Streaming Wars: How Netflix wants to prevent account sharing
Devices with Netflix will soon have to log into the local home network of the Netflix account to avoid being blocked.
Netflix explained in an updated account sharing FAQ how it plans to prevent account sharing in the future. The company highlights in the FAQ that devices will have to log into the local home network of the Netflix account and stream Netflix content regularly to avoid being blocked.
Netflix defines household devices in the following way: a device needs to be used to sign-in and watch Netflix content using the official Netflix apps or website while connected to the Wi-fi network at the primary location at least once every 31 days. Netflix mentions Wi-Fi network specifically and makes no mention of ethernet connections.
Information, such as IP addresses, device IDs and account activity is used to "determine whether a device signed into your account is part" of an account's primary location.
Netflix targets account sharing with the restriction, but customers who only use their devices may also face verification prompts if they did not sign-in with a device for the 31 day period. Netflix does not specify if devices connected to the primary location of an account are allowed access automatically, or if they need to go through the verification process as well.
Customers could run into issues if they use specific devices only occasionally to watch content on Netflix. A device may be used to watch Netflix while travelling only, and Netflix customers may want to make sure the device is prepared for that by signing-in to Netflix and starting a show or movie while in the home network before the day of departure.
Netflix device verification
Netflix explains the device verification process on its FAQ website. A prompt may be displayed by the Netflix app or website that asks the viewer to verify the account. A link is sent to the account's email address or phone number that is associated with the primary account owner.
A click on the link opens a page with a four-digit verification code. The code is valid for 15 minutes and needs to be entered on the device with the verification prompt in that time. Netflix becomes available if the code is entered successfully. Netflix notes that device verification may be required periodically.
The company makes no mention of permanent account locks if verification codes are shared between different locations.
Most customers should not run into verification issues while travelling or living between different homes, according to Netflix.
Netflix plans to launch the restrictions in 2023. The company has yet to announce start dates for specific regions, but is expected to launch the account sharing restrictions in the first quarter. One thing is sure: the restrictions will put an end to unintentional account sharing, e.g., when a Netflix user forgets to sign-out in an Airbnb or vacation home.
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