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Is HDCP 2.3 Backward Compatible?


HDCP (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection) is an encryption protocol that ensures a secure connection between a source device and display. 

As HDMI connection is becoming the norm for delivering high-definition audio and video content, HDCP technology is being developed to prevent illegal copying or recording of 4K Ultra HD content. 

Compatibility is critical for the secure digital handshake between HDCP products. If the source and display are not compatible, there will be a failed connection and no signal.

To futureproof your AV gear, make sure to invest in technology with HDCP 2.3 technology. 

HDCP 2.3 is the latest security protocol for HDMI, USB-C, and DisplayPort. It is the most advanced security solution for protecting 4K content and the AV distribution system.

Gadgets with connections that are HDCP 2.3 compliant have full backward compatibility with HDCP 2.2 and selected HDCP 1.4 devices.

In this article, learn about HDCP 2.3 compatibility and how you can futureproof your gadgets with the latest security encryption.

What is HDCP?

HDCP-compliant source and display device

HDCP stands for High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection. 

It is an encryption technology that prevents the illegal copying of audio and video content. HDCP-compliant products are grouped into source, repeater, and sink. 

The source device is where the signal starts. Some examples are game consoles, media streaming services, cable boxes, Blu-ray players, and more. 

The repeater is the messenger from the source to the sink. These products include splitters, soundbars, AV receivers, wireless transmitters, and switches.

Lastly, the sink or display should be HDCP-compliant as well. Make sure to look for TVs, monitors, and digital projectors with the latest HDCP protocol to avoid problems with compatibility.

What are the different versions of HDCP?

Different HDCP versions and HDMI compatibility

Most products with HDMI connections are either HDCP 1.4 or HDCP 2.2-compliant. 

HDCP 1.4 is generally applied to all HDMI 1.3/1.4 gadgets, while HDMI 2.0/2.1 usually comes with HDCP 2.2 protocol. Most products that deliver 4K content need a successful handshake between HDCP 2.2 source and display through HDMI 2.0.

HDCP 2.3 was released in 2018 to improve further security measures for HDMI, DisplayPort, and USB Type-C interfaces.

What is HDCP 2.3

Uncompressed 4K content promises UHD resolution, high color bit depth, high frame rates, and high color gamut. With the demand for 4K digital technology, security measures are continually being developed to encrypt audio and video content. 

HDCP 2.3 is the latest advancement in security technology for protecting high-value 4K content. 

The latest version of HDCP has a stronger encryption protocol for digital audio and video 4K content. HDCP 2.3 AV gear also has additional restrictions on the distribution system, so it’s critical to understand HDCP 2.3 compatibility and integration with previous versions of AV systems.

HDCP 2.3 Backward Compatibility

HDCP 2.3 backward compatibility

When the source device and display don’t have compatible HDCP protocols, the digital handshake will be cut. This means that there will be no signal between devices unless HDCP compatibility is established.

With the security improvements, HDCP 2.3 has stronger encryption protocols to lock out vulnerable devices, such as those with outdated HDCP versions. 

HDCP 2.3 is fully backward compatible with all HDCP 2.2 devices that deliver high-value 4K content. This means that you won’t have any issues connecting an HDCP 2.3 device with an HDCP 2.2 device.

However, you will experience more restrictions in transmitting content between an HDCP 2.3 device and devices lower than HDCP 2.2 versions lower.

HDCP 2.3 backward compatibility with HDCP 1.4 products may be possible when transmitting encrypted HD content or unencrypted 4K content in AV systems with mixed support for different HDCP versions and non-HDCP devices.

The Yamaha RX-V779 receiver is an example of a mixed support AV system. When you check the back panel and the owner’s manual , you will see various HDCP and non-HDCP options for HDMI 2.0 connections.

Future-Proof Your Home with HDCP 2.3 Products

If you want to make the most out of your AV system, invest in technology with the latest encryption technology.

As 4K content is becoming the standard for digital content, we will see more products released with HDCP 2.3 and HDCP 2.2 protocol in the coming years. Most HDMI cables with HDCP 2.3 encryption technology are backward compatible with HDCP 2.2 devices.

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Compatibility is critical for transmitting digital signals between HDCP devices. This means that there’s a high probability that you won’t be able to connect older devices with HDCP 1.x with newer HDCP 2.3 devices.

For media streaming devices delivering 4K content like Roku Streaming Stick+  and Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K , you will need a display with ports that support HDCP 2.2 or HDCP 2.3.

Our favorite TVs with HDCP 2.2 or HDCP 2.3 protocol are the Sony Android TVs or Google TVs. Any Sony Bravia 4K or 8K TV released in 2019 or later will have HDCP 2.3 or HDCP 2.2 encryption technology.

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Look into Yamaha products if you’re looking for AV receivers  and soundbars  that support HDCP 2.3. Yamaha designs their products to be updateable to the latest HDCP encryption firmware, preventing any compatibility issues.

Conclusion

As more devices deliver 4K digital content, HDCP technology is constantly developed to improve encryption. 

HDCP 2.3 was released in 2018, and it is the latest HDCP protocol available today. It is backward compatible with HDCP 2.2 devices. However, it may not be compatible with earlier versions of HDCP due to stronger encryption measures and additional distribution systems. 

What does this mean to the regular tech consumer and AV professional?

To futureproof your AV system, you need to invest in devices with HDCP 2.3 protocol. It will be fully backward compatible with HDCP 2.2 devices. However, older devices with HDCP 1.x will most likely fail to transmit signals to and from devices with HDCP 2.3 protocol.

Last update on 2022-05-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API.


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