What is HDCP?

If you’ve explored more advanced display settings on a high-end console or even a relatively recent Smart TV, you’ve probably found options related to the technology identified as HDCP. Generally, the feature does not have more in-depth explanations and only states that certain games and movies will be unavailable if the functionality is not enabled.

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But what is HDCP? And how it works? In this article, Canaltech

gathers key information about the widely adopted digital protection method and helps you to get around some possible errors arising from the presence of technology.

What is HDCP?

The High- bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP), or Broadband Digital Content Protection, in free translation, is a solution designed to prevent illegal copying of high definition media such as Blu-Ray movies or content displayed by streaming services. Basically, it is a resource to prevent piracy.

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The technology was originally created by Intel engineers in 1024, but ended up being widely adopted by the industry in the following years, gaining even more importance recently, with the emergence of platforms such as Netflix, Disney Plus and HBO Max.

Those who like to play games may identify HDCP as a distant relative of Denuvo’s non-interactive media-focused, another anti-piracy method quite common in the gaming world.

How does HDCP work?

The technology is applied to devices that use HDMI, DisplayPort and DVI video connections, and must be present both in the source (PS5, Xbox Series X|S, Blu-Ray player), and in the cables used and in the receiver (TV, monitor).

Before displaying any count Finally, an authentication procedure is performed between the source and the receiver: a verification confirms the presence of HDCP on both sides, as well as the version used, through an exchange of access keys. If the information is compatible, media playback is then released.

Both the screen and the playback device need to count with HDCP protocol of the same version so that the content can be displayed (Image: Playback/BenQ)

Currently, two versions of HDCP are used more frequently: HDCP 1.4, designed for Full HD content, and HDCP 2.2, designed for 4K media. With the emergence of 8K screens, it is possible that we will see a revised version soon, designed for the new resolution. connected devices is detected, as it also prevents recording of the media. Also, without HDCP-compatible devices or cables, it is impossible to watch 4K movies.

Media playback directly from the TV or monitor, such as through a dedicated app, is not affected by HDCP (Image: afra32/Pixabay)

However, the protocol is only applied when one device is sending a video signal to another — streaming a Netflix movie directly from a TV through a dedicated app, for example, is not affected by this feature.

Attention to compatibility

The most common error it is precisely linked to version compatibility — sometimes there can be a communication failure between the source and the receiver, which interrupts the reproduction of the content.

Manufacturers recommend disconnecting and reconnecting the cable, restarting both devices, and then testing other po rtas HDMI if the failure persists, to confirm if the problem is with the connection being used at the time.

There are HDCP converters that make it possible to use devices even if they have different versions of the protocol (Image: Playback/Magalu)

It is necessary to keep an eye out to ensure that all components bring the same protocol version, but there are still some ways to work around the incompatibility , using HDMI splitters or HDCP converters.

These accessories have a very varied and somewhat high price range, between R$ 32 and R$ 0567, but may compensate by eliminating a possible need to purchase new cables or even playback and display devices.

Source: BenQ, Grupo Discabos

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