High-Bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) is a protocol used to protect digital content from illegal duplication.
This system encrypts digital source and output devices during data exchanges, preventing third-party devices from eavesdropping during transfers.
While most AV devices and content made after 2004 have been equipped with this digital security system, some technologies still don’t support HDCP.
If you have an old computer monitor lying around at home and you’re thinking of using it to stream movies or TV shows, you may be asking yourself:
“Does my monitor support HDCP?”
In this article, we discuss how you can determine if your monitor is HDCP compliant. We also talk about alternative fixes you can take in case your computer monitor is not HDCP-approved.
Scroll on to learn more!
- What does HDCP protect?
- Types of HDCP licenses
- Does HDCP license type affect content quality?
- What happens if your device doesn’t support HDCP?
- Does my monitor support HDCP?
- Can I upgrade my monitor to make it HDCP compliant?
- What do I do if my monitor is not HDCP-compliant?
- Are HDCP and HDMI the same?
- What’s the most common type of HDCP license today?
- Final thoughts
What does HDCP protect?
HDCP protects physical AV devices such as Blu-ray discs, streaming sticks, gaming consoles, and AV connectors e.g., HDMI, DVI, and DisplayPort. It allows HD devices to play HD content as well as 4K and 8K content, for the more recent versions of HDCP.
Types of HDCP licenses
There are currently three (3) versions of HDCP licenses: HDCP 1.4, HDCP 2.2, and HDCP 2.3.
HDCP 1.4 was developed to protect mainly full HD content. Meanwhile, HDCP 2.2 protects 4K UHD media. HDCP 2.3 is the latest version of HDCP developed in 2018 and it provides an even more solid connection for source, sink, and repeater to communicate.
HDCP was developed to support 8K quality content.
Does HDCP license type affect content quality?
The type of HDCP license your device uses can affect how content appears on your output device. HDCP-protected devices tend to downgrade content to a format that’s more compatible with their design.
In other words, if you’re streaming from a source that supports HDCP 2.2 (4K content) on a display that features HDCP version 1.4 (1080p HD), it will downgrade it to a more readable format.
To get the best picture quality, you need to make sure that the HDCP version on the source, sink, and repeater is the same.
What happens if your device doesn’t support HDCP?
While most devices nowadays comply with HDCP standards, several manufacturers still don’t have this feature. In that case, you may not be able to play HD or 4K content that is HDCP-protected.
If you attempt to stream HDCP-protected content on a non-compliant TV or monitor, best case, you’ll get audio without the video. Worst case, you’ll be greeted with an “ERROR” notification.
Does my monitor support HDCP?
In the early days of technology, it was safe to assume that most monitors didn’t have HDCP protection. Nowadays, it’s the complete opposite.
The majority of personal computer manufacturers adhere to HDCP regulations. Otherwise, you’ll be slapped with a hefty fee for negligence.
Still, how can you tell if your monitor supports HDCP?
Most TVs, projectors, and other AV devices will have the HDCP label next to their connector ports. If the model you own doesn’t have this, there are other ways to make sure it’s HDCP-compliant:
- Inspect your monitor for its product label or tag. There, it should indicate if the product is HDCP compliant or not.
- Look for your monitor’s users guide or manual and check for HDCP compliance.
- Try plugging in an HDCP-compliant device and see if it works.
- If the monitor manufacturer has a website, go to their page and check if they are HDCP compliant.
- Contact the manufacturer’s customer support line and ask them if their products support HDCP.
Can I upgrade my monitor to make it HDCP compliant?
Unfortunately, there’s no way to upgrade a non-HDCP-compliant monitor. This is one of the biggest setbacks of HDCP regulations.
What do I do if my monitor is not HDCP-compliant?
If you’re thinking that your best chance of accessing HDCP-protected content is to get a new HDCP-compliant device, that’s not exactly the truth. What you need is much simpler and cheaper than that.
HDMI splitters are used to allow several TVs to connect to a single source. However, they also have the ability to override HDCP protection.
This is the reason why plenty of users are still able to pirate original content and share them with millions of people online.
You can buy an HDMI splitter from any audio/video shop you find. Once you have it, simply plug it between your source and output display and you should be good to go.
Are HDCP and HDMI the same?
Most people confuse HDCP with HDMI and that’s understandable — they have similar names and labels. It doesn’t help that both HDMI 1.4 and HDCP 1.4 came out on dates very close to each other.
However, HDCP and HDMI have very different functions. One provides protection while the other works as a bridge that connects one device to another.
What’s the most common type of HDCP license today?
The most common version of HDCP that devices feature nowadays is HDCP 2.2. Especially with the popularization of 4K content, more and more people are opting for higher resolutions and requiring higher HDCP functions.
Although the latest HDCP version is HDCP 2.3, there aren’t a lot of people who watch content in 8K. So, there’s not much use for the protocol just yet.
Not sure if your monitor is HDCP-compliant or not? Simply check its label, user’s manual, or contact its manufacturer to make sure.
Most monitors today comply with HDCP regulations; although there are still some models that don’t.
Luckily, there are ways for you to watch HDCP-protected content on a non-HDCP-compliant monitor. You simply need an HDMI splitter, which you can buy from any AV supply store in your area, and use that to override the HDCP encryption process.
There are different types of HDCP licenses that can also affect the quality at which movies, TV shows, and other content are rendered on your display output.
For a better viewing experience, make sure that HDCP licenses on your source, sink, and repeater devices are the same.