: if you provide a service which is convenient and cheap enough, most people will opt for convenience and pay for the product. I mean you *could* have a garden and grow your own food, and you could prepare that food yourself. It isn't *that* much work and the result is very rewarding. But most people would rather get in their car and drive to Mac Donald's. Why? Because it is convenient. People are willing to pay for that convenience as long as the cost is reasonable.

    But the media execs, even if they realize this, want the freedom to charge whatever they want for things. What is a movie *worth*? Well, since you don't need it at all it doesn't have any intrinsic value. It's only value comes from creating a desire to want to see it and limiting the availability to see it. The value of the movie becomes what the customer is willing to pay, not what it's intrinsic worth is.

    The media industry has also realized that high prices serve their interest even if they don't directly make high profits as a result. People will want to see movies more if there are huge amounts of special effects, high priced actors, etc, etc. If the average movie costs $1 million to make, you will have a lot of competition from other companies. But if it costs $100 million, there aren't many groups with the capital to break in and compete with you. So if you can raise prices and spend all your money on production, advertising, etc, etc you still end up ahead. This is especially true if you are performing all those services and skim a profit at each step (i.e., the movie makes no profit but every service performed makes a profit and since you own those services you make a profit).

    So in other words, they need to keep supply low to keep prices high to maintain their monopoly position in the industry. I believe this is their real interest in DRM. The "convenience" price point is too low to accomplish this.

  • by LostMyBeaver (1226054) on Monday November 15, 2010 @03:27AM (#34228650)
    It's like putting a state of the art lock on a glass door. It'll keep the "honest people" out during the hours which the store isn't open, but even if you were to put bars behind the glass, cameras in the shop, sharks in the moat, etc... the guy who wants to get in to take something when the store isn't closed will find another way. Digging a tunnel underground into the shop is more work, but all it really takes is a shovel.

    CSS is cracked, AACS is cracked, BD-J is more or less cracked (it's sloppy though, a real crack shouldn't require evaluating and fixing for each new patch, but since you can simply disassemble the BD-J algorithm and make a patch in 10 minutes, it doesn't matter much), HDCP is cracked (though we don't have a proper device for it), Windows Media DRM is not cracked, but it's hacked. Apple DRM isn't even worth mentioning as Apple doesn't invest heavily in its development anymore. Flash DRM is still a challenge, but why would you bother with better streams available on other formats? Audible DRM is still in tact... more or less, but creative people can strip that pretty easily.

    In short, DRM is entirely ineffective. All it's doing is making it a hair more inconvenient to pirate than to buy. The only practical option for the movie studios is to offer an easily downloadable version of their films in good enough quality to be competitive with Blu-Ray rips that can be reliable downloaded quickly. With only a little effort, they can add measures to make it inconvenient to simple give copies to other people.

    I for one would purchase movies online (for a little less than a DVD in the store, as I wouldn't receive the disc and I'd know the middle man was cut out) if I could easily burn them to DVD and/or copy them to iPhone. Additionally, if I were to start doing this, then I can name 30 direct acquaintances who would do the same. This is because for a number of people, they don't adopt technology until the "smart computer guys" say that it's the way to go first.

    Here in Norway, we still don't have Norwegian e-books. Well we do, but the selection is piss poor and the publishers here are being childish. For example, if you want to buy an audio book in Norwegian, you go to the store and instead of CDs you can purchase these "special media players" which are really cheap flash based MP3 players. You pay about $80-$150 a book and you can't even return the player when you're done. This is their way of offering with DRM. Sure, you still have the analog loophole, but since the device only plays back in real time, it can take 40 hours to copy a single book. So, we as consumers don't bother buying it and instead opt for the English version of the book from amazon, iTunes, etc...
  • by dhavleak (912889) on Monday November 15, 2010 @05:02AM (#34228910)

    Thank Apple for what? They were probably the single largest distributor of DRMed content in the world. When they started selling non-DRMed content through iTunes, it was only because non-DRM alternatives were starting to become more compelling (like the Amazon music store), and they were coming under regulatory scrutiny, and they had sufficient lock-in already achieved that it didn't matter much.

    A lot of people fought long and hard for vendors to start selling music without DRM, long before Steve Jobs opportunistically jumped on the bandwagon and appropriated the movement for his own needs.

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