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What is HDCP?

Developed by the Intel Corporation, HDCP stands for high-bandwidth digital content protection. As the descriptive name implies, HDCP is all about protecting the integrity of various audio and video content as it travels over a multiplicity of different types of interfaces. Such data interfaces as GVIF, DVI, and HDMI will all support the functionality of HDCP.  

Is HDCP Free?

No.  HDCP requires an authorized license. The license can be obtained through Digital Content Protection, which is a subsidiary of Intel Corporation. Generally, the license can be obtained by filing an application and paying an annual fee. Once the application is accepted and the user agrees to the terms found in the licensing agreement, the right to make use of HDCP is granted.  

What Are Some Of The Key Terms of Use For HDCP?

One key term has to do with the transmission of data to unauthorized receivers. That is, an HDCP protected video source is not allowed to transmit protected content to any receiver that has not be verified to be HDCP compliant. There is also a restriction on the quality of the content, making sure that the DVD-audio content is equal to or less than CD-audio quality on any non-HDCP digital audio outputs. The licensed operator also covenants to not use their equipment to produce copies of content, and also to make sure that original content is created within the confines of current content protection requirements. 

What Type of Devices Make Use of HDCP?

There are a number of different devices that make use of HDCP. DVD players are a common example, including systems that support high-definition DVD components. Blu-Ray discs are another example. Generally, it is possible for the manufacturer of the device to set what is known as an Image Constraint Token that will structure the type of output signal that can be read and translated. 

How Widespread Is The Use of HDCP?

Since 2004, HDCP has been widely used in the United States. Elsewhere, HDCP has also gained a firm hold. The European Industry Association for Information Systems has deemed HDCP as a required component on all HD ready European devices. The latest Microsoft operating system, Windows Vista, makes use of HDCP as part of the function of graphics cards and monitors.

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Last modified: August 23, 2022

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