How to Fix “Protected Content License Error” on Roku?

The protected content license error is a reported error of Disney+, mainly on Roku devices/TVs, although, there are some cases where other apps and devices showed a similar error. The license error occurs when a user launches the Disney+ app or tries to watch a movie, show, etc. on Disney+. In some cases, the error was only limited to a particular movie, show, etc. Usually, the following type of error message is shown:

Protected Content License Error

Protected license error means that the app in use like Disney+ “thinks” the media being played is DRM-protected media and anything in your setup (a faulty cable, router misconfiguration, etc.) is not following the app’s requirement of playing the DRM-protected media.

There can be many causes for protected license error but we found the following to be the main factors in many cases:

  • Outdated Firmware of the Streaming Device: If the firmware of the Streaming device (e.g., Roku) is corrupt, then that may not let an app (e.g., Disney+) fully execute its code and cause the protected content error.
  • Auto-Display Refresh Rate of the Streaming Device: If the streaming device tries to auto adjust the refresh rate of the streaming content to match the native refresh rate of the display, then that may be flagged as a recording attempt of the DRM protected content by the app’s DRM-protection mechanism, resulting in the protected license error.
  • Corrupt Firmware of the Streaming Device or Router: If the device or router’s firmware is corrupt, then that may restrict certain operations of the Disney+ modules and it may lead to the error at hand.
  • Interference from the Network Firewall: If a network firewall like PiHole is limiting the communication between Disney+, Roku device, TV, and the servers, then that can cause protected content license error as the app may fail to properly authenticate the contents’ status,

Perform a Cold Restart of the Device, TV, and Router

A temporary communication glitch between your device and Disney servers can cause the protected content license error as certain app modules cannot authenticate the DRM license of the content being played. Here, performing a cold restart of the device and router may clear the protected content license error.

  1. Launch the Settings of the streaming device (like Roku) and select System.
  2. Now open Power and select System Restart.
    Open System Restart in the Roku Settings
  3. Upon restart, launch Disney+ and check if it is operating fine.
  4. If not, power off the streaming device (like Roku) and then power off the TV.
  5. Now unplug the Roku from the TV and unplug the device/TV from the power source.
  6. Then power off the router and unplug its power cord from its power source.
    Unplug Router from the Power Source
  7. Now remove all the network cables from the router and wait for 5 minutes.
  8. Then plug back the router’s power cable. Afterward, connect the Internet cable and ethernet cable that is going to the TV or device.
  9. Now power on the router and wait till the router’s lights are stabilized.
  10. Then plug back the TV’s power cable and power it on.
  11. Now, wait till the TV is properly powered on and successfully connects to the Internet.
  12. Connect back the streaming device to the TV and launch Disney+ to check if the protected content license error is cleared.
  13. If not, check if using a different HDMI cable (preferably, a DRM-compliant cable) to connect the streaming device to the TV solves the problem.
  14. If that did not work, check if connecting the streaming device to another TV port clears the license error.

Update the Firmware of the Streaming Device to the Latest Build

If the firmware of the streaming device like Roku is outdated,  then that may cause Disney+ protected content license error as the device’s incompatibility with the app may not let certain modules of the Disney+ app to load. In this context, updating the firmware of the streaming device to the latest build may fix the protected content license error.

  1. Launch the Roku’s Settings and select System.
  2. Now open System Update and select Check Now.
    Check for Roku Updates
  3. If a Roku’s firmware update is available, let it download and install.
  4. Afterward, restart the Roku device and upon restart, launch the Disney+ app to check if it is clear of the protected content error.

Disable Auto Display Refresh Rate of the Streaming Device

Display refresh rate plays a vital role in the smooth operation of the display’s graphics. You may encounter the protected content license error if the streaming device attempts to auto adjust the refresh rate of the contents (movie, shows, etc.) to match the native refresh rate of the display as it may be flagged as a recording attempt of the DRM-protected content by the app’s anti-piracy mechanism. In this case, disabling the Auto Display Refresh Rate of the streaming device (like Roku) may clear the problem.

