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Your shiny new OnePlus 5T can't stream HD videos

Our phones are capable of more than ever before nowadays, and because of this, there are some things we no longer have to think about as we just expect it to work. Pretty much every phone from the past few years has been able to stream HD videos without a hitch, but for whatever reason, the all-new OnePlus 5T is currently unable to do this.

In order to stream videos in HD from the likes of Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Video, etc., phones need to support something called Widevine Level 1 DRM. As some users on OnePlus's forums have noted, the 5T only supports Widevine Level 3 which is capable of just SD video streams.

What's even more peculiar is that The Verge has tested and confirmed that this is an issue that also plagues the original OnePlus 5 that was released this past summer.

OnePlus says that a software update will be available in the future for the 5T that'll enable support for Widevine Level 1, but the company has failed to state why in the world this is something that wasn't supported out of the box.

We wouldn't necessarily deem this as a reason return or not purchase a 5T seeing as how it's a fix is on the way, but it's just mind-boggling as to why this is an issue in the first place.

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.

54 Comments
  • What's mind-boggling to me is why people want to watch videos like movies and TV on their phone instead of on a monitor or real TV. I watch some Youtube videos on my phone (in portrait mode, where the video is tiny and resolution doesn't really matter). But that's about it. Watching a movie on my phone would be like going to the theater to see a movie on a 40" TV screen.
  • What's mind-boggling to me is why you can't imagine real scenarios where one would want to watch a movie on their phone.
  • It's true. I can't imagine real scenarios where one would want to watch a movie on a phone. My wife does it, and I don't understand how she can enjoy that when she has a perfectly good 10" tablet and real TV.
  • Yet, even without your understanding, she enjoys it. The problem isn't her, or other people, it's you thinking that the use case has to make sense to you for it to be a problem for other people.
  • Well, duh. That's what I said. What's mind-boggling TO ME.
  • Do you actually know what it means to be mind-boggled? I think you're trying to say that you don't like watching video content (like movies) on your phone, it's not for you, and that choice for you is fine. It also seems like you look down on people who like watching videos on their phone. One of the great things about modern phones is that they can do this, play videos... If you're getting a smart phone and not using the feature that's your choice. I also don't like using maps, but when I have to, I find my phone very convenient. I love that feature, and I understand why people use it. Sometimes it's the way you say things.
  • Well, I am at work, and it's getting slow around this time,.. and the company blocks streaming sites. Catching up on some Flix at my desk, on my phone :D
  • A) it's more convenient when you're already on your phone and B) I'm not a huge fan of mobile (I have a projector and a 17" laptop I'd rather watch on) but my phone (OnePlus 5T) is really my only option when it comes to streaming, as I have no fixed internet access at my house and my phone plan (T-Mobile ONE+) includes only 10GB of full speed hotspot data, which goes reallllly fast when streaming video on other platforms. Not bashing T-Mobile or OnePlus here, I have both and love both, but as I just stated it's my only option.
  • I can imagine a real scenario where I'd want to watch a movie on my phone. What I can't imagine is that (even with my phones QHD display) I'd care - or even be able to tell - if it was streaming in HD or not. My eyes aren't that good, I guess...
  • You clearly don't use public transportation.
  • I was going to say this. Given no choice, your phone is the only option. If I'm at my house, it's straight to a Chromecast or a computer.
  • I wouldn't watch a movie at all on public transportation. Total waste of time, and I don't see how it could be enjoyable to watch on a phone no matter where you are.
  • Your comments are a total waste of time. For some reason I read them. Guess I have time to waste.
  • What else would you be doing sitting there that isn't a waste of time?
  • Giving Boeatshi any energy is a waste. He constantly stirs the pot to get responses. Ignore him and move on.
  • +1
  • Music, podcasts and audio books I'd agree with. But I prefer to remain slightly aware when using public transport. It's also just true that watching a film on a phone offers a pretty ****** experience. Generally if i care so little about a film that I'm willing to suffer it on a phone, it's not worth watching at all But, everybody's different.
  • I watch Ishtar everyday on my phone.
  • The Mesopotamian goddess? Is she aware? Well, how could she not be, I suppose... She is a goddess.
  • That's mind boggling? Lmao this guy is a ****
  • Well reasoned, intelligent counter point. Your parents and teachers should be proud.
  • I don't watch movies on my phone too as I don't find it enjoyable especially watching on public but most people do but I'm not gonna wonder or judge them on why they do.
