Pixel 5 owners are reportedly experiencing an issue with Google’s Widevine DRM platform, causing Netflix to playback videos only in standard definition (SD) instead of high-definition (HD) with HDR10.
Google says that it’s aware of the issues and that it’s working on a firmware fix, says The Verge. Unfortunately, it’s unclear when the patch will be released since Google still needs to test and verify the update before it can be pushed out.
According to The Verge, though the issue isn’t widespread, it causes devices that have the bug to downgrade to Widevine L3 status instead of the L1 that allows for HD and HDR playback Netflix. 9to5Google suggests that the recent April security update causes this problem, but that’s unconfirmed.
Widevine is proprietary digital rights management (DRM) technology developed by Google and used by Chrome and Firefox web browsers. The technology is also utilized by various premium video streaming services, including Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+ and Google Play Movies.
Widevine protects its content across three levels of security called L3, L2, and L1. Android devices only use L1 and L3. According to Android Authority, to meet L1 standards, all content processing, cryptography and control must be performed in the Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) of the handset’s processor, preventing external tampering and the copying of media files. On the other hand, L3 devices don’t offer any content processing or cryptography operations in the chipset’s TEE section.
To ensure that HD, HDR, and 4K versions of movies and shows don’t get stolen, companies only use the L1 security on devices. It’s unclear when Google will fix this issue.