Furious about improper HDCP implementation

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by BiggAW, Feb 24, 2012.

  1. BiggAW macrumors 68030

    Jun 19, 2010
    [rant]I tried renting an HD movie tonight (Tower Heist), and it would not play due to HDCP restrictions. I ended up renting it in SD on Amazon instead. I emailed them and asked for a refund.

    First of all, it is ridiculous that Apple is using HDCP at all. It has no place on a computer, it shouldn't even exist in iTunes.

    However, what makes me 10x as furious is that I was using an ANALOG display, driven through VGA. It's a 22" Vizio HDTV. The ironic part is that if I had an MDP-HDMI cable, it would have played just fine, and probably would have worked on my normal 23" Dell display, which is connected using DP. Apple not only put HDCP where it doesn't belong, but they completely botched the implementation. HDCP is not supposed to apply to analog monitors, since they are, wait, ANALOG. HDCP is a DIGITAL content protection scheme. Even Comcast gets this, anything will output at 1080i or 720p through analog component, even if the HDMI port has HDCP, yet Apple doesn't seem to get it.

    I will probably never rent from them again! [/rant]
  2. MattG macrumors 68040


    May 27, 2003
    Asheville, NC
    Yeah, this happened to me once too. It's incredibly frustrating, paying money to rent something from Apple that won't play back on their own equipment.
  3. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    Actually, HDCP is allowed to disable analog output. So in this case, it's not broken, it's working "perfectly." Implementation isn't botched at all.

    Vendors didn't start using this "feature" until recently now that HDMI is more common.
  4. BiggAW thread starter macrumors 68030

    Jun 19, 2010
    That doesn't make it any less of an improper implementation. The entire point of HDCP (even though it obviously shouldn't exist in the first place) is for DIGITAL content protection. It shouldn't apply to analog outputs, and in proper implementations, it doesn't, like in cable boxes. Why can Comcast and DirecTV figure this out, but Apple can't? That's pretty sad.

    I will probably not rent from the iTunes store again, just because it's so hit or miss, and I don't want to have to care if my monitor has an all-digital connection AND HDCP, when there is no valid technical reason to use anything other than VGA for displays at 1080p.


    The short of it is that iTunes shouldn't have ANY HDCP in it AT ALL. It's on a COMPUTER, not on a cable box or something.
  5. chenks macrumors 6502a


    Oct 23, 2007
    it's the downloaded file that uses HDCP, not iTunes.
    the file is the same file that is played on various devices (AppleTV, iPhone, iPad etc), not just your computer.

    HDCP will be a requirement of the rights owners, and without HDCP the content would not be made available via iTunes at all.

    if you want to rant at someone, rant at the rights owners that insist on DRM.
  6. BiggAW thread starter macrumors 68030

    Jun 19, 2010
    iTunes shouldn't have HDCP support in the first place. I know it can be set file by file.

    Apple should stand up to the content providers and tell them to go take their HDCP with them hell. Apple is pretty powerful, they shouldn't put up with this ****.
  7. damir00 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 30, 2011
    I'd rather have lots of content with HDCP than no content without it.

    No complaints on this from my end...
  8. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    Sure it applies to analog. HDCP can mandate content must be protected. If it can't be protected over analog, it can't be played over analog. HD content is HD content. HDCP doesn't care if it's analog or digital output. It can mandate that content must be played over an encrypted connection.

    You're assuming the movie studios are dumb. They know analog is a loophole, and they wrote into the standard they can block analog output. The only reason we had analog output at all for some HDCP content is to give people time to switch to HDMI.

    Comcast and DirectTV are also dumping analog. The HDCP standard is basically sunsetting analog output. Most new Bluray players will also only output SD over analog.

    It's a studio requirement, period. It's either HDCP or nothing.

    Apple tried to not do HDCP for years, and the movie studios told Apple to go screw themselves. It's why iTunes didn't have HD for the longest time.
  9. BiggAW thread starter macrumors 68030

    Jun 19, 2010
    Maybe I should just download it off of torrents if they're not going to let me watch it on my own screen? Rentals are convenient, that's the whole thing, but if they aren't going to give me a good user experience with the hardware I have, then it's not worth it.

    That's a totally messed up implementation. Analog is supposed to be allowed. Even Comcast gets this. They allow HD output via component. As does DirecTV and everyone else.

