Netflix 4K: how an Android TV-Box can get official compatibility

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In this article we will explain in a simple way how Netflix grants its license to view content in 4K quality with the Android TV devices. the last months, this company has launched the Hailstorm accreditation system for manufacturers, something that simplifies to some extent the accreditation of devices with official Netflix support. As we will see in this article Netflix controls 100% the accreditation process and makes it impossible for the vast majority of brands to obtain their permission. We want to thank several brands of the sector to share with us their experiences on this process to make this article.



OBTAIN NETFLIX ACCREDITATION

The certification of Netflix is based on several phases, at hardware production level the platform has been standardized with the Hailstorm process that controls the components to be used in Android TV devices to meet the minimum quality criteria requested. On the other hand, Netflix imposes its totally subjective personal criteria to approve or not its official support and to be able to see the service in 4K quality.

  • Hailstorm hardware certification (objective)
    – Netflix only accredits manufacturers (not brands) that meet their hardware and Google Android TV certification criteria.
    – Only these manufacturers can produce Netflix Ready Devices.
    – With this process Netflix simplifies the control and inspection of the manufacturers.
    – Netflix controls at 100% the devices to be certified for all brands that obtain hardware from authorized manufacturers.
  • Netflix certification criteria for brands (subjective)
    – Number of global device sales.
    – Geographic sales regions.
    – Demographic data of its users.
    – Reputation and history of the brand.

CURRENT SCENARIO

Observing the above data it is clear that the criterion at the end of the process is totally subjective and is controlled by Netflix at its discretion. As we can see in the current scenario of devices compatible with official Android TV only brands such as Xiaomi or NVidia can obtain 4K certification in TV-Box with Android TV system.

As we have already explained in our Netflix 4K Guide on Android it does not matter that we have Widevine L1 DRM certificates and Google Certification since the final approval depends 100% on Netflix. For this reason many brands give up on having official Netflix support and look for tricks to get 4K support, something that can be detected and blocked remotely. In general this smalls brands go to the basic support in SD quality that is allowed by Netflix for all types of devices.

It seems Google presses Netflix to lower its control criteria to facilitate access to its platform to more devices, which is understandable because Netflix is ​​undoubtedly a great attraction for any system with Android TV installed. On the other hand Netflix does not want to lower the level of demand to maintain an “optimized experience” to the user, controlled the hardware, software and the use of the device in real time at the user level, something that implies total control.

CONCLUSIONS

With this panorama as we can see that Netflix 4K is impossible for small brands in an official way and no matter how hard they try, they do not reach the objective criteria that are requested. Perhaps with the competition of new platforms such as Apple TV+ and Disney+ perhaps the level of demand of Netflix is lowered as Google claims, but for now it does not seem so.

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Firstly, Thank-you so much for such a great article! To add to what is said above: From our interaction with the partnership/device team they said they suffer from a lack of resources to certify more devices more quickly, but it’s clear they have no clue or real willingness on how to sustainably grow outside of their traditional markets. How does Ematic with ZERO track record and no real brand get certified and not other much bigger players who we know are asking? If Netflix continue in this direction they will end up being another Kodak – inventors of the digital… Read more »

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