Honor View 20 unable to stream Netflix in HD as reported by many users

Remember when Xiaomi enabled the Widevine L1 certification for Pocophone F1 via software update, but owners of the phone faced issues while streaming Netflix in HD? Matter of fact, the streaming giant actually refused to whitelist the device (despite having L1) for some overly complicated reasons.

poco_f1_no_netflix_hd_policy_alvin_tweet

Widevine is a DRM (Digital Rights Management) layer which is used by major content providers to validate whether the client device is tampered or not. The lowest level, i.e. L3, was ‘hacked’ a few months ago, but there is no public documentation available on attacking higher (and more secure) levels of this DRM.

Keeping aside those technical jargons, regular people usually check the factory installed Widevine certificate level on the phones (or tablets) before buying to ensure the HD streaming capability. Honor View 20, a budget flagship from Huawei/Honor, does feature Widevine L1 out of the box.

honor_view_20_drm_info_widevine_l1
Honor View 20 (codename: PCT) supports Widevine L1

You may wonder, why should I pick up View 20 out of the blue? Well, there is something common between Poco F1 and Honor View 20 (sold as Honor V20 in China) in terms of Widevine and Netflix.

According to many View 20 owners, they are simply unable to watch Netflix or Amazon Prime in HD on their phone. The situation is rather cryptic, as some users got it working on previous builds of EMUI but not in new one (and vice-versa).

Initially Netflix worked Well with HD streaming on my view 20. But then couple of days back when I was scrolling through the app section in settings I mistakenly uninstalled Netflix provider app. It was around 5mb. After that I am unable to stream Netflix in HD. Is there any way to fix the problem? I cross verified in DRM info app and the device still supports widewine L1 license

(Source)

honor_view_20_no_netflix_hd_forum
Source

V20 owner here. Just noticed that despite the device’s support for industry video/streaming standards like Widevine L-1 certification and HDR10/10+ support, many honor phones don’t have support for streaming HDR content (In case if Prime Video HD content doesn’t stream either).

After the 2.1 update, my device finally started streaming in HD on Netflix (still waiting for HDR support). Does anyone know if Honor phones (talking about the ones don’t have the support) will be getting support from streaming services to play in HD/HDR? If at all?

(Source)

Due to the whitelisting from Netflix’s end, we decided to take a look at the officially supported list of devices for HD as well HDR by the streaming company. Interestingly Honor View 20 is not listed there, although select HiSilicon Kirin 980 powered devices should be supported as per Netflix.

netflix_hd_supported_phone_august_2019
Click/Tap to zoom

We are still not sure about the exact reason(s) behind this anomaly, but it seems that Netflix server side validation is wrongly flagging the Honor View 20 as incapable in some specific scenarios.

According to Huawei, the phone should have necessary certifications (as we can see from the DRM Info screenshot) to play HD contents, so there is nothing they can do. End of the day, View 20 owners are suffering without any concrete answer.

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Kingshuk De

I came from a mixed background of Statistics and Computer Science. My research domains included embedded computer systems, mobile computing and delay tolerant networks in post-disaster scenarios. Apart from tinkering with gadgets or building hackintosh, I like to hop on various subreddits and forums like MyDigitalLife and XDA.