How to send HDCP encrypted signals to non-HDCP devices

Jump to: What devices work with the HDCP stripper used in this blog?

Jump to: Top Five Capture Devices

According to Wikipedia;

High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (also known as HDCP) is a form of digital copy protection to prevent copying of digital audio and video content as it travels across connections.

This means (in technical jargon) you cannot view, copy or record digital content from certain devices via HDMI if the receiving device is not HDCP compliant. If you attach an HDCP protected HDMI signal to a non-HDCP compliant device, the device will display a message along the lines of “your device cannot display this content”. In layman’s terms, if you plug it in and it doesn’t work you’ll see something like this:

HDCP

Any device sending an HDMI signal does an EDID check with the device at the receiving end. The EDID check basically says yes or no to allowing the image to be displayed. This decision is based on circuitry built in to your device, which proves your display device has a licence to decrypt the signal. Page Divider One such device in the UK is a Sky+ digital box, or digibox. You therefore cannot plug in a Sky+ box via HDMI and record to a capture card, or BluRay Recorder or an external hard drive, for example. Although I understand the purpose of copyright and infringement, it seems its a grey area when it comes to HDCP, and it’s current usage. I’ve read that bypassing HDCP isn’t actually illegal and considering the code was “cracked” several years ago, it’s now also an entirely useless protocol anyway (although I know that doesn’t mean it’s alright to do it). Microsoft recognised the defunct nature of HDCP and stated that Xbox One games wouldn’t contain HDCP encryption (great news for those who love to record and share their favourite Call Of Duty head shots), although services such as NetFlix and DVD playback would require an HDCP compliant TV. The legality of HDCP was questioned over at www.hdfury.com. However, (although their page has since moved) the most important line of all the text on their page is was:

HDCP is not a law or mandate yet

Page Divider

Problem Solved

If you were looking for a way to send HDCP-encoded HDMI signals to a non-HDCP device for viewing or recording, the following “splitter” box will do it:

LINK 1: Generic 4 Way HDMI Splitter

The following steps work perfectly with this device: Plug the HDCP-encoded HDMI source into the Input of the HDMI Splitter box. Plug your non-HDCP compliant device into either Output 3 or 4 of the splitter. Low and behold, the HDCP check will be bypassed and the previously encoded signal will be sent to your device. This would, for example, allow you to record things from your Sky+ box to your BluRay recorder, or any HDMI recording device such as a Matrox Capture Card, an Atomos Ninja or HDMI DVR. I’ve read some HDCP “stripper” devices require you to connect your HDCP-compliant TV to one of the outputs, so that the circuitry can do a “handshake” with your TV first in order to get a yes from the EDID check. Only then would the unencrypted HDCP signal pass through to the splitter device. To be clear, the above device does NOT require that step. You can plug your non-HDCP compliant device into Output 3 or 4, and it works without the TV. Also notice the above device is not advertised as an HDCP “stripper”, although that’s exactly what it does. It seems Intel Corporation (the creators of HDCP who require viewing equipment to register and pay to use their special protocol) don’t like the word “stripper” or “remover”.

stripper

Page Divider Confirmed HDCP Devices that WILL WORK with this HDCP stripper

  • Sky+HD Box (Amstrad)
  • Rogers Cisco Cable Box
  • YouView box
  • Xbox 360
  • Xbox One
  • Sony PS3
  • Sony PS4

Click here for In-Depth Top Five Capture Devices

If you know a device that works, leave a comment and I’ll add it to the list. Page Divider*Updated August 2013: This blog post was entirely re-written for the above device. The first blog version I wrote centred around the “Maxx Digital 1 To 2 HDMI Splitter”. Although that device could pass an HDCP encoded signal to a non-HDCP compliant device, it was discovered that it only happened on very rare occasion and wasn’t a permanent solution. It just so happened to pass my HDCP enabled signal from my Sky+ box into my Atomos Ninja during a test, on the very first occasion that I plugged it in. Further tests didn’t work. In the end I discovered that powering the Maxx Digital device on and off several times would occasionally cause the built-in EDID check to get confused, and therefore allowed the encrypted HDMI signal to pass through. It was literally one out of every 100 or so power cycles. Having contacted Maxx Digital directly for clarification to any particular steps I should have taken to make it a more permanent solution, I’ve heard nothing back. I have heard that using two “Maxx Digital 1 to 2 HDMI Splitters” back-to-back also works, but I can’t confirm that myself. Therefore I went to find a single device that works, and this is the update…* *Updated June 2014: TV Broadcasters around the world contacted me via this blog. Many have gone on to purchase the splitters in order to make it much easier for them to get previously HDCP protected content from one source to another. The splitter boxes are used in Edit Suites, Live Galleries and Satellite Trucks for TV transmission. Here’s an image I was sent of one broadcaster who bought dozens for their edit suites: HDCP protection encryption remover stripper splitter Page Divider Please note I am in no way affiliated with any manufacturer or any eBay member who sells the above product. I’m simply pointing you in the direction of where you may be able to get one. Page Divider

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About Mercian Media

My name is Alex, and I work in the Film and TV industry. I work freelance for various employers on several shows including Big Brother, Celebrity Big Brother, Sky News, Sky Sports, London Live, Bloomberg and QVC. All views are my own.

