OpenDNS interferes with SmartTV access to NetFlix
My apologies if this topic is covered here. My searches using the forum search engine did not return specific relevant info.
I have had been using my annual subscription OpenDNS account for a number of years, occasionally run into a snag that is easily cleared. I have been using NetFlix streaming with no issue all those years, on a Tivo and a Samsung BluRay player.
Just purchased a 2014 model Samsung SmartTV. Its Netflix app complains when I try to stream any title, and says: "We're having trouble playing this file right now. Please try again later or select a different file".
Went through a ton of dead end Google leads. Called Netflix, they checked it out and after about 20 minutes said 'your Netflix app' on the Samsung TV is out of date and needs to be updated, and Samsung will have to help you do that.
Called Samsung, they ran through a few things with me, and came up empty till... we edited the network settings to manually select DNS. They wanted to point it to Google at 22.214.171.124. Okay for tests... I'm okay with that.
That DNS change allowed Netflix to work correctly. Hmmm... put netflix.com in my 'always allowed', waited a good 15 minutes, reset the dhcp dns pointer, and Netflix was broken again. Put dns back to 126.96.36.199 and all is fine again.
Any thoughts about what else I may need to adjust in my content filters here on OpenDNS?
Without knowing how your filters are setup it's impossible to tell you what to change. At a guess I'd say that your settings are blocking a CDN that Netflix is using to distribute their content.
All I can do is recommend checking your stats to see what domains are being blocked, you might be able to identify something to whitelist from that.
You could also try either removing all of your blocked categories and adding them back one by one till you find the one (or ones) that are blocking your Netflix traffic, or take it from the opposite direction and remove blocks one by one till you find the one that allows the traffic through. Once you've identified the category you could restore everything else and leave that category unblocked, or look closer at your stats with that category in mind and find whatever it is that you need to whitelist.
Check your blocked domains at https://dashboard.opendns.com/stats/all/blockeddomains and whitelist those domains related to the service you're having trouble with.
Then you must have blocked at least one of the categories Movies, Radio, Video Sharing, Television, Software/Technology, Music, Content Delivery Networks, else there was no need to whitelist it.
"I don't know. I paid $19 to block a more domains."
Then it looks like you already have OpenDNS VIP which costs $19.95/year. So you can enable whitelist-only mode and add the domains you want to allow to your 50 entries of the "never block" list.
"it seems to take opendns 24hrs to update the traffic data."
No, it takes 1-3 hours. You may not have set your time zone correctly:
Good, then your blocked domains list at https://dashboard.opendns.com/stats/all/blockeddomains should be totally empty (except from your YouTube experiment).
To find out what the problem is, one would need to know the domain names being used by the Netflix app to investigate further. E.g. to see if and why OpenDNS doesn't resolve these domain names. They use so many domain names and CDNs...
No matter, these domains relating to Netflix should be listed under https://dashboard.opendns.com/stats/all/topdomains somewhere.
If you don't have success with resolving your problem, best would be to open a support ticket, so that OpenDNS staff can look into it.
Thanks for the quick feedback. Thank you for the suggestions. I suppose my frustration is that 2 other devices behind my router can function just fine with NetFlix. It is uniquely the new Samsung SmartTV that refuses to cooperate. Several thoughts, one is the Netflix app version are in fact different, and perhaps that the SmartTV is UHD, and points to NetFlix remote storage the other devices do not. I am culling through my blocks and looking for hits that are the same from yesterday and today. I will dig and see what I can find and post back.
Yes, little doubt this was the issue since switching DNS pointers would 'heal' NetFlix. Removed 9 filters in my setup, taking the large cut approach first. Basically if the filter sounded like something a NetFlix movie might contain, I unselected it. Will put the filters back momentarily, and I have since setup the Samsung SmartTV to point to my ISP's tertiary DNS server and all is fine. A remaining unknown is why NetFlix only failed on the SmartTV app inside the Samsung app collective, but not on TIvo's version or my Samsung BluRay. I'll chalk it up to a much newer version on the Samsung SmartTV, and perhaps that this box does seek UHD/4K content. Gerry-
You'd have to know what the app is doing network traffic wise and what domains it is looking up to know for sure. Odds are it's going to a CDN that is blocked by your settings or some obscure domain that is directly owned by Netflix. Since the interfaces on SmartTV's are generally so opaque, other than some sort of packet sniffing on your network you'll have to check your OpenDNS stats.