    No they're not. They have HDMI on most of their cable boxes now, but they all have component as well. And some cable boxes still only have component outputs (they were probably built before HDMI existed). The majority of the cable boxes in my town don't even have HDMI. Ours does, because we wanted more storage and native output, but the native mode is so screwy on HDMI that I just hooked it up with a nice, thick component cable, and optical digital for audio.

    Apple shouldn't bend over and take it like that, and end up with a $*%&ty user experience. Apple should have told them to go suck it. The movie studios still don't get it. They think the DRM works. I should have just downloaded a 1080p MKV. That would show them. The movie studios have their heads so far up their butts its not even funny. If I can go download a 1080p MKV file for free, why can't they provide me with an un-DRM'ed, non-HDCP'ed rental?
  10. damir00 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 30, 2011
    I get that. It's too bad your experience is otherwise, hopefully thinks work out better going forward.

    For me, the rentals have been smooth as butter, and the convenience factor sky high. I'm very happy with the user experience Apple has provided.

    PS Analog is not "supposed to be allowed" in HDCP - it's entirely up to the content provider on how tightly or loosely they bung up the analog hole. The standard was designed to allow complete closure of that hole, so anything less than that is a fortuitous occurrence.
  11. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    No, it's not. Analog does not have to be allowed. HDCP is allowed to disable analog output completely.

    It's part of the spec. HDCP can disable analog. The only reason they allowed analog for a while is because people didn't have HDMI yet. Now that they do, they're starting to turn analog off.

    Last I checked, that is ending. Hardware makers are either getting rid of analog entirely, or making it only output SD.

    http://www.blondertongue.com/UserFiles/file/documents/Tutorial_Analog Sunset.pdf

    Analog is going away. According to the docs, anything after in 2010 is required to only output SD in analog. In 2013 analog goes away completely.

    I get your frustration, but if Apple hadn't done HDCP, there wouldn't be HD rentals on iTunes at all.
  12. BiggAW thread starter macrumors 68030

    Jun 19, 2010
    Just because someone wrote it into the spec doesn't mean that it's right to use it. Analog is not being turned off. Like I said, some devices don't even have HDMI.

    2015 and farther will roll around, and there still are going to be DCT series HD boxes out there on Comcast which don't have HDMI. Comcast is not going to replace them. I'll tell you that. And Comcast will stand up, and they're not going to get bullied by a bunch of movie executives who have no clue what they're talking about. That, and Comcast will NEVER turn off component until those boxes cycle themselves out, as they'd have zillions of angry phone calls that they broke people's TVs (myself included although I would have figured out what was going on before calling and complaining).

    Apple should have stood up, not implemented HDCP at all, and demanded HD. Instead they just bent over and took it.

    I do know about what's going on with Blu-Ray, but it's basically been that way from day 1 with a few exceptions. It's unfortunate though, I'd much rather run a 100% component system than a mixed system. It's a PITA switching back and forth between component and HDMI, all because of a bunch of people in Hollywood who wouldn't know how to plug a Blu-Ray player in if their life depended on it. Unfortunately, unless you get a mega-bucks receiver that up-converts, you are stuck running both unless you either are willing to drop the Wii and deal with flaky HDCP on cable, or not have Blu-Ray.


    The original intent of HDCP was to lock down digital content. I'd be shocked if the Moto boxes even had the ability to turn off the analog outputs. Especially the DCT series boxes. Actually, I'm not sure if they even have HDCP... probably do on the HDMI side of things.

    It's not a hole. You can't get a perfect copy of the signal through analog.


    Also, the DCT6412 has broken HDCP that won't work with a repeater device- I remember having that problem with ours, so we went with component. We got a DCX3400, still on component because the HDCP handshake it kinda flaky.
  13. throAU macrumors 603


    Feb 13, 2012
    Perth, Western Australia

    no hdcp = no hdcp protected content will play.

    the whole point of hdcp is that it verifies that there is a compliant chain all the way from the media to the display device.

    your analog display is not hdcp compliant. if apple didn't support hdcp you wouldnt be able to play that content on a digital hdcp display, either.

    complain to the people who put out the media, apple is giving you more options, not less.

    if apple were to disallow HDCP protected content on itunes, the media company would simply not sell through itunes, and you'd need to purchase on an HDCP compliant BDROM instead. Apple don't make, and can't really enforce the rules in this manner, while physical media and other alternatives that DO enforce HDCP exist.
  14. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    If you implement HDCP, you have to follow the spec.

    If you don't implement HDCP, then you don't get HD content.

    You can only choose one.

