May 22 AT 3:44 PM Sean Riley 35 Comments

Root access equals no access to Android Market movie rentals

While we haven’t seen any in the wild reports of this issue yet the guys at Android Central were tipped to an interesting bit of information in Google’s own help documents regarding the newly minted movie rental service in the Android Market.

You’ll receive this “Error 49″ message if you attempt to play a movie on a rooted device. Rooted devices are currently unsupported due to requirements related to copyright protection.Android Market Help

With the limited number of Android devices (only the 3.1 updated Xoom) currently supported by the service it is not terribly surprising that we haven’t heard more of a hue and cry about this limitation yet, but with support for all devices running Android 2.2 and above coming very soon this is about to be brought front and center for a significant portion of the Android enthusiast population.

While I can certainly see content providers making this request of Google it is disappointing to say the least, particularly since it isn’t a restriction that seems to be present for some of the other high profile streaming services we have seen of late such as Netflix [1] or HBO Go.

Now chances are this will be rendered a non-issue in short order as I can’t help but think that at least some members of the root community will take this as a challenge, but where do you stand on Google acquiescing to these terms in the first place?


  1. Not that they are the paragon of successful streaming implementation with their official support for only five devices.

Via: Android Central

Source: Android Market Help

Sean has been with Android and Me for over 8 years and covering mobile for the last 9. He occasionally muses about gadgets and tech outside of the Android universe at Techgasms.

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  • http://Website Anonymous

    Google is just doing what Google has to do, to make sure they get the content owners on their side. I can see why it’s being done.

    • Anthony Domanico


  • Varemenos

    Will anyone even use it? Rooted_phone>Rental_Mobile_Movies Anytime of the day

  • http://Website Techrocket9

    Guess I’ll never be renting a movie from the Android Market.

    Though it isn’t much of an issue now that I have Netflix.

    And it will probably take XDA all of a week to bypass the limitation anyway.

  • http://Website schwiz

    I am really disappointed in this, there are a lot of smart engineers working at Google, they have the talent and resources to find a better solution.

    • daveloft

      This is unlikely a technical problem and more a contractual requirement to having the movie studios on board.

      • Myles

        It is as though the movie studios are more than happy to do anything they possibly can to hinder us giving them our money!

        Then they wonder why people pirate things.

  • http://Website Eddie

    When it becomes available outside America (which will be never, due to idiotic MPAA), it’ll mean something. In the meantime, who the f**k cares…

    • http://Website Paul


    • http://Website Dennis

      Haha!! Fuck you too, buddy. Cry some more.

  • http://Website Mike

    Guess I won’t be watching any movies on my Droid… Not that it matters. Movie rentals aren’t tempting enough to fall back into the clutches of Verizon’s desired society.

  • http://Website Polo79

    The issue isn’t to do with the streaming part. Google movies will also offer download and offline viewing which will present additional issues over the ones netflix had to hurdle. My only hope is that they get this fixed in the future.

  • http://Website Jelle

    “Rooted devices are currently unsupported due to requirements related to copyright protection.”

    Currently unsupported, that could mean they are working on a fix. I understand that Google has to protect the rented movies in this construction, hopefully they come up with a nice solution so the rooted users can be happy too :)

  • http://Website republican

    thats why iPad is better!!!

    • http://Website Polo79

      Hello trolly troll. I hope after ios gets relegated to #3 you get some help.

    • http://Website android forever

      One thing I do like about IPad is that I have to jailbreak it just to get flash on websites I go to…….lmao


      SRSLY, there needs to be a standardized membership system so that troll can be banned for good,

  • D3REK

    I don’t download movies to my i*od touch from i*tunes and I never planned to download any of these movies either. Netflix & HBO GO FTW.

  • thegreyhawke

    a root could be set up to spoof country, and potentially copy movies, for reproduction. there are a lot counterfeit copies of movies out there, i can see why the movie people don’t want more

  • http://Website mustanger

    This same thing was said when the Netflix app officially came to my Incredible. Yet the app works just fine on my rooted phone running non-stock ROMs. I’m pretty certain this is easily rememdied circumvented. Way to spread the FUD, though.

    • WickedToby741

      Its not really FUD considering its true and theres currently no work around. Sure, XDA will likely have one cooked up in no time, but just the fact that you actually need a work around in order to do this seems like a worthy enough reason to publish this article.

  • http://Website Micah

    Anyone that wants to bypass the copy-protection I’m sure already knows how to use a torrent. As usual this is just corporations shooting themselves in the foot.


    Meh, I can wait to watch a movie until I get home on the 42″ Samsung…

  • WickedToby741

    Its quite simple really. Movie studios don’t trust Google as much with content, so the restrictions are greater for them as opposed to Netflix and HBO Go. If Google proves themselves in fighting anti-piracy, we may eventually see rooted devices receiving this privilege, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. Its more likely that we’ll see XDA cook up a work around. Google has to listen to the studios in order to offer the content in the first place.


      Similar to my thoughts, I think that Google has found that piracy is very easy if our devices are rooted and have created the restriction to avoid complications from production companies.

  • Rahul Aggarwal

    The rooted devices will enable their users as to customize their phones giving them a choice to enjoy a privileged control with the android Linux subsystems and also making them run fast. It is similar to jail breaking feature on the iphone. So with so much of personalized features on the rooted device, the movie rentals service being made available only to the Android 3.1 Honeycomb users and not the android 2.2 devices which contributes to a large population of the android users.

  • Android Applications Development

    This is bit disappointing.Hopefully Google will find the solution soon.

  • http://Website scott n

    Wow, I guess this shows how Google feels about us modders.

  • http://Website vasras

    Who cares.

    Why would I buy overpriced, over-DRM’ed and over-compressed crap from a limited selection movie store?

    The movie companies are doing the exact same mistakes music companies did with CD and online music sales and they are going to pay a hefty price for it.

    They need to bring restrictions down, prices competitive and selection up.

    Otherwise they face a losing battle.

    Unfair battle yes, but a losing one nevertheless.

  • http://Website Jason

    Given that temporary root is a thing… temporary unroot must also be a thing.

    Hackers 1, Film Industry 0

  • http://Website fleasha

    ok. I REALLY do not want to watch a movie on my phone. I’ll keep my rooted phone rooted. tyvm

  • http://Website Jay

    I laughed so hard once I read this I’ve started to develop a six pack. Google should have spent that time working on ice cream. We will find a way around it with ease.

  • http://Website madhaus

    Root on, Root off! Watch movie. Root on! One-click root will seriously rule.

  • http://Website GerryAttrick

    Would anyone really want to watch a blockbuster movie on a phone. It’d be like going to the movies and watching the screen thru the wrong end of a telescope.

  • jeremy

    I think that with all the technology out there someone will make away around it one way or another so i wouldn’t worry about it I mean really if that’s the only thing ur worried about in life is Peking to play on ur phone and watch movies then u should prob get a life and step out in the real world life isn’t fair and nothing is truly free and big corporations don’t care about the minority they care about the majority and that’s the way it is