  • What's boggling to me is the pass you give them on this. If this article was exactly the same issue but about the pixel you'd be losing you **** screaming bloody murder.
  • Pretty hard to watch Amazon Prime on a TV while you're on the train. Or a plane. Or a boat. Or literally anywhere that isn't your front room.
  • Yes that’s why i don’t do it and prefer to enjoy a movie quietly and in the best conditions... if i want to watch a movie on a plane or something i prefer a tablet... or i just read a book
  • It works for you. I watch movies on my phone just fine or on my iPad
  • I'm totally with you on this!
  • What should make you realize that your prejudice is just silly and short-sighted is that people said the same thing about watching movies on a TV instead of a movie screen once upon a time.
  • Yes, watching Videos and TV / movies is better on a larger screen, but it’s kind of hard to take your TV on the bus or train with you on the commute to and from work. I like to catch up on shows while I am riding the train.
  • As a sidenote: it is not correct that it doesn't stream HD on Youtube. The problem indeed occurs on Netflix, Amazon Video,... but not on Youtube.
  • You're right; updated article to reflect this. Thanks!
  • How was this not noticed / pointed out in the reviews of the phone? I mean, the original Oneplus 5 has been out for many months now and nobody has pointed this out until now??
  • This. How on earth was this unnoticed until now? I honestly wouldn't be surprised if this was not an issue at the time of release of OP5, and then something broke down with an update. Either that, or people got overly distracted by the inverted screen, and really no one noticed...
  • This fact alone suggests it's mostly a non-issue. No one noticed... They probably didn't notice with he 3 and 3T too... Like so many issues with all phones, pixel 2, U11, S8 whatever a lot of noise will be made but most people would never have noticed if it wasn't pointed out. Which isn't to say it's not a real issue.
  • Actually you can't on many mid range phones.
  • My guess why this is the case is simple; licensing fees. Sell a phone with top end specs for 500 whatevers and compromises must be made. Hell, Google want nearly 1000 whatevers for a 128GB 2 XL and that's cool of em too.
  • The point is: it doesn't cost anything to include this (except development cost, of course). There is NO licensing fee. It is written right there on the homepage of Widevine.
  • Does anyone know if movies download in HD? I don't stream movies too often, as I prefer to download them as to not eat up my data.
  • If it's downloaded from these services it won't be HD. The DRM requirements are the same.
  • Ah damn! That's a shame. I could do without streaming in HD but if I'm traveling or in a spot where I'm watching downloaded movies or shows, I'd want it to be HD. I hope OnePlus fixes this issue. It's a shame to have this kick ass screen and not being able to take advantage of it with those services.
  • Per "DRM Info" app, OP3 is Widevine L3 also. OxygenOS version 5.0 (oreo).
  • So this is just being discovered now? Shows how important anything above 480p is on a phone.
  • If I have the pixels I want to use them. I hear you though.
  • It does make a difference though. Especially on a phone like the S8 which is made for this
  • I don't watch anything pass 480p on my phone because I don't see the point. It eats up way too much data and battery to even jump to 720p and it's not that huge of difference on a small screen.
  • Agree to a certain point. You can definitely tell between 480 and 1080 on a device larger than 5 in. Now if data is problem I get that.
  • « as to why this is an issue in the first place. » Becayse it is noticeably better and noticeably (more then hd to 4k on a phone...). A display takes a good chunk of your revuews so i wonder why you think it’s notcan issue. It’s nit worth returning sure but it is an issue nonetheless.... And i also wonder why no review noticed it before !!
  • Nothing new here... A simple taks to fast forward through tracks on Google play didn't work for streaming songs on my oneplus 5. The fix came out months later. It's seems they are missing a lot of small but important software implementation on their phones.
  • # never settle
  • Asking why this hadn't been noticed, and not just in one phone, but two of them really brings doubt to the claim that it simply looks that much better.
    I expect for some users it does, but it certainly does not appear to be the majority or even a significant enough portion to attract coverage before this point.
  • Couldn't give a monkeys.
  • I am sad
  • Perhaps this is One Plus cheating again to get better battery life out of their on-screen time numbers?
  • I have the 5T and I honestly couldn't tell. And I'm not being a fanboy, but seriously, who can tell the difference, regardless of what phone you have. Also, it's 2017. Why does DRM still exist? Seriously? If I was going to "steal" some content (aka make a single copy for personal use of something that I paid for and am legally entitled to), I sure as hell wouldn't take it from Netflix or Amazon Instant Video, I'd go out and buy a 4K Blu-Ray and rip that. And the even more annoying part is that you can watch all of the major streaming services totally DRM free (some even in HD) on desktop. So again, WHY?