No HD quality when watching Netflix on a smartphone? here’s why

When it comes to streaming movies or TV shows, Netflix is the go-to destination. The service has become so popular that it now has more than 200 million active users worldwide! It’s no surprise then that Netflix on a smartphone is one of the most in-demand services out there. The problem comes when you find out that Netflix on your phone won’t play HD content even when on a premium package due to Widevine digital rights management security levels limitations on your phone.

Widevine is a digital rights management technology from Google used by chromium and firefox web browsers, Android TVs, Android Media DRM, and other consumer electronics. Widevine supports various security encryption to restrict consumer access to distributed video content according to rules defined by content owners.

Netflix has implemented Widevine L1, L2, and L3 DRM technology on their streaming service to ensure that only authorized devices can stream content from Netflix.

In order for Netflix to play content at a high resolution, it must use Widevine L1 DRM technology. This method is the least secure and can be circumvented by hackers and malware. This means that users with Netflix on their phones who want to watch HD videos but lack Widevine L1 will be disappointed because their Netflix app won’t play them in HD. This also applies to streaming services like HBO, Prime video, and Disney plus among others.

If you lack the Widevine L1 certificate on your smartphone then your video quality will be capped at 480p regardless of if you have paid for the premium package. Many manufacturers are now releasing phones that are Widevine L1 certified and an example is the Oppo Reno 7 4G.

To find out the Widevine level of your phone you will just download the DRM INFO app from the Google play store here and run the software which will tell you all the information you need to know about your phone.

Alternatively, you can just open your Netflix App, head over to App settings, scroll down to playback specifications and once you click it, it will show you the Widevine level and your maximum playback resolution as well as supported hardware codecs.

Apart from Widevine limitations, your streaming quality can be affected by poor internet connection. To stream HD content Netflix needs fast and high internet connectivity be it WiFi or mobile data.

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SteveKimathi
SteveKimathi

A tech author since 2019 and a photography enthusiast. Getting the latest tech news daily is always on my checklist. Email any tech tips to teched Africa on info@techedafrica.co.ke

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