As an aside, after working support at a large video company I came to the conclusion that SmartTV's are pretty dumb, and paying extra money for the "smart" features is just a waste of money. You're better off buying a "dumb TV" with the same picture quality, and either pocketing the savings, or getting a device such as a Roku, Xbox, Playsation, or something else to play your video to what is essentially just a display monitor. We had some issues with the apps on SmartTV's that never could be resolved because we were entirely dependent on the app's built into the TV and couldn't work around them.
I'm having the exact same issue. Wii, Wii-U, android phone and iPad all work with OpenDNS, but Samsung smart TV, no dice.
I've been on to Netflix, Samsung and my ISP, all of whom gave me the brush off and blamed each other.
Samsung support did confirm that their Netflix traffic went to an non standard server(s) but would not give me an ip or ip range.
The level of detail offered by OpenDNS is not high enough to get a specific ip accessed at a specific time (at least to the best of my efforts, please correct me if I'm wrong).
I've looked at the log and logging on my home router and have the same issue of not enough detail.
So if you've found which checkbox it is on OpenDNS or the specific domain/ip please let me know.
I'm going to look at an old DDWRT router I have and see if I can track what it's trying to access with that. I'll let you know how I get on.
It doesn't matter what IP range Netflix is using if you are trying to resolve an issue with OpenDNS. OpenDNS only deals with DNS and DNS lookups, and you can only blacklist or whitelist domains or categories of domains, not IP address addresses.
If you want to continue using Netflix on the SmartTV you will (as rotblitz) said, need to look in your blocked domain stats to find out what DOMAINS are being blocked, and work with that information. If you are using the free service you won't be able to get time information, just domain information.
Hi, sorry for the delay in getting back. Unblocking "services.wmdrm.windowsmedia.com" worked for me. I've looked up the Whois of "windowsmedia.com" and it does appear to be a Microsoft owned domain name. I suspect that it might have something to do with the sliverlight plugin. Anyway unblock "services.wmdrm.windowsmedia.com". Hope it works for others.
I don't know. I paid $19 to block a more domains. Anyway the hard part was trying to figure out which blocked domain was associated with the Netflix service as I have a busy house of internet traffic and it seems to take opendns 24hrs to update the traffic data. Still working now thanks.
My 'simple' response here is that I have tried watching my logs for any offending domains or specific services. My observations have concluded limited facts, but one is that this failure with Netflix can be version dependent. My Samsung 'Smart TV' Netflix may fail to connect with my existing settings on OpenDNS, but if I switch over to my Tivo Premier which is running an older Netflix version, the same selection that fails on my Samsung will play without issue on my Tivo. It apparently is related in some manner to DNS lookups, and my workaround for now? Put my Samsung on a static IP pointing to just a single DNS server operated by my local ISP ( Cox Hampton Roads ).
Samsung Tech Support back in Feb 2015 'fixed' my Smart TV they thought... by pointing their app to Google's DNS at 188.8.131.52. That 'fix' did not last more than a few weeks before I had the same problem. So take what you will from that info.
I still suspect that Netflix has some issue with their DNS advertising, not the lookups from my ISP, OpenDNS, Google or anyone else. Just my humble and small opinion..
I am having this same problem with my FireTV. I switched my router's DNS to OpenDNS. I have OpenDNS set with NO filtering, NO blacklist, and all security settings disabled. Should work exactly the same as regular DNS right?
Well, the Netflix app says it cannot find any Netflix servers and cannot even verify that there's an internet connection.
As soon as I switch the DNS back to my ISP (Comcast), the app works just fine. Switch back to OpenDNS, app stops working completely.
"I have OpenDNS set with NO filtering, NO blacklist, and all security settings disabled."
But this is in effect only, if your correct IP address is registered with your network at https://dashboard.opendns.com/settings/
Else you may be using someone else's settings.
"Should work exactly the same as regular DNS right?" - In principle, yes.
Has anyone been able to resolve this issue and get Netflix to work on a 2014 Samsung Smart TV while using OpenDNS? I have spent hours talking to Samsung, Netflix, my internet provider and my router company-- all to no avail. I still can't use Netflix with OpenDNS operating. It is only my Samsung Smart TV that has an issue. I can use Netflix fine on the older tv in my bedroom.
We discovered today that we can ignore the netflix app on our 2014 Samsung Smart (stupid) TV and access Netflix by using a blue-ray DVD player with internet access. Netflix worked great going through the dvd player and onto the TV! So, apparently there is a problem with the Netflix app on the 2014 Samsung Smart TVs not being compatible with OpenDNS. I spent at least 6 hours on the phone with all the equipment providers trying to solve this. UGH! My husband thought of trying the DVD Player. Brilliant!! Hope this helps someone.
