OnePlus' phones are a great value, but they've each individually had a few drawbacks. One negative they all had in common, though, was a DRM deficiency. None of the company's handsets supported the correct Widevine level required for HD playback in Netflix. Distress on the subject came to a head late last year, and OnePlus surprisingly announced that it would add the feature in the future. In a comment on OnePlus' forums today the company confirmed that it was now able to update handsets to support it, but the process will require that you physically send the phone back to OnePlus for the update.
The deficiency stems from OnePlus' failure to perform the steps required to reach the L1 security level in Google's Widevine DRM, which is required by Netflix for HD playback. According to OnePlus, the update that adds L1 support has to be delivered by a physical connection from an authenticated PC. As a result, whatever "security processes" are involved preclude the use of our own computers to do the job, so OnePlus is asking customers who want the feature to be enabled to send their OnePlus 5 or 5T back in.
The full statement provided by David Y, community manager for OnePlus, is just below:
Hi everyone, if you were celebrating Chinese New Year, we hope you had a good holiday. And if you weren’t, we hope you enjoyed it anyway.
We have good news for you on this, we’ve just rolled out a program to update OnePlus 5 and OnePlus 5T handsets. Due to the security processes involved with updating the devices, we can only deliver the update via a physical connection from an authenticated PC. If you are interested in this update, please contact our CS team for more information.
We’re covering the courier costs for OnePlus 5 and OnePlus 5T customers who would like the update, as you will need to send your device to us to update. We have a process in place which means we’ll have your handset back to you in no more than five working days from when we receive it. We’ve worked hard to streamline this process as much as possible, and because of this we’re unable to cover the courier costs for customers outside of our service regions, which are North America, Europe, India, and China.
Thankfully the company is at least paying for shipping, but only if you live in one of its "service regions." It's a bit ridiculous that customers will have to go to these lengths just to watch Stranger Things in HD on their phone, but the Widevine DRM actually requires that the secure components be "installed in the factory or delivered to the device using an approved secure delivery mechanism." (Thanks, Kamran Mackey) Copyrights do have a habit of making things overly complicated and difficult for consumers.
Whatever the cause, at least OnePlus is fixing its prior oversight, at least for its two most recent handsets. If you'd like to get HD playback for Netflix on your OnePlus 5 or 5T, contact OnePlus' customer support to make the necessary arrangements. We've reached out to OnePlus for comment and additional information, and we'll update this post if we hear back.
- OnePlus Forums