What is HDCP?

Written by Molly Owen, Updated on October 06, 2023


HDCP or High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) is a program developed to protect digital content from unauthorized copying or accessing digital content like audio and video as it travels across the world.

Intel Corporation developed HDCP and it is required to stream content generally through HDMI or DVI connections from services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Apple TV+, etc. or from Blu-Ray discs.

Need For HDCP

Content providers and Studios provide HDCP to enhance content security and comply with licensing agreements. Apart from the security, HDCP offers more like:

  • Support for Multiple Devices and Platforms: HDCP allows streaming across various devices like Smart TVs, laptops, Tablets, and Mobile.
  • Maintaining Quality: HDCP ensures that content is transmitted at the quantity and resolution mandated by content providers.

How Does HDCP Work?

Before sending data from the transmitting device to the receiver, the transmitting device checks if the receiver is authorized. If authorized, the transmitter encrypts the data to prevent eavesdropping during transmission to the receiver.

If the receiver is not authorized, you will often see nothing, or maybe a blue screen.

Different Versions of HDCP

As of today, two main versions of HDCP are in use:

  • HDCP 1.4 for 1080p contents.
  • HDCP 2.2 for 4K contents.

The newest version is HDCP 2.3 introduced in 2018 for HDMI and 2019 for Display ports including USB-C, which has improved the encryption algorithm.

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