Today, most content in the technology and entertainment industries is available in 4K. As such, you need to ensure that the projector and cables that you get are HDCP compliant to enjoy the quality and uninterrupted viewing.
So how do you know whether a projector is HDCP compliant?
The projectors will always have a tag or sticker label that clearly states that the projector is HDCP compliant. Some manufacturers also put a sticker on the packaging saying ‘HDMI Compliant.’
Alternatively, you can check if the M1 port can receive HDCP content.
This post will take an in-depth look at what it means for a projector to be HDCP compliant, give examples of compliant Epson models, and outline tips on bypassing HDCP protection.
What is HDCP in projectors?
High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection is a form of digital copy and content management protocol that Intel Corporation first developed.
Its main objective is to establish a handshake between input devices and their source to ensure content is authored and protected from illicit copying.
Projectors designed for HDCP play 4K content as well as TV shows and movies available with High Dynamic Range.
However, all other devices that you use with your projector, including cables, have to be compliant for you to view HDCP content.
By actively entering a dialogue with other devices, projectors with HDCP look for security keys that allow 4K content to play. If keys are missing along the line, then the projector will not play the content as the device will assume that security has been compromised and that the content is pirated.
While HDCP has proven helpful to content owners in the recent past, it adds a layer of complexity that frustrates users as your projector cannot play 4K content without the device being compliant.
What causes HDCP Errors?
The HDCP error appears for two reasons. First, the error may occur on your device if the content that you are trying to play is protected and your device is non-compliant.
Secondly, the error might pop up if you are using a faulty HDMI connector or cable.
HDCP compliant projectors can only work if all other devices, for instance, monitors and screens and the cables connected to them, are all HDCP compliant.
If a single connection in the setup is not compliant, you will receive an error prompt.
You can also get an error message if your projector’s HDCP version is lower than that of the cables connected.
This means that if your projector is running on a 2.2 version, which is the latest as of this writing, and you have connected an HDMI cable version 1.4, you will also receive an error message.
Your setup must run on the same HDCP version to get the best out of your 4K content.
How do I bypass HDCP protection?
It’s important to know that there is currently no legitimate way to bypass the HDCP protection other than purchasing an HDCP-compliant device.
No content creator has so far endorsed or supported any bypassing method. If anything, it is illegal to do it in almost all states and equates to content piracy.
Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, you stand legal action if found to have circumvented HDCP protection.
That notwithstanding, there are a few tricks that you can use to bypass HDCP.
Here’s how to go about it:
1. Use a cheap HDMI Splitter with HDCP stripper
Using a cheap HDMI splitter is one of the most effective ways to bypass HDCP protection. It is perhaps the most popular method.
An HDMI splitter works by ignoring HDCP requests. It creates a pathway that is immune to HDCP error.
For it to work, you need to position the splitter between the output and input devices.
For example, you want to stream your favorite show from Xbox. Normally you would run an HDMI cable directly from your Xbox to your projector. But since you can’t watch your show from Xbox because it is protected.
Therefore, you will run an HDMI cable from your Xbox to the input side of the splitter and then power it up. You then connect your projector to the output port of the splitter. You should now be able to watch your movie when you hit play.
The request for the HDCP device is no longer transferred from the digital content source. This is because the splitter stops it from moving between the devices by creating a handshake.
The splitter also makes it possible to connect one HDMI input source to multiple outputs that strip the HDCP to allow you to play and view 4K content.
Here’s a good video tutorial on bypassing HDCP using an HDMI splitter.
2. Use an Analog Cable
The other method to bypass HDCP protocol is to use an analog cable instead of an HDMI cable. This method works because analog cables do not receive any HDCP protection.
While this is a cheap method, be ready to bear to a lower quality image. Analog cables do not support high-resolution content like 4K but instead degrade the picture quality.
To use this method, connect your analog cable to your projector and proceed to stream your content.
These two methods are sure to work. However, if you are particular about doing things the legit way, you should consider upgrading your devices and cables to be HDCP compliant.
Are all projectors HDCP compliant?
The short answer to this question is no. Although the HDCP technology was invented in 2004, there are projectors in the market today that lack this content protection feature. However, most manufacturers today release projectors that are HDCP compliant.
By early 2020, HDCP technology had evolved into two main versions. The HDCP 1.4 and HDCP 2.2.
The HDCP 1.4 version is designed for full HD content. It is an older standard that can support resolutions of up to 1080p and is the most commonly used today.
The HDCP 2.2 version is the newest standard, supporting ultra HD-4K content with a higher bandwidth transmission.
These two versions are generally confused with the HDMI because of similar naming conventions and the arrival of HDCP 1.4, which coincided with HDMI 1.3/1.4. Also, HDCP 2.2 overlapped with the arrival of HDMI 2.0.
However, these two are different but related. HDCP is a protection feature in the HDMI cable.
When buying a projector, you will therefore need to check that the device is HDCP compliant as well as the cables to be connected to it. It is also important to check the HCDP version.
Which Epson projectors are HDCP compliant?
Epson is a global technology leader with a lineup of new projectors engineered to handle 4K content.
Here are some of the Epson projectors that are HDCP compliant:
- Home Cinema 5040UBe
- Epson Pro Cinema 4050
- Epson Home Cinema 4010
- Epson Home Cinema 4800
- Epson EF-100 Mini-Laser Projector
- Pro Cinema 6050UB 4K Projector
An HDCP-compliant projector will ask any other device in the signal chain if they are also compliant. This is through the transmission of a unique set of keys to the receiving device. The devices recognize each other if they are both HDCP compatible and the digital data displayed in full HD capability.
HDCP compliant projectors deliver clear, sharp, colorful, and dynamic digital content as long as you create a handshake between all your media devices. So if you are itching to upgrade, these projectors are a lot of fun.