Blockbuster blocking rooted Android devices as well

A few days ago, we reported on how Google's new Movie service was deliberately being blocked if your device was rooted and now the plot seems to have thickened somewhat. A new application was recently released by Blockbuster and Droid Life are reporting that this, too, is detecting if your device has been rooted or not and blocking access if it is.

This is particularly interesting for two reasons. For one, the application refers to it as "Tamper detection", implying that you're being locked out specifically to avoid some kind unauthorised access, but the most interesting thing is that bit about "Widevine encrypted content".

Many people speculated that the reason Google Movies was locked out on Android devices was due to some sort of pressure or licensing agreement from the movie studios and that still may be the case, however Widevine are a DRM software company and, crucially, owned by Google themselves. It could just be coincidence that the Blockbuster application happens to use DRM that is owned by Google and the movie studios are still responsible, or it could be a hint that Google is attempting to prove to content providers that its own DRM service is secure and part of that security is enforced by refusing to work on rooted devices.

As always, someone will likely find a way around this in short order, but how long will it take before legitimate consumers get fed up of jumping through hoops and being restricted for the sake of the movie studios?

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23 Comments

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Let them, it's bloatware that gets installed anyways. I'd be removing them if I could root my Droid (company phone).

This makes perfect sense. As everyone knows, the most common way to acquire Hollywood movies (for the purpose of illicitly redistributing them) is to root a smartphone and use a hacked video rental app to slowly download a low-res version of the movie on to your phone. Then the low res film is transferred from the phone to the pirate's computer at which point they upload it to the internet. If the Hollywood studios could only plug this hole, piracy would end.

Then they wonder why piracy exists. It's because of bull**** like this and DRM. If I can't get it through an online service, they do they reckon I'd do? Give up? Oh right, there is that TPB alternative, that would give me the content for free, possible at a higher quality. And if TPB served me right, why would I want to go back to the DRM infested, worse quality, paid crap?

If the movie files themselves are encrypted with DRM how would being rooted/unrooted have any effect on that?

You can rent movies on iTunes on a PC or a Mac. The users have total access to the DRM'd files on an operating system considered to be "open". How would downloading a DRM'd movie file onto a rooted Android device be any different?

Gladiatorus said,
Honest question: What the hell is a ROOTED device?

A rooted device is generally refered to as a device that at one point in time had locked the owner out of admin 'root' account access.
Think of it as not having access any of the system files on your pc, or not being able to change parts under the hood of your car. You root (rooted) it, and re-gain access.

Oh no...a company that has almost went completely out business in AZ is blocking rooted android devices...haha. Funny. Seems BB needs all the help they can get these days. And again, there will more than likely be a hack for this.

shakey said,
Why would someone even bother trying to watch a movie on such a small screen....

It all depends on the viewing distance. A 4" screen at 1.5 feet is roughly equivalent to a 32" screen at 12 feet.

roadwarrior said,

It all depends on the viewing distance. A 4" screen at 1.5 feet is roughly equivalent to a 32" screen at 12 feet.

a 7inch screen is just good for me to watch tv series and movies on the train.

NightSt@lk3r said,
The whole idea of movie rentals on mobile phones, just seems daft to me, no loss there.

Root > Rental Movies anytime of the day

NightSt@lk3r said,
The whole idea of movie rentals on mobile phones, just seems daft to me, no loss there.

Why movies on phones ? What about movies on rooted tablets ?

alexalex said,

Why movies on phones ? What about movies on rooted tablets ?


Same issue. If you have a rooted Xoom, you can use the built in Movie rental functionality on honeycomb 3.1. That sucks in particular because rooting a Xoom actually adds invaluable functionality. You can overclock a Xoom from 1Ghz to 1.5Ghz and you can enable to SD card reader.

Blockbuster's still around? I was hoping they'd die off after they went bankrupt.

By that, I don't wish for more people to be jobless, but Blockbuster stopped having good service years ago. At least, compared to what others were offering...

dead.cell said,
Blockbuster's still around? I was hoping they'd die off after they went bankrupt.

By that, I don't wish for more people to be jobless, but Blockbuster stopped having good service years ago. At least, compared to what others were offering...

lol I was think the same thing when I saw this article.

dead.cell said,
Blockbuster's still around? I was hoping they'd die off after they went bankrupt.

By that, I don't wish for more people to be jobless, but Blockbuster stopped having good service years ago. At least, compared to what others were offering...

Dont worry, if you have good root its undetectable.