  1. Launch the Roku device Settings and open Display Type.
    Open Display Type in the Roku Settings
  2. Now select the 1080P option and then confirm to change the Display Type.
  3. Then head to System in the Roku device Settings and open Advanced System Settings.
    Open System in the Roku Settings
  4. Now select Advanced Display Settings and disable Auto-Adjust Display Refresh Rate.
    Open Advanced Display Settings of Your Roku Device
  5. Then restart your device and upon restart, launch Disney+ to check if it is working fine.
    Set Auto-Adjust Display Refresh Rate to Disabled

Perform a Network Reset of the Streaming Device

If the network-related modules of the streaming device are stuck in an error state and are failing to properly parse the response from the Disney servers, then that may result in the Disney+ license error at hand. In this context, performing a network reset of the streaming device (like Roku) may clear the issue.

  1. Launch the Roku’s Settings and open the System.
  2. Then select Advanced System Settings and click on Network Connection Reset.
    Perform a Network Connection Reset of the Roku Device
  3. Now confirm to reset the network connection of the Roku device and wait till the device automatically reboots after completing the process.
  4. Then re-connect the device to your network and afterward, launch Disney+ to check if its licensing error is cleared.

Disable Hardware Acceleration of the Browser or Device

Hardware acceleration of a browser or device greatly enhances the browser or device performance and makes the execution of heavy tasks (video rendering, etc.) quick & easy. But if the hardware acceleration of the browser or device is not compatible with the Disney+ app or website, then that may break the execution of essential Disney+ (website or app) modules, causing the protected content license error. In such a case, disabling the hardware acceleration of the browser or device may clear the license error. For elucidation, we will discuss the process of disabling the hardware acceleration of the Chrome browser.

  1. Launch the Chrome browser and open its Menu.
  2. Now select Settings and in the left pane of Chrome, expand Advanced.
    Open the Chrome Browser Settings
  3. Then steer to the System tab and in the right pane, disable Use Hardware Acceleration When Available by toggling its switch to the off position.
    Disable Use Hardware Acceleration When Available
  4. Now relaunch Chrome and steer to the Disney+ website to check if it is clear of the protected content error.
  5. If that fails, check if opening the Disney+ website in another browser (like Firefox) clears the error.

Disable IPv6 Protocol of the TV

If the TV is routing its traffic through the IPv6 protocol but the network or router fails to properly pass the IPv6 data packets between the TV and Disney servers, then that may cause a content license error. Here, disabling the IPv6 protocol of the TV may clear the error at hand. For illustration, we will discuss the process of disabling IPv6 for a Samsung TV.

  1. Launch the Samsung TV Settings and head to the General tab.
    Open Network in General in the Samsung TV Settings
  2. Now, in the right pane, select Network, and open Expert Settings.
    Disable IPv6 in the Expert Settings of the Samsung TV
  3. Then, disable the IPv6 protocol by toggling its switch to the off position and afterward, restart the TV.
  4. Upon restart, launch Disney+ and check its protected content license error is cleared.

Reinstall the Disney+ App

You may encounter the protected content license error on Disney+ if the installation of its app is corrupt as the app’s essential modules may fail to execute properly. In this context, reinstalling the Disney+ app may clear the content license error. For illustration, we will discuss the process of reinstalling the Android version of the Disney+ app.

  1. Launch the Settings of your Android device and open Application Manager.
    Open Apps in the Android Phone Settings
  2. Now select Disney+ and tap on Force Stop.
    Open Disney+ in the Installed Apps of Your Phone
  3. Then confirm to Force Stop the Disney+ app and open Storage.
    Force Stop the Disney+ App and Open its Storage Settings
  4. Now press the Clear Cache button and then tap on Clear Storage (or Clear Data).
    Clear Cache and Data of the Disney+ App
  5. Then confirm to clear the data of the Disney+ app and hit the back button.
  6. Now tap on Uninstall and then confirm to uninstall the Disney+ app.
    Uninstall the Disney+ App
  7. Once uninstalled, restart your device, and upon restart, reinstall Disney+ to check if the content licensing error is cleared.

Perform a Factory Reset of the Streaming Device

If the firmware of the streaming device is corrupt to a level that it is not allowing the proper execution of the Disney+ modules, then that may result in a protected content issue under discussion. In this scenario, performing a factory reset of the streaming device may clear the license error. For elucidation, we will discuss the process of resetting a Roku device to its factory defaults. Make sure to note down the essential info like Disney+ username and password, etc.

