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The OnePlus 5 and 5T can finally stream HD content, but things aren't that simple
- OnePlus announced an update that will enable HD-resolution video streaming on the OnePlus 5 and 5T.
- Unfortunately, you must send your device to OnePlus to have the update installed.
- This is because of how Google’s Widevine DRM system, specifically Widevine Level 1 encryption, works.
For all the talk around the OnePlus 5 and 5T, neither “flagship killer” could stream video in HD from popular streaming services. OnePlus finally rectified this glaring oversight, but you need to give up your phone for a few days.
According to OnePlus community manager David Y., the update only works with a physical connection from an authenticated computer. Because these computers are presumably in OnePlus’ offices, OnePlus 5 and 5T owners must send their devices to the company to get the update.
OnePlus promised to return your device within five days and that it streamlined the process as much as possible. The company will also cover the cost of shipping.
The process is consistent with how to enable Widevine Level 1, the most secure level of Google’s Widevine DRM system. Widevine Level 1 encryption requires a hardware encryption key to be installed directly from either the factory or secure PCs. You cannot enable Widevine Level 1 encryption with a software update or by sideloading a ROM.
Even so, OnePlus could have avoided all of this if the OnePlus 5 and 5T supported Widevine Level 1 in the first place.
Streaming services like Google Play Movies, Netflix, and Amazon Video use the Widevine DRM system to protect copyright material. We unfortunatelylearned that the OnePlus 5 and 5T do not support Widevine Level 1. The lack of support prevents the phones from streaming video content in HD resolution, but thanks to support for Widevine Level 3, standard-quality video streaming was still a go.
Making matters worse, the issue also affects the OnePlus 3 and 3T. OnePlus did not say whether its 2016 flagships will get the same update, but seeing how both phones are quickly nearing end-of-life status, do not hold your breath.
We also do not know if the update will be on every OnePlus 5T that will leave the factory from today onward. Android Authority reached out to OnePlus for additional information and will update this post accordingly.