07 May 2021
Some Pixel phone owners are facing issues when streaming Netflix content in HD. According to what they have complained via Reddit, their Pixel phones can’t stream Netflix content in High Definition and the quality is now rather capped at 540p.
It is found that the issue is happening due to the lack of Widevine L1 support, a widely-used DRM (Digital Rights Management) technology that is required to watch content in HD from streaming services like Netflix.
It is believed that post an update, the Widevine L1 got downgraded to Widewine L3, the lowest-supported option. So, Netflix is only seeing the L3 support and hence playing in the lower setting. Some users believe this is happening post the April 2021 update and some believe it’s been happening since February. According to 9to5Google, the problem is there since at least the February security patch but gained traction after the April update.
So, it is currently unclear when this problem actually arrived but at least the root cause is known.
There is no temporary solution available to this issue yet. But we believe that Google will soon offer an update to allow users to stream Netflix in HD once again. Just in case you are thinking to do a factory reset, you should know that many users have already done it to no avail.
Reportedly, those who contacted Google Support are just told to file a bug report.
In case you want to check out which Widewine Netflix app installed on your device is supporting then head over to the app and from the bottom right corner, tap More, and click App Settings. Scroll to the bottom and tap Playback Specification. Next to Widevine, you will see either L1 or L3. Netflix clearly tells in this quick guide “If you see L3, you'll need to contact your device manufacturer to determine if your device supports Widevine L1. Widevine L3 devices can only play Netflix in SD."