What is HDCP and how does it interfere with watching pirated movies

HDCP work

What is HDCP? Decoding abbreviations


HDCP is an acronym for stands for High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection. From English, this translates as “Broadband Digital Content Protection.” Wikipeida

HDCP: required for HD devices

  • The film industry has made HDCP a must-have technology for all HD devices. HDCP prevents high-resolution copying and recording through digital video interfaces.
  • The system was developed in 2003 by Intel.

How does HDCP work? We explain in a simple way


Take Blu-ray as an example: the digital content of an AES128 disc is protected by a 128-bit key. The key is considered safe, but it is already hacked. The part of the disk with the key is called “Media Key Block”. In order for the player to be able to decrypt the data, another part of the key called the “Device Key Block”, is stored on the device itself.

HDCP work
HDCP work

At the moment, television stations usually send an unencrypted signal, but this should change in the next few years. Then, probably, all content will be broadcast in encrypted form.

What is HDCP 2.2?


Since 2015, there is new copy protection – HDCP 2.2.

This encryption has been optimized for working with 4K content. And here’s the problem: HDCP 2.2 is not backward compatible with old HDCP 1.x encryption. To play movies in 4K format, all devices used must be able to handle this encryption standard.

For example, if you want to play 4K content, various components can play a role in the playback chain. It can be a Blu-ray player, satellite receiver or set-top box that transfer content to the TV. In the same way, we can talk about the monitor, graphics card and game console.

If at least one component in this chain does not support HDCP 2.2, you will not be able to play 4K content. As a result, the screen will remain black. However, the soundbar that you connect and through which the signal will pass can also become such a “stopper” for the signal.

If the playback source supports HDCP 2.2 and your TV only uses the old HDCP 1.x, you can bypass copy protection with a two-way HDCP converter.