    Why do you think Comcast is against HDCP? Comcast likes HDCP. It's going to be a requirement for On Demand soon. Comcast likes HDCP because it keeps people from redistributing their content.

    Why are they going to make a stand against HDCP? They're one of it's supporters. Heck, they encrypt things that they're not even allowed to encrypt. Ever try to find any unencrypted channels on Comcast? They intentionally hide them.

    Comcast loves encryption.

    They didn't, and they didn't get any HD content. People complained, so they added HDCP to get HD content.

    Not sure what you mean. Component is not all or nothing. I have a component Wii and a bunch of HDMI boxes at home all on the same TV. If I want to switch to a device, I just hit a button for that device.

    Dude. Guess what your cable signal is? It's a digital signal.

    Your cable is digital content. Your box is converting it into an analog signal in the box.

    I don't think there is anything these days that is actually still analog content.

    No, this is exactly why it is a hole. If you get a perfect copy out, you can record it, and pirate it. That's the hole.

    Not that I like that, but I'm just pointing out, that's exactly what the movie studios are trying to block.

    Sounds like a device issue... all my devices handshake fine through a receiver/repeater. I also avoid cable provider boxes like the plague (I'm all TiVo/CableCard.)
  15. BiggAW thread starter macrumors 68030

    Jun 19, 2010
    First of all, there is tons of HD content without HDCP. HD content doesn't necessarily mean HDCP. Apple could have not used HDCP at all on HD content.

    Secondly, just because there is a way to disable analog doesn't mean anyone should ever use it. Sure, Comcast could do that, but they don't.

    QAM side encryption and HDCP are two totally different issues. They love QAM side encryption, which stops people from stealing cable. Comcast would be against disabling component video on their cable boxes because 1. they would have to replace a ton of boxes that don't have HDMI, and 2. they would get a tidal wave of angry customers asking why Comcast broke their TV.

    They should have told the studios to go suck it. HDCP is a very un Apple-like technology.

    You have to double switch, both on the TV and on the receiver. If everything worked on component, you could single switch, just through the receiver and leave the TV on component all the time. We have HDMI devices (XBOX 360, Blu-Ray), and component devices (Wii, Cable), and have to switch the TV when going from analog to digital. The XBOX I could get component cables for, but since it has HDMI built in, I just used that. We're forced onto a split system by the morons who set up Blu-ray, so there's no way around it.

    Thank you captain obvious. I'm talking about analog from the boxes to the receiver and then on to the TV. Would make life a lot easier.

    First of all, they are idiotic to think that things aren't going to get pirated. They all get pirated anyways, so why treat all the customers like they are criminals?

    Secondly, it's not a hole. There is no perfect copy with analog as it goes through a D-A A-D conversion.

    I don't know. Could be. Works fine with component.
  16. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    There is, but not movies. Apple could sell HDCP free content, but it would be content nobody wants.

    I'm not sure I understand. Analog is getting disabled because people can record directly from analog and upload directly to the web.

    They're the exact same issue. QAM encryption is because :drumroll: you can record directly from ClearQAM and upload to the web.

    Otherwise, why bother?

    Right. We've been over this already. Apple telling the movie studios to suck it means no HD movies. Which do you rather want?

    Huh? What the hell are you talking about? My receiver (and TV) has both HDMI and component on one box. I switch between them without caring about kind of connection connection it is. I leave the TV itself on HDMI all the time, and my receiver sends the component signal to the TV over HDMI. My receiver even up converts analog signal to 1080p before shipping it out over HDMI to the TV.

    I think you're wiring it wrong, or you bought a really cheap receiver that doesn't output component input over HDMI.

    Says the person who just said analog looked perfect.
  17. marzer macrumors 65816


    Nov 14, 2009
    HDCP is mandated by content consortiums and its use protected by DCMA (U.S. law).

    A company like Apple can't just "choose" to conform to it or not, if it wants to license the content for distribution. As previously stated, a company wanting to distribute HDCP protected content either complies or "chooses" NOT to be a distributor of such content. Thus, severely limiting its competitive edge.

    Apple is at fault for implementing HDCP, as mandated, by the content license owners? To circumvent HDCP protections, like allowing protected HD content to play on an analog display, inherently would subject Apple to violations under the DCMA.
  18. BiggAW thread starter macrumors 68030

    Jun 19, 2010
    Then that's fine. At least it would offer a better user experience. They also never even mentioned that they disabled analog output when renting. It's just sleazy, since most displays aren't compliant with such bizarre and draconian requirements.

