When we first started hearing about Android getting streaming Netflix support, things looked pretty bleak, with talk of new DRM-supporting chipsets as a a requirement. Luckily for the many Netflix subscribers with existing smartphones, that turned out not to be the case, and not only does the app officially support a number of older devices, but unofficial support extends to even more Androids. Now we’re starting to hear what sounds like a repeat of those old rumors, with news that the upcoming HD version of Netflix may be looking at hardware-based solutions to protect its content providers’ media resources.
Texas Instruments announced that its OMAP 4 platform has been certified as meeting Netflix’s security requirements for 1080p content, including HDMI-out with HDCP for connection to full-sized televisions. The certification would allow OMAP 4-based Androids to access Netflix HD once the app supporting such content is available; TI says that it will ship pre-installed on some Androids with OMAP 4 later this year.
We haven’t heard anything from Netflix about this sort of certification, and while TI doesn’t exactly say so outright, the implication is that without passing Netflix’s security protocol testing, Androids won’t be able to access 1080p Netflix streams. For all we know, the situation could turn out to be similar to how things are currently, where there’s a limited number of officially-supported handsets, but it’s relatively trivial to get most other phones working. If the app truly insists on having the kind of secure computing environment that OMAP 4 offers, that situation could be very different. We hope Netflix makes some kind of statement about its intentions soon.