Xiaomi Poco F1 cannot stream HD content on either Netflix or Amazon Prime

Why Xiaomi would ship the Poco F1 without the WideVine L1 certification is beyond us.

For all the massive hype that surrounded the Poco F1 by Xiaomi, a recent revelation is sure to dampen the mood of people who have purchased the device in the flash sale on 29 August. It would seem that the Poco F1 is unable to stream HD content on both Amazon Prime Video and Netflix. Yes, the "Master of Speed" just repeated the exact same mistake OnePlus made when they launched the 5T.

The POCO F1 starts at a price of Rs 20,999. Image: Tech2/ Shomik Sen Bhattacharjee

The POCO F1 starts at a price of Rs 20,999. Image: Tech2/ Shomik Sen Bhattacharjee

This development was reported first by Indian blog, Android Pure and was confirmed by tech2.  Apparently, this is an issue which cannot be rectified via a software update. As with the OnePlus 5T issue, the only possible solution for this is a full recall of the devices. Here's why?

The root cause of this issue is that the Poco F1 does not support WideVine L1. What exactly is this WideVine L1? The answer is two-fold.

WideVine is a leading encryption scheme for securely licensing, distributing and protecting playback on video on any consumer device. In simpler terms, WideVine certification prevents the piracy of video content. Think of it as a kind of very secure encryption-decryption standard. There are three levels to WideVine which are L1, L2 and L3. Devices that support WideVine L1 can play HD content, but in the case of the Poco F1, the phone has support for only WideVine L3, which means it can play content only in SD (standard definition).

Poco F1 (L) vs OnePlus 6 (R)

Poco F1 (L) vs OnePlus 6 (R). See the HD option below the title missing on the Poco F1.

This does not mean that the Poco F1 is incapable of streaming HD content. Video streaming platforms such as YouTube which does not require DRM (Digital rights management) will be able to stream HD content without a problem.

In the case of Netflix or Amazon Prime, WideVine L1 is required to play HD content. When we opened Netflix on the Poco F1, we noticed that the 'HD' option present on the phones that support WideVine L1 was not showing on the Poco F1. With Widevine L3, Netflix is capable of running videos only up to 540p in resolution.

As mentioned before, this is not a problem that can be solved via a software update. Not that long ago the same problem was seen on the  OnePlus 5T as well. OnePlus had issued a free recall of the device in Asia, China, Europe and North America as the problem could only be fixed via an authenticated PC due to the “security processes involved with updating the devices.”

Will Xiaomi recall the Poco F1? We shall have to wait and see. As to why they would ship such a popular device without the L1 certification, we simply don't know.

We've reached out to Pocophone for comment and will update the story with their input.

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