OnePlus 5/5T Update Finally Enables HD Streaming, But There’s A Huge Gotcha

OnePlus 5T

OnePlus has built a name for itself by releasing Android phones that offer a high bang-for-buck, and in the process has attracted a modest following. Sacrifices sometimes have to be made to maintain a lower price than the competition, though one unexpected compromise was that the company's OnePlus 5 and OnePlus 5T phones debuted without the ability to stream HD video from a handful of services, including Netflix. OnePlus is rectifying the situation with an update, though it's not something owners can download on their own.

The issue at hand is a digital rights management (DRM) one, and specifically the lack of either phone's ability to reach the L1 security level in Google's Widevine DRM. That's a big deal because Netflix, Amazon, and other streaming video services use Widevine DRM to protect their content. With this type of DRM, all content processing, cryptography, and control is performed in a Trusted Execution Environment (TEE), and the OnePlus 5 and OnePlus 5T simply do not have that ability.

In order to update the OnePlus 5 and OnePlus 5T to support the L1 security level in Google Widevine DRM, OnePlus needs to take possession of the phones, rather than send out an over-the-air (OTA) update.

"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," OnePlus said in a statement.

This is a pretty big inconvenience for owners of affected handsets, though to the company's credit, it is footing the bill for shipping for owners who live in North America, Europe, India, and China. OnePlus also promises a quick turnaround, saying it has a process in place that will get phones back to their owners within "no more than five working days" from the date it's received.