NetFlix DRM Error: N8156-6013

Recently I have been having trouble with my NetFlix instant watch service.  On several occasions I get odd DRM errors telling me that the date on my PC is set to (insert current date here) and to check and make sure it’s correct, which it is.  I don’t think I am the only person having this problem because when I fired up trusty ol’ Google, I found lots of other folks complaining about and seeking solutions for NetFlix DRM errors as well.  Not all of them shared my exact error number, but they all sounded faily similar in what was happening.

As I searched, I found a few things to try and although none helped me, some helped other folk so I will list them here anyway.  Finally, the explanation and solution that worked for me actually made a lot of sense once I digested it, and I bet it will help some of you out there as well.  🙂

First, let’s take a look at some other suggestions that helped a few people having DRM problems:

Number 1 –

Start the browser with administrator privileges. To do this you can right click on the icon and choose “Run as Administrator” from the menu that pops up.  This should setup the Microsoft PlayReady file (“mspr.hds”) properly, and thus allow you to watch your NetFlix shows, even when you close and re-open the browser with normal use privileges.

Number 2 –

Uninstall and re-install the Microsoft Silverlight plugin/software that NetFlix uses to stream their content.  Also, make sure that it is up to date via Windows Update.  For that matter, it’s a good idea to make sure all necessary updates have been installed on your PC, not just Silverlight.

Number 3 –

Find the Microsoft PlayReady file and then delete or rename it.  It’s normal location (for Vista and Windows 7) is

C:\Users\All Users\Application Data\Microsoft\PlayReady\mspr.hds

and for Windows XP and below it usually is

C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Microsoft\PlayReady\mspr.hds

Deleting this file will reset any media that you have purchased and therefore has been assigned to your computer. It is possible to lose the right to play your purchased media if you delete this file, so first thing you should do is back up the file, make a copy of it and put it in a safe place.  Then you can delete or rename without fear.

OK.  Now those options might help you, and if so, that’s great.  However, if you are like me and they don’t, there is one more thing I can recommend, and I bet this will help.  It stems from a problem with the latest release of Microsoft Silverlight, which is version 4 at the time of this article.  All of the NetFlix code was written for Silverlight version 3 or at least it was written and released when version 3 was current.  Now that version 4 of Silverlight is out, there are a number of compatibility issues between 4 and going backwards to 3, at least with NetFlix if not others.  Frankly, I haven’t worried about other sites, the only Silverlight based site that I use on a regular basis is NetFlix 🙂

What does this mean, you ask?  Well, for me it meant that when I checked into it, I had both version 3 and version 4 of Silverlight installed, and that darned old version 4 was the culprit.  My plan initially was to remove all Silverlight related software, including a couple SDK installs that I found, and then just install version three and see how it went.  However, after removing version 4 of Silverlight and the version 3 and 4 SDK I decided to test it.  Bingo bango, it worked like a charm, so I left it alone from there.

Let me summarize into a short version of my recommended solution.  The problem is most likely related to multiple versions of Silverlight on your machine, especially versions 3 and 4.  In my case, I removed everything related to Silverlight version 4 (they probably got installed via Windows Update as far as I can tell), so that you are left with only Silverlight version 3 (and possibly lower).  Then test it and see if it works.  If not, reboot and double check what is installed, then try again.  I am betting this will fix the problem from what I have read about Silverlight version 4 and how NetFlix doesn’t play nicely with it.  For the record, I am running Windows 7, 64bit if anyone is curious.

Hope that helps, good luck!

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