What is HDCP?
Short for high-bandwidth digital-content protection, it is a specification developed by Intel for protecting digital entertainment content that uses the DVI interface. HDCP encrypts the transmission of digital content between the video source, or transmitter -- such as a computer, DVD player or set-top box -- and the digital display, or receiver -- such as a monitor, television or projector. HDCP is not designed to prevent copying or recording of digital content but to protect the integrity of content as it is being transmitted.
Implementation of HDCP requires a license obtainable from the Digital Content Protection, LLC, which then issues a set of unique secret device keys to all authorized devices. During authentication, the receiver will only accept content once it demonstrates knowledge of the keys. Furthermore, to prevent eavesdropping and stealing of the data, the transmitter and receiver will generate a shared secret value that is consistently checked throughout the transmission. Once authentication is established, the transmitter encrypts the data and sends it to the receiver for decryption.
Due to the increase in manufacturers employing HDCP in their equipment, it is highly recommended that any HDTV you purchase is compatible. Although most video devices support high-definition video over component output, analog connections are scheduled to phase out in the future or possibly forced to limited resolutions output.
Why is it important to me?
Although manufacturers are still making most products with at least component HD output, new generation of products like HD-DVD and Blu-Ray devices will limit the analog output resolution (Analog defined as Component or RGBHV). The highest resolutions these devices can output (720p/1080i/1080p) will be available on via the digital (DVI or HDMI) connections that employ HDCP encryption. Any new HDTV purchase should have a digital HDCP compatible input.
How does it work?
A simple answer is that an HDCP session will result in the exchange of keys between the source and display device. The source device will query the display to make sure that the equipment is HDCP compliant before video is shown. Non-HDCP devices such as PC's and older model DVI products will work with any DVI compliant display, but the HDCP compliant boxes will show an image only on HDCP compliant display.
How can I check if a manufacturer is HDCP licensed?
Please, check the list of the licensed manufacturers below: