It has been a while since the class of technologies known as DRM or Digital Rights Management has been the focus on contention but the news surrounding Netflix’s sudden withdrawal from some devices could put it back in the spotlight. It’s only semi-official, considering Netflix has not yet issued a formal explanation, but it seems that affected devices are unable to keep up with such DRM systems, practically locking them out of the streaming service for good.
Some critics call it Digital Restrictions Management for a reason. DRM technology is designed to protect content (and their creators and owners) by preventing piracy. It’s not always effective and, in some cases, even prevents legitimate owners from accessing their content under certain circumstances.
This could be considered one of those instances, when devices perfectly capable of running Netflix on December 1, 2019 will no longer be able to do so on December 2, 2019. So far Netflix and manufacturers of affected devices have remained mum on the specifics but they are now telling Gizmodo that it’s all about DRM.
Netflix has been using Microsoft’s PlayReady DRM for years now but older devices have been using Windows Media DRM only. Those devices are unable to update to the latest DRM software because of the limits of hardware from early 2010 to 2014. Naturally, Netflix wouldn’t want its content streaming to those “unprotected” devices.
On the one hand, device owners aren’t losing their Netflix access and can still stream from any other device, including their web browsers. On the other hand, those Roku, Samsung, and Vizio devices would have still been completely capable of supporting Netflix, if not for newer, more demanding DRM software.