Netflix tight-lipped on Aussie geoblock

Written By komlim puldel on Rabu, 07 Januari 2015 | 20.01

At the 2015 International CES WSJ's Wilson Rothman meets with Neil Hunt of Netflix to discuss the extended services of high-quality 4K video streaming.

Global hit ... Netflix is used by people around the world. Picture: AP Source: AP

NETFLIX has refused to answer questions about an alleged crackdown on Australian users of its movie-streaming service, even as it tried to promote better image quality and TV recommendations at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

The multi-billion dollar on-demand movie service was this week accused of closing a loophole that allowed Netflix Google Android app users to mask their locations, shutting down access for some paying subscribers outside the United States.

An estimated 20,000 Australians pay for Netflix subscriptions, and access the service by masking their computer's location so they appear to reside in America.

REVEALED: Netflix starts blocking Australians accessing its service

Controversial .. Netflix Chief Streaming and Partnerships Officer Greg Peters and Sony Electronics President and COO Mike Fasulo speak at the Las Vegas CES event. Picture: David Becker/Getty Images/AFP Source: AFP

But the company refused to address the concerns initially raised on TorrentFreak with Australian media at CES, instead instructing journalists not to ask questions about the alleged crackdown, and handing out copies of a news article refuting the claims.

The company also issued a statement saying "virtually crossing borders to use Netflix is a violation of our terms of use".

The statement continued, "We have not recently made any changes."

The movie giant is due to launch its service in Australia this March, but many of its popular shows including Orange is the New Black and Better Call Saul, are unlikely to screen on the local service due to licencing agreements, potentially providing little incentive for existing subscribers to switch.

Popular show ... Uzo Aduba, Samira Wiley, Danielle Brooks and Vicky Jeudy in a scene from Orange is the New Black. Picture: JoJo Whilden for Netflix. Supplied by Foxtel Source: Supplied

Despite shutting down discussion on its subscribers' concerns, Netflix chief product officer Neil Hunt was willing to discuss other developments for the company, including the addition of HDR content, or movies streamed with a wider colour gamut and higher contrast images.

The HDR or high-dynamic range versions of movies would deliver 10 times the brightness of current streamed movies, he said.

"It makes it a much more vivid, much more real picture that almost feels 3D," Mr Hunt said.

The HDR information would add 20 per cent on to the size of each streamed movie, however.

Mr Hunt said Netflix would also begin recommending televisions to consumers based on their own criteria, though the recommendations would only be issued in the US for now.


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