Some Google Pixel Phones Stuck With SD Netflix, Widevine L3

Netflix and many other video streaming apps use Google-owned Widevine DRM to ensure content is not easily hacked on Android. An issue from the last few months makes some Google Pixel phones unable to stream Netflix in HD quality due to Widevine L3 being detected

Widevine L1 is required to watch Netflix in high resolution on Android. If Netflix only watches L3, you can still stream, but only in standard definition. To check, visit Application Settings> Playback Specification.

A handful of Pixel 5 (and earlier) users since at least the February security patch have been stuck on Widevine L3. This is even when Netflix lists all Pixel phones as supporting HD content, in addition to HDR10. The end result is a blurrier stream and not being able to get the most out of subscriptions.

This issue gained traction after yesterday’s April security patch. There are a couple of threads voted on on Reddit and a post on the Pixel Phone Help Forum. It’s unclear if that update exacerbated the issue or if those facing the issue only noticed it. That being said, most Pixel owners still have Widevine L1.

Those who contact Google support are required to file a bug report, and the company is apparently aware of the problem, but does not have a solution yet if they are still looking for examples. Meanwhile, some affected users say they have factory reset and displayed factory images to no avail. Hopefully an OTA update can fix this Widevine L3 problem for Pixel devices.

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