Many owners of some Pixel smartphone models, especially the latest ones, are encountering Netflix’s infamous “Widevine bug” and other streaming services, which blocks hd content playback. It happens, every now and then, to multiple manufacturers: a recent example is OnePlus. In concrete terms, it happens that the quality of the stream is blocked at standard resolution, and if you look in the Netflix options (Tap on the profile icon at the top right > > App settings to scroll down to the Diagnostics section and press Playback Specifications) to the Widevine entry you read L3 (if everything is in order you should see L1).
Just in the last few hours, new updates have come out for all supported Google smartphones: they include April security patches and some specific bug fixes. After the update the reports seem to have multiplied, but there are also older ones: the xda-developers investigations have discovered some that date back even last November. Unfortunately, it is difficult to determine whether all reports have a common cause or not. In any case, most are pixels 4a, 4a 5G, 4, 4 XL and 5.
The bug has nothing to do with the power of the smartphone: it is an issue that we could call “bureaucratic”, or security. The Digital Copyright Protection System (DRM) requires a trusted execution environment (TEE) to play hd content, and for some reason the system is unable to provide it. Occasionally the problem is invasive changes to the OS such as unlocked bootloader and custom ROM installed, but in case of fully stocked devices it is rare for the user to be able to find a solution to apply independently. You usually need a corrective patch from the manufacturer.
For the time being, Google has not commented on the matter; all that remains is to wait for more information. It is worth pointing out that not all units in circulation are affected by the disservice.