HDCP 2.2 is the latest in copy protection, and it’s designed to create a secure line between what’s displayed on your screen, and the source of that display. HDCP 2.2 is designed to prevent piracy of high definition 4K content, when it’s played by ultra high-def blu-ray streaming boxes, and other devices that stream 4K content. Film studios work hard to enforce the copyright of their productions, and HDCP 2.2 is one example of that protection for 4K. Let’s take a look at what that means for you.
Let’s start with the basics. HDCP 2.2 can prevent you from connecting your television to an ultra high-definition blu-ray player, streaming box, or something similar. That can occur when the HDMI ports in your screen are incompatible with HDCP 2.2 technology. In those circumstances, you will get some variety of error messages, which will vary from one brand of television to another. Because HDCP 2.2 is the latest iteration of an already advanced form of protective technology, it’s designed to be compatible with the latest streaming programs, blu-ray players, and HDMI connections. That means the only way around it is usually updated products that are HDCP 2.2 compatible.
One way of bypassing HDCP is with an HDCP stripper (also known as an HDMI splitter). HDCP strippers are an intermediary between the console footage and the audio visual output. Good quality strippers synthesise the HDCP signal from the console into a signal that can be transmitted across the non-HDCP compatible HDMI connection. Sounds good in theory, but it’s far from the most reliable solution. HDCP technology has been around for a while (in various iterations) and it keeps evolving. More recent televisions are capable of adjusting, but splitters can easily become unreliable as HDCP technology evolves. That means the best course of action is probably to update your television if it’s starting to display errors relating to HDCP 2.2 compatibility.
Apart from HDMI splitters, there’s not a lot of bypass options available for HDCP 2.2. Some people have bypassed HDCP by converting the signal into analogue. There are some pretty serious downsides to that approach though. Firstly, it’s complicated! Converting the signal to component, VGA, or evening composite video can take some pretty serious technical expertise. On top of that, it will degrade your picture quality. The whole point of HDCP 2.2 is to protect high-quality, high-resolution 4K content. If you get around it, then you’re probably going to lose the benefits of high-definition.
What products are HDCP compliant?
HDCP 2.2 has been around roughly as long as 4K high-resolution, which means it started to hit the mainstream in 2013. As a result, most televisions and audio-visual products released since then will be compatible. Still, it’s worth confirming HDCP 2.2 compliance before you make any big purchases.
HDCP 2.2 and piracy
Before you get too frustrated with HDCP 2.2 technology, it’s important to recognise its purpose: to prevent video piracy! We’ve discussed a few of the techniques that people use to try and bypass HDCP 2.2, but using those techniques for the purposes of video piracy is illegal. Our advice: get a good quality late model technique and enjoy the benefits of 4K without having to worry about HDCP 2.2 compliance.