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Netflix being REALLY weird

Last night, I started to watch a Korean drama about an autistic attorney. It was too late at night, so I didn't really get anything other than whales. And some more whales.

So I had a try of the new Resident Evil series, but after a few minutes it would seem that the picture froze while the sound continued. This happened randomly, but quite often.

Okay, so maybe there's a problem with bandwidth and Netflix is being a bit too lame to properly buffer it?

So I started to watch episode three of Boo, bitch, which I had previously downloaded.

Which, after a couple of minutes, threw up this:

Netflix: Device failure 500.-116
Netflix: Device failure 500.-116.

Netflix themselves don't specifically mention error code 500-116 as far as I could tell, and doing a Google search just found many many clickbait sites that say useless crap like "reinstall the app" while attempting to show many adverts.

While I generally don't have many problems with Netflix, sometimes it seems the app can get its knickers in a twist over downloaded content. Clearing the cache data can help fix that. So I tried, and the app crashed.

Upon restarting the app, all I saw was the intro screen. Nothing else. I left it for a minute, then switched to Prime Video which worked fine (so not a connection issue).

Clear the data, all of it. This also force closes the app.
Still wouldn't start.

Reboot phone. Netflix starts. I cannot download anything as I have downloads on another device and I only have the rights to download on one. This is a bit dumb of Netflix, but fair enough. I go to my account and wipe the non-existant downloads, and all is good.

...until a minute into playing a video, Device error 500.-116 and the app dies.

Rinse and repeat.

This time, I delete the app and reinstall it. Netflix kindly sends me another email to say my account is being used on a new device.

Barely got into the video and... 500.-116 and back to the home screen.

So now I delete the app, reboot, refresh the WideVine certificate (which for some reason is buried in the fingerprint authentication settings), then reinstall the app.

It throws a 500.-116 when I'm not actually watching anything (so no force close), and does manage to download episode three. It's late, so I went to bed.

This morning, I got up early to set up the fan to bring in cold air again. As I did that and made a tea, I left Netflix playing... what was it, Letterman talking to Something-something-Dreyfuss? I think she used to be in Seinfeld? I don't know, I wasn't actually paying any attention other than noting that it played okay for the ten minutes it was on.

Just now, I watched about ten minutes of Boo, bitch that was downloaded. Again, no glitching.


So, there are two possibilities.

The first is that, last night, Netflix lost its marbles and was sending bogus data that was - possibly - crashing the DRM module in the phone. I say this because Netflix would not start without power cycling the phone. Even if uninstalling and reinstalling the app.
While it is the simplest explanation, I don't think it's necessarily correct as if it was doing this, I'm sure I would have heard about it online.

Which leads to the weird option. Last night I perched the fan down by my legs pointing up towards me, much closer than I had it the day before. It's just possible that some sort of electromagnetic field from the motor was messing with the phone. It may be that the picture freezes were the DRM glitching, while the DRM module falling over would be what Netflix interpreted as a device failure.


However, Netflix need to make a few little changes to their app:

  • Whatever it is that needs done at startup should be error checked and given a timeout. To freeze at the "Netflix" intro screen is lame.
  • It might be nice to have some short explanatory text to accompany error codes. "Device failure" is not useful when to the user it appears that things are actually fine and other streaming apps work. It doesn't need to be long, something like: Device failure occurred (500.-116 DRM module problem)" is enough to give the user a clue as to what's going wrong.
    Don't automatically say "Please try again" because this problem was not fixable without power cycling the device.
  • Do you not keep track of hardware IDs of what devices your app is installed upon? It just seems utterly bizarre that Netflix probably thinks I installed the app and tried to download on four or five different devices yesterday.
    Nope, it was my Mi 10T each and every time.
  • It really defies belief that the company that keeps track of every user interaction (seriously, ask for a copy of your data and read the scary detail - if you ever hit back 10s to rewatch a sexy part, it will have been noted) seems unable to tell one device from another.

Note - if the "you have downloads on another device" problem happens to you, it's easy to resolve. Tap on your profile icon at the top right. Tap on "Account". Scroll down, then select "Manage download devices". Then you will see a list of devices with downloads, and you can choose to remove a device (invalidating those downloads).


Either way, I didn't get to watch much last night, just yet another example of tech-induced stress. ☺


Oh, and note that it is useless backing up the Netflix apk file. If you try to revert to an older version, it will report that some important things are missing and that it needs to be downloaded from Google Play which, as you know, maintains no history nor way of reverting.


Stupid money still up for grabs

It's rolled over yet again. Amazingly, with only five numbers and two stars to match, and the (I would imagine) vast numbers of people playing, there still has been no claimant of the €230,000,000 jackpot.
The second place winners, who would usually get around two hundred thousand for 5+1, received nearly two million.

I won €13,70, which was €3,80 for two numbers and €9,90 for three numbers and a star.
So it's back to work on Monday, then... ;)



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David Pilling, 17th July 2022, 13:15
"Try again later" is a great error message. I've had it on what turns out to be fixed unchanging errors. I wonder if people sit for years trying again.  
Obviously when it says "try again later", I do try again (seconds later), and again, and again, and then I ring customer service. 
When I were a programmer, "try again later" was not available as a catch all error message. 
Special mention for the bank website which demanded a card (which had not been issued) and customer support person #1 who told me it had been issued and I could find it if I looked hard enough. 
Mick, 18th July 2022, 04:23
I'm have to admit that I do deliberately put 'try again later' on one or two pages when the connexion comes from an unexpected url or one with no referrer. A deliberate ploy to stop dumb rogue bots. For the most part it is a bad idea.  
I have noticed that some companies do this when you do enter the proper way. For the example a friend asked me to log into his Plusnet account to sign him up for a new deal. You know how it is. £38 outside of a contract £18.99 when in one. Loyal customers are ripped off. Anyway, he got the try again later message as did I. A day later after the same bull message I deleted all plusnet cookies and what do you know, got straight in. Annoying that the cookies they created in the past break their system and moreso that they can't be bothered to report that cookies are the problem.  

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