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What Does HDCP Not Supported Mean?


You’re planning to watch your favorite TV show on a Friday night, but the message “HDCP Not Supported” flashes on the screen just as you turn on your TV. This can be an upsetting turn of events, even for non-videophiles. If you’re asking yourself, “what does HDCP not supported mean?” you’re not alone. 

In this article, we take a look at the possible reasons your TV is displaying this error message and how you can fix the issue quickly. Read on to learn more. 

What is HDCP?

Working of HDCP

HDCP (or High-Bandwidth Digital Content Protection) is a form of Digital Rights Management created by the company Intel. It’s designed to protect digital content from users who intend to illegally duplicate and distribute movies, TV shows, and other digital media. 

How Does HDCP Work?

Transfering data from one device to another, requires a connecting bridge that serves as a platform for the transaction. The HDCP protocol encrypts this information during transactions, allowing only HDCP-approved devices to read and interpret the data. If a non-HDCP-compliant device were to join the correspondence, the data wouldn’t go through, and users won’t be able to access any of the files or information. 

What Does HDCP Not Supported Mean? 

When your TV displays an “HDCP Error” message on your screen, this typically means either your TV is non-HDCP-compliant, or your content source is. To complete file transfers of HDCP-protected content, the source, sink, and repeaters need to be HDCP compliant. 

What Causes HDCP Errors?

There are several reasons why your device may be showing an “HDCP Error” notification on your screen. The most common reason is that your TV or display device may not be HDCP compliant. 

To determine if your TV, monitor or any other display device is HDCP compliant, you can check their HDMI port for the “HDCP 1.4, 2.2, or 2.3” label. If it doesn’t show it there, check the user manual or manufacturer website to see if your device is compliant. 

Incompatible HDCP types

HDCP currently comes in 3 versions: 1.4., 2.2, and 2.3. Each version provides digital devices with a set number of encryption keys. These keys should match up with other HDCP-approved devices for a file exchange to occur. This process is called a “handshake.” 

Handshakes are what experts call the encrypted connection between two HDCP-approved devices. For a successful handshake to happen, both devices need to have the same HDCP version. Otherwise, you’ll be greeted with an “HDCP Not Supported” message on the screen. 

Non-HDCP-compliant cables/adapters

HDMI cable vs HDCP

In some cases, the fault may also be in the cables or adapters. While most HDMI cables are now equipped with HDCP protection, there are still a few connectors that don’t comply with HDCP standards. 

To see if this is the issue, try using a different cable for connecting your source to your display. If the same “Error” message shows up on your screen, something else may be causing the issue. 

Non-compliant sources

Most streaming services and devices now have HDCP protection. However, there are a few set-top boxes and android boxes that don’t. This can cause problems when you’re trying to enjoy your favorite TV shows in HD.

To see if your device is the problem, try plugging it into a different output device that’s also HDCP compliant. If the same message appears, your source device might not be up to standard.

How Can I Fix HDCP Errors?

While HDCP errors can be irritating and frustrating, it isn’t the end of the world. There are ways you can still enjoy your favorite movies and TV shows without going berserk. 

Here are a few solutions you can try:

Get an HDMI splitter

HDMI splitter

This little piece of equipment is cheap and can override the HDCP protocol easily. Simply plug it between your source and display devices. Once that’s done, you should be able to play your favorite shows without any issue. 

Switch to HDCP-compliant cables

HDMI, DVI, and other connectors are now mostly protected by the HDCP. However, there are still a few that don’t. To solve this issue, consider getting a new set of HDCP-compliant cables. 

Use HDCP-compliant sources

Only buy tried and tested devices that comply with HDCP standards. Some Android TV boxes may not support HDCP, which can get in the way of your movie watching. 

Buy a new HDCP-compliant TV or monitor

This might be the most expensive alternative, but it’s one that is tried and true. Most monitors and TVs sold nowadays are HDCP compliant. However, it’s still better to make sure that it is by inspecting the unit before you buy it. 

Consider alternative setups

If none of the above mentioned solutions appeal to you, there are other ways you can stream your favorite TV shows. For instance, you can go for a wireless solution like WiFi or AirPlay to bypass HDCP licenses. 

How to Bypass HDCP Content Restrictions in 2021

Both Devices Are HDCP Compliant but an Error Message Still Appears?

There are instances when even if two devices are HDCP compliant, “Error” messages may still occur. This can be due to an HDMI distribution issue. 

HDMI distribution issues typically occur to binge gamers who keep their devices on for 24 hours every day. It’s caused by an unstable voltage between HDMI ports and sources. 

If you’re ever stuck in this situation, simply restarting your device can help. Here are the steps to follow:

Step 1: Turn off your device and unplug the HDMI cable on both ends (source and display ports).

Step 2: Wait for five to ten seconds before plugging the HDMI cable back into their respective ports. 

plugging the HDMI cable

Step 3: Turn the power back on to restart your device. 

The issue should disappear now. If not, it may be time to get a replacement HDMI cable with better firmware. 

Once you have this new cable, another solution to consider is reducing the number of hours you keep your devices on. Instead of 24 hours a day, perhaps you can limit our gaming to 2 or 4 hours every day. 

Final Thoughts

There are several reasons why your display shows HDCP Error across the screen. Make sure to check all devices to determine where exactly the issue is coming from. Once you’re able to identify the problem, the solutions we’ve provided above should be able to help you out. 

Some devices may still show HDCP error messages, despite already being HDCP-compliant. When this happens, it may be due to a voltage issue in your cables. A simple restart can help solve this problem; however, you may have to replace the hardware altogether if the issue continues.


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