Netflix “Watch Now” and error C00D11B1

I’m not going to bother listing off all the different threads and websites discussing said problem. You can use Google or any other search engine to find hundreds upon hundreds of reports, most with no solution. (I say most because some folks ran into this when trying to play Netflix films on their TV, thus were running into HDCP DRM issues). In my case, I’m watching Netflix movies on my PC — absolutely nothing fancy.

For months now I’ve been seeing said error, but in an odd fashion. Reinstalling XP seemed to solve it, until some “random point” in time when it would just stop working again. Naturally I thought “It must be some software I’m installing or some update I’m applying”, so I spent a few hours today trying to track it down. Things I tried to no avail:

  • Using Netflix’s RESETDRM.EXE utility
  • Uninstalling every piece of software I had installed (this took quite some time!)
  • Downgrading to Windows Media Player 10 (which doesn’t work anyways, because Netflix will then tell you that you NEED to upgrade to WMP11 to watch their movies)
  • Upgrading my nVidia video drivers (for a 7950GT) to the latest beta
  • Tinkering with Creative’s sound drivers for the XtremeGamer (tried latest beta, etc.)

I was about to give up until I came across this post, which I’m very glad I read slowly and in full:

The following paragraph caught my eye:

The tech has me adjust some Windows Media player display settings to disable the video mixing render (he knows exactly where to send me) and then we try again. Boom! I get a new error message – this time is C00D11B1.

The option referred to is in Windows Media Player 11, under Tools → Options → Performance → Video Acceleration (Advanced button) → Use video mixing renderer checkbox.

The reason it caught my eye: I uncheck said box because I watch/stream Japanese TV shows to a friend of mine in Michigan. We watch a couple shows a week together. The desktop capture driver I use, VHScrCap, cannot capture video when it’s being played in Overlay mode (understandable). So, rather than unchecking “Use overlays” (which is really what I should’ve been doing), I’ve been unchecking “Use video mixing renderer”.

Sure enough, this is what was causing me to get error C00D11B1 from Netflix/Windows Media Player’s DRM!

All I did was turn on “Use video mixing renderer” and instead uncheck “Use overlays” – voila, problem gone.

Bottom line: if you uncheck “Use video mixing renderer”, you break DRM in some bizarre way. Do I consider this a bug? Not really. However, Microsoft would do well to explain that the “Use video mixing renderer” option actually disables other stuff than what’s implied via the UI options.