Tech Tips - HDCP Explained

What is HDCP? 

HDCP stands for High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection. The purpose of HDCP is to protect digital copyrighted content as it travels from a device to your TV, generally through HDMI , DVI or DisplayPort connections. HDCP is required to stream content from streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon, Sky or Virgin and Blu Rays. 

So why do I need it? 

If you use any AV devices such as converters, splitters, switches or extenders they have to be compliant. This is a legal requirement. It protects against video piracy 

What will happen if they are not compliant? 

If you use non-compliant devices, they will not display the source material. You will often see nothing or maybe a blue screen. 

Can I remove or “strip” HDCP? 

While it may be possible is would be against the legal requirement. 

There appears to be more than one version, why is this? 

As of early 2020, the two main versions are HDCP 1.4 and HDCP 2.2. That’s part of the reason the protocol gets mixed up with HDMI.  

HDCP 1.4 coincided with HDMI 1.3/1.4, and HDCP 2.2 overlapped with the arrival of HDMI 2.0.  

HDCP 1.4 was designed for full HD content while HDCP 2.2 relates to ultra HD 4K media. With HDMI 2.1 entering mainstream service in 2020, HDCP 2.2 continues to be essential for 4K. This will no doubt change again when 8K arrives.