This story was originally published and last updated .
Some folks using the new ASUS ROG Phone 3 are having issues playing back HD content in certain apps like Netflix. The cause, as some of our more savvy readers might expect, is an issue with Android’s Widevine DRM system, with some phone owners reporting that their L1 Widevine state has been lost, relegating them to standard definition playback. However, ASUS tells us it’s aware of the issue and there’s a fix, but you have to send your phone in to get it.
It isn’t clear if all devices are affected or if the issue is only affecting a handful of units, but there are enough reports over at ASUS’s ZenTalk forums to make it clear it is a trend that affects at least some ASUS ROG Phone 3 owners — and potentially some Zenfone 7 Pro owners, though there are fewer reports there.
Left: Widevine reporting L3 in DRM Info. Right: L3 reported in the Netflix app.
The issue is clearly tied to a loss of Widevine L1 status, with the phones falling back onto L3 — that’s the lowest security level which devices can usually implement purely in software without any hardware-backed elements, and which was alleged to be broken last year. Affected devices indicate L3 Widevine status when checking in apps like DRM Info, and they’re unable to play higher-definition content from services like Netflix that require a higher security status.
Some customers claim the fall to Widevine L3 happened following a recent update, while others claim it happened suddenly and all on its own, with reports stretching back to October. Customer support representatives in related forum threads have been reaching out to those affected via DM. Responses indicate they’re being instructed to send the phones to service centers to be re-flashed with the correct firmware. However, some claim the issue still persists following this procedure.
Notably, the OnePlus 8 Pro had a similar but short-lived issue earlier this year, fixed via a later update. While the cause may vary, a future update might be able to fix the problem for affected ASUS phones.
ASUS tells us this issue can be fixed for those affected, but it won’t be simple. Unfortunately, the problem can’t be solved via an update, and although the company tells us the problem has since been fixed (so, presumably, there shouldn’t be any new cases), rectifying the issue on phones that have it requires that they be sent to a service center. We encourage affected customers to contact support to make those arrangements.