OnePlus has had a rather difficult year as far as their public image is concerned. From the privacy mayhem to the security loophole, the Chinese OEM has been unable to escape the troubled waters. Today, we have another issue that will only make situations worse for the company. As it turns out, OnePlus phones are constrained to streaming content on platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video only in standard definition (SD) resolution.
Therefore, currently, users can not play videos in HD quality irrespective of the bandwidth or any settings. The deficiency affects every recent OnePlus phone including the OnePlus 5/5T and OnePlus 3/3T. This is primarily because these smartphones are configured and certified only for the “L3” security level of Googles’ Widevine DRM regulation.
However, most streaming services including Google’s own Play Movies make use of the “L1” certification for streaming at higher resolutions. The main reason behind limiting rich content to higher levels is to protect the copyright holder. As a result, tuning a device to Level 1 restricts all such operations to execute solely in a protected space called the “Trusted Execution Environment” (TEE) which is entirely unavailable on OnePlus’ phones.
A OnePlus spokesperson has confirmed that the feature was skipped from the start on these devices. Although they didn’t mention exactly elaborate on the “why” part of the question. Moreover, OnePlus says it will soon roll out a software update which will add this functionality on the OnePlus 5 and 5T. Interestingly, OnePlus 3 and the 3T were absent in this press release which can ruffle some feathers. What bothers me the most is how no one noticed this before considering the older OnePlus 3 suffers from it as well. We, the reviewers and tech enthusiasts, have failed collectively by not noticing such an obvious thing for so long.