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Android may be a wide-open world compared to iOS, but there are still some things you just can't do on Google's mobile platform. One of them is capturing screenshots within apps that prohibit the act — either because the screen contains sensitive information or content protected by digital rights management. Lucky, then, that we have a trick up our sleeve called rooting! Yes, even in 2020, it still has utility for the people who need it the most. So, if you'd like to grab a freezeframe to meme up or spoil a drama series or keep some backup passcodes where you can easily pull them out, we've got a way (or three) to do that.
Netflix users are probably familiar with the "Smart Downloads" feature that allows your device to automatically pull down the latest episodes of shows you watch, just in case you end up with a hankering for some TNG or Great British Baking Show later when data is harder to come by. Supplementing this existing feature, we've spotted a new "Downloads For You" feature that expands that functionality to shows and movies you haven't watched yet. Paired with that, the Playback Specification diagnostics screen and in-app brightness controls are also rolling out more widely.
Disney, lord and master of almost all entertainment media, will soon grace us with yet another subscription service. It's not taking any chances with you filthy pirates, though. Disney+ will reportedly require the most stringent type of Widevine DRM. So, it might not even work on your device.
If you're not a PC gamer, you may have never heard of the gaming security firm Denuvo. To quickly fill you in, this firm has offered an anti-tamper DRM solution for many prominent video game publishers of PC titles. Of course, this DRM is a lot less popular amongst gamers (and even developers) that claim the DRM slows down their titles. While Denuvo states that there should be no perceptible effect, the service is still regularly demonized. This is probably why most Android gamers won't be thrilled to learn that Denuvo has launched a mobile-focused DRM solution for Android called Mobile Game Protection.
The movie industry wanted to create a universal online locker for digital content when it announced UltraViolet in 2010. The service has limped along for years, but the movie industry is finally reading the writing on the walls. UltraViolet will shut down on July 31st, and shocker, this convoluted DRM scheme makes it confusing to retain access to your purchased content.
Today's theme seems to be DRM. Security researcher David Buchanan has managed to crack open Widevine L3, one of Google's less secure Widevine DRM implementations used by apps like Netflix and Hulu. Once decrypted, streams using the DRM method can be played back in "plain old ffmpeg" — trivially easily, in other words.
Today the USB-IF, the non-profit behind the USB standard's marketing and specifications, revealed the formal launch of its "USB Type-C™ Authentication Program," originally announced back in 2016. The optional program "defines cryptographic-based authentication for USB Type-C chargers and devices." If that sounds like a thinly veiled euphemism for hardware DRM to you, that's because it is.
Sony has been kind enough to let Xperia device owners unlock their bootloaders for years. That's an option that fewer and fewer OEMs offer, but it comes with some very real drawbacks in Sony's case. Unlocking an Xperia device would clear all DRM keys, thus turning your camera into hot garbage. There's good news, though. It appears that the Android Pie update no longer cripples the camera on unlocked devices.
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), a law passed in the United States over 20 years ago, criminalizes the production of technology intended to circumvent DRM. While most people equate this with pirating movies, the law has also drastically affected the technology repair industry, as more and more manufacturers implement DRM designed to limit repair options. For example, recent Mac computers have a chip which makes certain repairs impossible without Apple-authorized software.
Xiaomi is a huge smartphone maker in many parts of the world, but not in the US. When the company announced its Pocophone sub-brand, there was some hope it could come to American shores. That doesn't appear to be the case, at least not officially. You can already purchase the Pocophone F1 from several US eBay sellers, but there are a few things to know before you do.