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TeknologikL is a place for conversation and discussion about new technologies emerging in consumer electronics with a focus on high-definition video and audio. The blog will cover topics including home theater equipment, digital distribution, media streaming, electronic product reviews and more.

The blog's owners are constantly searching for the next device to satisfy their ever growing hunger for technology. Media junkies standing on the edge of reality, ready to take the jump.

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HDCP Headaches (Part 2)

Posted April 01, 2010 12:00 AM by Kaplin

Last week's post gave an overview of High Bandwidth Digital Content Production (HDCP). In that post I explained why it is completely useless in the fight against piracy, and how it causes major headaches for the average consumer. This week, I'll detail my personal frustrations with HDCP.

When I was in the market for a new TV, sets with 1080p resolution had just hit the market and 42" 1080p sets cost between $3,000-4,000. After doing a bit of research, I found that part of the increased cost was due to the analog-to-digital television switch. At the time (about 2 years before the switch), all television sets sold in the U.S. were required to include both an ATSC (digital) and NTSC (analog) tuner. Including both tuners increased the cost of these sets significantly.

To get around this, some electronics manufacturers classified their products as a monitor instead of television. After looking at a few local stores, I found the Westinghouse LVM-42W2 42" 1080p LCD Video Monitor. By getting one of these monitors, I was able to save $1,500-2000 off the price of a 1080p "television."

Westinghouse HDCP Handshake Issues
For the most part, I was very pleased with the purchase. The picture quality stood up to all the other big-name manufacturers, but there was one issue that was more of an annoyance than anything. Some devices, such as the PS3 (which I have since gotten rid of) and the Popcorn Hour C-200, have both had HDCP handshake issues with the monitor. Often times, when turning on the theater, the display would flicker static instead of the picture. In all cases, this static was fixed by simply turning any of the connected devices off and then back on again.

After finding some people online with the same issue, it was determined that the media device sent the HDCP signal to the monitor, but the monitor was too slow to respond. As a result, the connected device mistook the slow response as a failure of the HDCP check and would not display the video. Although the fix for this was very easy, it was an annoyance that I didn't want to deal with.

Possible Solutions
I found a few possible solutions online, such as using an HDMI to DVI cable (which didn't work), and read about someone who was able to bypass the HDCP decryption on their TV entirely with some minor soldering, (Don't try at home!) but I was tided over with a temporary fix by programming a macro into my remote called "Fix Static" that would turn my AV receiver off and then back on again. Obviously this was still not a perfect solution.

Eventually I bit-the-bullet on a device called HDFury, which is an HDCP stripper. Check back next week for a full review of the HDFury line of products including their Gamma-X brightness booster.

I know I'm not alone in my HDCP frustrations as users of Apple TV, Xbox 360, and other devices have all complained about issues displaying their legal content.

Has anyone else experienced any similar stories or HDCP problems?

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Guru

Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Defreestville, NY
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#1

Re: HDCP Headaches (Part 2)

04/01/2010 8:57 AM

The problem with HDFury is that all the studios have to do is revoke the devices' key and you now have a very expensive paperweight (as far as new releases go).

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Guru

Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: New York
Posts: 578
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#2
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Re: HDCP Headaches (Part 2)

04/01/2010 9:04 AM

I will get into that next week in my HDFury review but in 5 years on the market that hasn't happened yet.

Also if by some chance it was added to the blacklist, any current media would still work.

95% of my content is from my digital antenna or video files from my PC with no DRM. Blacklisting the device would have no effect on either of those sources.

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