Easily in the top five questions we get from you guys -- and this is one we've been asking, too -- is "Where the hell is Netflix for Android?" It's been a fleeting rumor for months and months, and still we don't have it. But now we at least know why.

Greg Peters of Netflix product development took to the company blog tonight to explain why the iPhone and Windows Phone 7 get streaming movies, but Android's shut out. It comes down to "the lack of a generic and complete platform security and content protection mechanism available for Android," Peters writes, continuing with:

"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."

The good news? Peters says "we'll launch select Android devices that will instantly stream from Netflix early next year," and they'll keep working with carriers and manufacturers to develop a better solution for the entire Android platform.

Peters kind of makes it sound like Netflix itself will be "launching" new devices, but that seems a wee bit unlikely. "Select devices" and "early next year" sure make us wonder if an impending Android OS revision (hi, Gingerbread!) or two (hello, Honeycomb!) have anything to do with that.

One thing's for sure, though: It can't come soon enough. [Netflix] Thanks, Dustin!


Reader comments

Netflix coming to select Android devices early next year


It sucks, but makes sense. I hope that they get on this soon to rectify the problem though. I am hoping to get a netflix account soon and this will be a deciding factor.

It makes sense from Netflixs standpoint. They have to fulfill the demands of big media but big media enforcing it because they are worried about piracy is total crap. No matter what DRM they implement it'll be broken, so really all they are doing is shutting down another avenue for consumers to actually give them legit. money. How many people do you think are out there that think "Crap, no netflix? Oh well.. I'll just download it and dump it to my SD Card anyways" Not condoning it, just saying if big media was more open to newer mediums we'd not be waiting for netflix, we'd already have it. Aside from all that, wth is pirating copies of streaming media anyways when piracy is already so rampant in other forms.

This just reads to me like they will have Netflix on the Samsung devices in early 2011. Samsung already has a media hub pre-installed that, no doubt has DEN management plus it gets them access to devices on all networks as well as Tablets on all networks.

I suspect Netflix is hoping to score some extra income by licensing their app/service to OEMs and carriers, so don't expect this to be what we all want it to be: freely available in the Market. You'll have to pay for it, and I'm not just talking about the monthly fee.

Well are they charging for the Netflix app on iPhone and Windows? If not, I don't see them charging for it on Android. Netflix isn't that stupid.

What it boils down to is the arguably biggest draw of Android also being its Achilles heel. Whether it's a legitimate complaint, I have no idea. I highly doubt Netflix would be working on a viable solution that addresses the studios' concerns if it wasn't.

These companies have every right to protect the copyrighted content they produce. I don't blame them one bit for what they're doing, and I'll patiently wait until they come to a solution.

Correction to my previous comment. That DInc keyboard corrector kills me sometimes.

The point was that Samsung already has the DRM issue that Netflix is talking about addressed with their Media Hub service and apps. Netflix may just piggy-back on that to prevent having to re-invent the wheel. That also puts them on all Galaxy S devices (smartphone and tablet) on all networks out of the gate.

I hope one of the phones they put it on first will be the Evo 4G since streaming Netflix with 4G speeds is great

Probably not since by the time the 1st of the year arrives Verizon and possibly ATT will be at 4G as well. (Well I KNOW Verizon will be.)

That is a foolish comment. I’d be willing to bet that the HTC Evo is in fact one of the first devices to get Netflix. HTC is a large player in the Android community. My guess is that the HTC Evo and Samsung Epic both are at the top of the list for Netflix.

With news of Sprint and Clear's feuds, that whole WiMax thing may die a slow and tragic death. I remember a few months ago, Sprint or Clear said that they could pretty easily replace the WiMax hardware with LTE hardware....

Mobile is the hot spot right now. Smartphone ads out number any other tech ads I see on TV. Netflix just updated thier apps on all three consoles and didn't charge for it. I feel its free on the Wii because it adds value to the service the customer pays a monthly fee for, hence more people want the service. Instant is pretty lame if you have to watch it on a tiny computer monitor with you family or friends looking over your shoulder. Netflix was about discs first and instant second when I joined but its not anymore. I can watch it on my PS3, 360, or Wii on a big screen and easily with a click on my controller. Netflix even announced the instant only plans and its because of the console intergration IMO. So on my EVO? That is a chance for them to gain more customers but they have to see the value in the investment. The iPhone still gets apps first even though i do see android catching up quickly in customer base, the fact is it still seems like a safer bet to companies to start with the iPhone app. Don't get me wrong I hate apple but that's for a different time. Maybe it was dem but i think its really about profit,the business world always is, and the android market share took Netflix by surprise, they were caught napping and now we wait for the app to get developed because they realized many many customers are waiting for it. I want Netflix on my EVO badly but if I had to choose I would rather have it on my Xbox since it can do HD and nobody wants to lean over my shoulder for 2 hrs and watch a movie on a 4 inch screen and listen to it in mono on my one speaker the EVO has. It wont be long and android will get stuff just as fast as apple does IMO, Netflix says its copyrights and the such, that's real but they could have fixed that by now, it was money, they misjudged the android market pure and simple so we wait.

I'm not sure watching movies on my phone is something worth paying for. I watch sprint tv, and flash content tv shows on my EVO. I have to put it down aftera while. No way I want to stare at this screen for 2+ hours to watch a movie. They can keep it. I for one do not care for it. Just a novelty, that's all.

I don't prefer it over a TV or even laptop screen but it can be handy for killing time. I downloaded a movie via Samsung's Mediahub and it was actually quite enjoyable, with earbuds of course.

Airport Layovers/flight delays/flight itself, hospital waiting rooms, kids hogging the tv/computer, getting the car's oil changed, etc. Basically any time you're waiting. I'm not certain but I think app streaming is part of the netflix streaming service in general so it shouldn't be extra cost over what you're already paying. I'm on the cheapest one DVD at a time plan and I can stream too.

I wouldn't get a netflix account specifically for the app though. Definitely not worth that.

Ok I understand but why did it take so long for them to let us now what's going on. a list of headsets would be nice too bad there's no other company out there doing it.

>"it difficult for us to secure a common Digital Rights Management (DRM)"

DRM is "Digital *Restrictions* Management". It has very little to do with "Rights".

And millions of Linux desktop users are out in the cold with Netflix due to the same excuse of not being able to adequately "lock down" a platform that is designed to be open, standards-based, and foster freedom...

Any word on which devices? I have an HTC Evo and sure hope I get in on the streaming.

Right now I use my Roku connected to my SlingBox and the Android SlingPlayer app. Not the most ideal but, gets the job done.

I just hope it supports HDMI out. That would be nice to have while traveling.

I couldn't care less about streaming Netflix content on my phone. All I really want from them is a decent app (or even a decent mobile site) to manage my Netflix queues. Yes, there are a few third-party apps out there that can do it, but an official app from them would be appreciated.

Netflix is great I have been streaming for a few months now on my Droid X, theres an easy work around. Use a WDHDTV Plus hooked into a Slingbox and you can stream netflix that way and it works perfectly. I stream about 2 hours a day when I am at work.

Just Sharing

Here's to hoping they allow streaming over the EVO/DroidX HDMI out port..

If they don't add it, people will find a way to hack it.. so it's better they just add it so they can save themselves the headache.