The Netflix online streaming video service has proved to be an excellent option for instant watch movies at home. It proved so popular in fact that it is now available for the Windows 7 phone, and the iPhone.
For the first time, the Netflix online streaming video service is soon to be offered on smart phones that are running the Android operating system. Unfortunately though it will not be able to run on all devices in the near future, and in fact some may never be capable of accessing the service.
The Android operating system already offers a large amount of apps for phones that run it. It also is considered a very open system, that allows developers easy access in order to make applications, but also allows cell phone networks the chance to make changes to it, to brand it for their own particular network.
Changes may also be made from handset to handset in order to disable functions that are not fully supported by the particular handset, and to change other features or the appearance of the system to match handset specifications.
This openness is normally considered to be a good thing from the point of view of developers. This time though it is actually proving to be a problem when it comes to Netflix offering its services to all Android phone users.
The problem is they claim, that not all devices offer sufficient security functionality, and hence those that don’t will not be allowed to access the streaming video.
Digital rights management (DRM) at the level that Netflix requires it is not a standard feature on all handsets, nor is it a feature that is built in as standard to the Android operating system. In order to control DRM on all handsets, the Netflix company are going to need to coordinate with the makers of every handset to ensure that there are sufficiently tight DRM tools in place to protect the videos that the users stream.
This will mean that some handsets will quickly have access to the service-especially newer handsets that are just being released. Others will take a longer amount of time, or may never have sufficient DRM control-meaning that they are never permitted to access the Netflix streaming video service. This inequality is unavoidable when considering the wide variety of Android handsets that are available.
Why is it that other smart phones can already use the service, but that Android users cannot? The difference between the Windows 7 Phone, the iPhone and Android phones is the open nature of Android development. The former two phones are more tightly controlled, with DRM built in.
Not only that, the larger number of handsets available for Android introduces a great deal of variety when it comes to capability, and this is in addition to the fact that DRM does not come as standard.
For this reason, though some smart phone users are already able to enjoy Netflix, it will be a little while longer before the Android handsets are able to do the same.