  1. Open Settings of the Roku device and select System.
  2. Now open Advanced System Settings and click on Factory Reset.
    Factory Reset the Roku Device
  3. Then confirm to reset the Roku device to its defaults and afterward, configure/re-pair the Roku with the TV.
  4. Now install the Disney+ app and then launch it to check if it is clear of the license error.
  5. If not, check if resetting the TV to its factory defaults solves the problem.

Disable the Network Firewall

If the network’s firewall (like PiHole) is limiting the Disney+ traffic in a way that the device or system fails to verify the authenticity of the content being played, then that may result in the protected content license error. Here, disabling the network firewall may clear the error. Many routers have a built-in firewall, whereas, some users have installed a 3rd party firewall. For illustration, we will discuss the process of disabling the PiHole network firewall on a Windows PC.

Warning:

Advance with uttermost care as you may imperil your device, data, or network as disabling the network firewall can be risky at times.

  1. Press the Windows key and type Command Prompt.
    Open Command Prompt as Administrator
  2. Now right-click on the result of Command Prompt and in the sub-menu, select Run as Administrator.
  3. Then execute the following command:
    pihole
  4. Now in the PiHole interface, execute the following:
    pihole disable
  5. Afterward, launch the Disney+ app on the problematic device (like Roku) and check if it is clear of the content license error. If so, then you may exempt the Disney or Roku web addresses in the firewall settings like the following:
    https://plugins.qa.roku.com/

Use the 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi Band of the Router

The 5 GHz band is a fast band but covers a small area but the 2.4 GHz band covers a larger area but is comparatively slow. If the issue is occurring on a 5 GHz band, then weak Wi-Fi signals to a distant device may break the Disney+ app or website’s operation as the essential data packets do not reach the app in time. Moreover, many devices with cheap Wi-Fi cards may also fail to communicate over the 5 GHz channel. In this scenario, disabling the 5 GHz band of the router may clear the license error.

  1. Launch a web browser and head to the web portal of the router.
  2. Now open its Settings and steer to the Wireless section.
  3. Then, in the General tab, unselect 5 GHz and make sure the 2.4 GHz option is enabled.
    Disable 5GHz Band in the Router’s Settings
  4. Now save the changes and restart the router.
  5. Upon restart, launch the Disney+ (or any other affected) app and check if it working fine.

Edit the DNS Settings of the TV

If the ISP’s DNS is failing to translate the Disney+ or Roku-related web addresses in a timely fashion, then that may leave the app’s authentication modules in an error state, leading to the protected content license error. Here, editing the DNS settings of the TV may clear the license error.

  1. Launch the Samsung TV Settings and steer to its Network tab.
  2. Now open Network Status and click on IP Settings.
    Open IP Settings in the Settings of Samsung TV
  3. Then select DNS Server and click on Enter Manually.
    Manually Enter the DNS Values of the Samsung TV
  4. Now enter the following Google DNS value (or any other public DNS of your choice):
    8.8.8.8
    Enter the Values of Google DNS Server in the Samsung TV Settings
  5. Then save the changes and restart the Samsung TV.
  6. Upon restart, launch the Disney+ app and check if the protected license error is cleared.

Reset the Router to the Factory Defaults

If the firmware of the router is corrupt, then it may cause a protected content license error as the router is not able to properly pass the web traffic between your device and Disney+ servers and due to this, the app may fail to parse the damaged/corrupt data packets. In this scenario, resetting the router to the factory defaults may clear the license error. Before moving on, make sure to note down the details required to re-setup the router after reverting it to the factory defaults.

  1. Firstly, try to locate the physical reset button of the router, usually, on the bottom or back of the router.
  2. Now press the Reset button for 30 seconds with a pointy object (like a paperclip) and then release the router’s reset button.
    Reset Your Router to the Factory Defaults
  3. Then wait till the router is properly powered on and its lights are stable.
  4. Now re-setup the router as per the OEM recommendations and then connect the device/TV to the network.
  5. Then launch Disney+ and hopefully, it will be clear of the license error.
Kevin Arrows
Kevin is a dynamic and self-motivated information technology professional, with a Thorough knowledge of all facets pertaining to network infrastructure design, implementation and administration. Superior record of delivering simultaneous large-scale mission critical projects on time and under budget.
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How to Fix “Protected Content License Error” on Roku?

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