    Everything is on the internet anyways. This is what the movie studios are too thick headed to understand. They shouldn't bother with DRM, it's just going to cause someone to hack it. It look a couple of months to hack blu-ray. Most of the stuff up there is Blu-Ray rips. So why even bother with HDCP, as you can't get as good of a copy through unencrypted HDMI as you can by just ripping the original Blu-Ray.

    No it's not the same thing. QAM encryption has to do with people stealing cable to watch, not record.

    No HD movies. Then Apple could point to the movie studios,and bash them for not allowing HD.

    I already addressed that. Some high-end receivers have HDMI up-conversion that converts all other sources to HDMI. Most don't, and you have to manually switch the TV back and forth. It's not just the really cheap ones, you have to get into the $500 range for just the receiver to get up-conversion, and at that point, you're putting together the whole things, and its going to be in the several thousand dollar range. If everyone had used Component for everything, then it wouldn't be an issue. Eventually the technology will probably trickle-down to most receivers.

    It looks perfect, that doesn't mean that it actually is a perfect copy. It's not.


    Yes they can. They can state to the movie studios that they will not use HDCP, the movie studios can either comply to that or be a bunch of jerks and not license. If they are a bunch of jerks, Apple can go and tell the world that they don't offer HD because the movie studios are a bunch of jerks.

    It's not a violation of the DMCA if Apple tells the studios what they can and cannot put on their files BEFORE they are submitted to Apple. I.e. no HDCP, or at the very least, no restrictions on analog.
  19. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    That's exactly what they did for years. And then people told them they didn't care and they wanted HD content, and that they wouldn't buy movies through iTunes any more if they couldn't get HD.

    Seriously, this is ground that has already been covered multiple times. You're about 4 years late on this.
  20. BiggAW thread starter macrumors 68030

    Jun 19, 2010
    Apple should have held out, and they should have been more public in bashing the movie studios for not allowing them to do HD content without HDCP.
  21. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    Didn't work. If they had, we could be sitting here today with no HD movies on iTunes.

    iTunes Movies are not a huge service compared to the others. It's not going to make the movie companies feel bad about themselves if Apple puts pressure on them. iTunes Movie sales are small.
  22. Crzyrio macrumors 65816

    Jul 6, 2010
    How can someone even argue against this?


    No way in hell will content providers give us content with out it, it would make them bankrupt.
  23. throAU macrumors 603


    Feb 13, 2012
    Perth, Western Australia
    To break it down for the OP in simple terms:

    No HDCP implementation in apple devices: You can not play hdcp content. You can only play unprotected content

    HDCP implementation in apple devices: You can play both unrprotected, and HDCP content, assuming your devices meet HDCP spec.

    For HDCP to work, you need HDCP compliant devices end to end (i.e., from media source, to display device). Allowing protected content to display on analog devices would be out of spec and result in ability to more easily pirate. I.e., it is not an "improper implementation" causing you problems here, the apple implementation is by the book and according to spec.

    If you want to rent content, it is quite likely to be HDCP protected. Whether or not there are unprotected copies out there on thepiratebay.org or not is irrelevant - most content owners want HDCP, and won't sell their content without it.

    If you don't agree, then don't buy/rent their content.
  24. CylonGlitch macrumors 68030


    Jul 7, 2009
    It's even worse than that. If Apple stood up and demanded no HDCP the studios would say fine, no HD movies for you. . . and while we are at it, no SD movies either and no more music either.

    Studios have shown time and time again that they act quite a lot like little kids, if they don't get what they want, they take their ball and go home (all of the balls). The reality is, no matter how big Apple is, if they aren't producing all of the content, they will always be at the mercy of the studios. So it will never really change until the studios decide it will.
  25. BiggAW thread starter macrumors 68030

    Jun 19, 2010
    Actually, in reality, they would sell MORE, since the pirated HD copies are out there anyways, all HDCP does is annoy the heck out of actual consumers, or people who try to be actual consumers but then give up and pirate.

    Oh, that and Netflix streams HD in the browser window over analog.

    They put their content on HBO and OnDemand, which goes over analog component with no problem. So Apple's implementation is far more draconian than what other content providers (i.e. Comcast) are doing.

    Good, I'll just go and pirate it, because the movie studios clearly don't want me and my analog monitor as a customer.

    I think they should have held out and then publicly slammed the movie studios for not letting them rent content without HDCP.

Share This Page