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One type of DRM is the Google’s ‘Widevine’ that is often found on Android apps and the web. It comes with three different levels, and this will explain why your device may only stream in lower resolutions or so.
- The most basic level of DRM protection
- Software-based DRM
- No Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) in chipset
- Supports playback up to 480p resolution
- Has TEE but video processing happens in software or different video hardware
- Supports playback up to 540p resolution
- Not usually found in market-sold devices
- Highest level of DRM protection
- Hardware-dedicated DRM
- Video processing happens entirely on the TEE
- Supports playback at the highest resolution possible (minimum at 720p)
The Widevine DRM specification is seldom mentioned on specsheets, but flagship tier phones usually come with Widevine L1 already.
Mid-range or entry-level devices usually has Widevine L3 certification, and that may be the reason why your Android phone’s Netflix app only streams at lower resolutions.