July 5, 2011 | by Andrew Kameka
When I met the folks from Texas Instruments and learned about their processor plans, they showed me a prototype device running Netflix. At the time, Netflix was confirmed only for devices with Qualcomm processors, so I asked if that meant TI OMAP 4 devices would get Netflix support. Someone smiled and said “This is just a proof of concept showing all the great things we can do.”
Fast forward to today and TI has confirmed that its OMAP 4 processor is the first to gain certification for Netflix HD video streaming on Android devices. TI was able to obtain the certification to broadcast full HD 1080p video thanks to M-Shield security that fights piracy, a big concern for Netflix and its content providers (Ed note: Yes, we’ve pointed out how ludicrous that it is in the past).
The debut of Netflix has already shown that it’s not just Qualcomm processors that will access Netflix on Android, so what’s the big deal? For starters, OMAP 4 devices will be able to stream higher-quality 1080p video. But the bigger issue deals with the most common complaint about Netflix today – well, aside from it not working on Phone X. Lots of people are up in arms because it doesn’t work on Tablet X either. Being able to stream in HD is critical for the time when Android tablets finally get the green light to access Netflix through official channels. SD streaming may be fine on a 3.5-4.3 inch screen, but it probably won’t fly on the 8.9-inch and higher screens in Android tablets.
TI OMAP 4 will most likely not be the only Netflix HD-certified processor, but it being the first certified may lead to an advantage in the spec sheet column. It may even spark a “The only Android tablet with Netflix HD” line in an ad or two. TI will have to upgrade the platform for that to happen, though. OMAP 4 currently supports only Android 2.3 Gingerbread, but later software versions will be supported this year. TI also says Netflix will be pre-installed on OMAP 4 devices “launched in the near future.”
For more information on Texas Instruments, read our processor-centered interview from Mobile World Congress.