Apps on smartphones, tablets, smartTV's and many other devices can deliver similar functionality but behind the scenes be programmed very differently, including hard-code domain names that may vary by app or device. Generally support techs do not know what domain names are hard-coded into the apps, and it's unlikely that anyone on here is going to have the same configuration of hardware, software, and firmware that you are using who would also know what domains are being accessed. Therefore, as has been said several times in this thread already, what you need to do is looking at what your own OpenDNS settings are, including categories and domains blocked, as well as what domains are blocked in your stats. For a service such as Netflix it's very likely that a CDN is being accessed, so it's possibly that you'll have to work through a chain of domain names, whitelisting each of them in turn until you get everything approved, or removing the blocking for a category that is causing many of your issues.
Instead of spending all that time on the phone with providers why didn't you just follow the advice listed in this and similar threads here in this forum to solve the issue instead of sidestepping it?
I had the same issue and it seems that when I unchecked the Video Sharing box, waited the 3 minutes and the servers caught up Netflix works again, I then just added domains to block since I only wanted a few blocked anyway. It was frustrating, but Video Sharing checked on a Samsung TV and Netflix will not work, uncheck wait 3 minutes and bingo working again.
Weird, Netflix is not categorized as Video Sharing, but as Movies. https://domain.opendns.com/netflix.com
Did you mean this category instead?
I had the same problem on my Samsung Curve Smart TV, it was quickly fixed by netflix by telling me to change the Eco Solution, go go System then Eco Solution and finally to Energy Saving and Disable the option, it makes the tv take a bit more to turn on but I have not had the problem resuming the shows or starting new ones like I had before with the error "We're having trouble playing this file right now. Please try again later or select a different file".
Hope it works for you
As the original poster in this thread, my setup has always had Energy Saving = disabled yet I still occasionally receive similar error messages. The error went fairly dormant for a while and is not as prolific as it once was. But what I have noticed is when it does occur the NetFlix app reloads and then operates correctly the very next time and all continues without further errors. I have my setup network manually configured and point the lookups to 184.108.40.206. We also stream from Amazon and YouTube and have no issues.
Interesting gargantubrain. I have had these same to categories checked, however I've not experienced this same failure mode in a few months. The failure mode I see now (Samsung curved 65) is that Netflix will acknowledge there is some problem, but that is only evidenced by a completely automatic reload of itself without any action by me. Then Netflix works. Every time. This is better than back when I first started this thread but still annoying. I believe it is the Netflix app as it is being run on this series of a Samsung box. I have a Tivo with Netflix, its network is configured the same way and using OpenDNS for lookups. I have never had anything other than seamless Netflix on the Tivo. So I am hesitant to say this is any issue with DNS since my Tivo has never experienced any issues with Netflix. WTH?
Confirmed, my 32" and 40" Samsung SmartTV both worked fine in Netflix when I tested them yesterday. My 32" has the old style remote, the 40" has the new smart remote with a Home button, so AFAIK my 4K 40" is running the same apps as your curved 65.
So while it sucks it can't help block more Adware and Web Spam, at least it can help keep meatspin popping up on the kids' tablets.
For anyone trying to figure out why their own Netflix is having issues, here is the complete list of categories I have blocked. Note that I also added services.wmdrm.windowsmedia.com to "Never Block" as mentioned by "SonicConor" earlier in this thread.
Academic Fraud, Alcohol, Drugs, Lingerie/Bikini, Sexuality, Hate/Discrimination, Tasteless, Dating, German Youth Protection, Nudity, Pornography
"I also added services.wmdrm.windowsmedia.com to "Never Block" as mentioned by "SonicConor" earlier in this thread."
Why did you do it? Was it being blocked by your OpenDNS settings? As I said above already, with the categories blocked by you it should not be needed to whitelist this one.
Also, you do not need to unblock Adware and Web Spam. You only indentify the domains being used from your blocked domains stats and whitelist only those being used by Netflix.
Honestly just because I haven't spent more than a few minutes on it. I put the DNS entries in my router, tested NetFlix, found it wasn't working, googled this thread, put the never block entry in, didn't fix NetFlix, unckecked the Adware and Web Spam categories, NetFlix worked, posted here.
I really do appreciate your input, I hope I didn't give any impression to the contrary. When I have more time, if I'm understanding correctly, I should go ahead and check the Adware and Web Spam boxes again, then try NetFlix on all my devices, then go review my Stats for Requests that were Blocked, and "Never Block" those... Repeat until NetFlix works again. In that way I keep the benefit of blocking more junk without breaking NetFlix.
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