191 responses to “How to send HDCP encrypted signals to non-HDCP devices”

  1. Bill says :

    Been a while since I’ve checked in here 🙂 I purchased the 1×4 splitter box, and it worked great with my old Tivo Premiere XL and my Black Magic UltraStudio Mini Recorder. Now I’ve got a new Tivo Roamio (and a new Samsung SUHD TV), and now, everything has a purple tint to it. I’ve tried different cables, disconnecting and reconnecting, rebooting everything, and still no luck. Could be that there is a newer version of the copy protection, and so I need a new splitter box that is compliant with the newer version of the protection scheme? Appreciate any insight you could share, thanks!

    • Mercian Media says :

      My first thought, Bill, is that with your new TV being SUHD (as in 4K) then the signals aren’t the usual HD format. As such the box may not know how to decode the new data signals.

      I’ve had similar problems recently with AirPlay. Apple have changed over their protocol on sending video to AirPlay receivers. All my old receivers can’t be updated, and as such won’t decode the new video being streamed to them.

      Sadly, I doubt the current HDMI Splitter is compatible with 4K TV. I don’t know what the protocols are on 4K, but I imagine a similar splitter box will be required for similar functions.

      • Bill says :

        Interesting! I hadn’t necessarily thought of the TV as a deciding factor. I guess I was **assuming** that the important piece in the equation would be the TiVo Roamio box. After double-checking the specs, the TiVo only supports 1080p24/60… basically same as my old TiVo Premiere XL. So you think that whatever new protocol that is in my Samsung could be the culprit? I guess that is the other side of the HDCP “handshake”… Maybe I’ll do some searching for a 4K/HDMI 2.0 splitter. Of course, if any of your readers have already run into this & have found something that works for their 4K sets, I’d sure appreciate them sharing.

        Many thanks! And happy holidays to you!!

      • Bill says :

        Upon further research, seems the UltraStudio Mini Recorder can only record YUV. Evidently, my old Tivo did both YUV and RGB. But the new generation Tivo devices only do RGB. Since there is no way to switch the Tivo to YUV, and the UltraStudio Mini Recorder does not support RGB, I’m back in the market Choi a new HDMI capture device 😦 (( Sigh ))

  2. Bill says :

    Hi again! 🙂 Just curious about your go-to capture device, the AVerMedia Live Gamer Portable. How does it handle the recording of any multi-channel digital audio that’s coming across the HDMI cable? Either AAC or AC3? My audio source is Dolby Digital (I think AC3) surround sound. Want to make sure that the resulting video does not end up 2-channel stereo. Thanks again for your expertise!

    • Mercian Media says :

      Hi Bill.

      To be honest, I’m not entirely sure what happens about Stereo 2.0 or 5.1 AAC or AC3. I know the splitter box itself purely repeats the signal. There’s no electronics inside for upscaling, downscaling or converting the signals in any way, it will simply “pass through” the signal. Including whichever audio standard is being used.

      I’ll do a spot of 5.1 recording where I know if it’s AAC or AC3 and let you know what happens. Off the top of my head I think its in the Settings on the software for the AVerMedia as to what happens to the signal.

      I’ll try get back to you in a few days (though I am rather busy during this section of the festive period!).

      • Bill says :

        No worries, mate! Take your time! In the meantime, hope you don’t mind my sharing some findings to the discussion. First, in addition to the 1×4 splitter box that you recommend here, I’ve also found success with a 1×2 splitter called “ViewHD 2 Port 1×2 Powered HDMI Mini Splitter” *(purchased from Amazon). I can confirm that running an HDMI cable to a capture device from port 2 yields an HDCP-free signal.

        I also did some research on a capture device to replace my Ultrastudio Mini Recorder that would also be compatible with my TiVo. One that looked promising was the Diamond GameCaster HD GC2000. It works in both stand-alone mode (SD card), or via USB to a Windows computer. However, after a lot of test recordings & finally contacting their technical support, it only supports 2-channel stereo in the output files. Somehow the box muxes the AC3 to a stereo pair. Odd…I actually tried to use Handbrake to transcode the m2ts files created by the GC2000 in stand-alone mode. Handbrake actually saw 2 audio streams in the m2ts file (1@AAC, 1@AC3); but reported that they were just stereo streams 😦 😦

        So I returned that & tried the Elgato Game Capture HD60. While it didn’t have a stand-alone feature, it was cross-platform. Once again, it didn’t matter what I tried, the resulting MP4/M4V/MOV file only had stereo audio.

        Again, many thanks in advance for all the work you do, and for testing the audio stream of the AVerMedia Live Gamer Portable. Happy Holidays!

  3. jamal says :

    what makes this splitter than one i could get at an electronics store like Frys electronics?

    http://www.frys.com/search?search_type=regular&sqxts=1&cat=&query_string=hdmi+splitter

    • jamal says :

      i am sending blu-ray into a roland v1hd – an hdmi video mixer that actually has an HDCP bypass option. i am outputting to an Atomos Ninja 2, which doesnt receive signal (regardless of the source) if the HDCP feature is enabled on the Roland v1hd. i’m hoping a splitter can take the output of the roland v1hd and make it readable by the Atomos Ninja 2

    • Mercian Media says :

      Do you mean what make is the splitter? It is unbranded.

      If you mean what makes it different, all I can say is that I haven’t tried the ones from Frys electronics. I had tried quite a few splitters and most adhere to non-HDCP compliance, and we’re talking 2013 when I wrote this entry.

      My advice is that this one DOES strip HDCP, and would work with your Atoms Ninja (works with mine). The alternative is try one from Frys, and if it doesn’t work then you simply return it. I can’t advise you further than that, without having tested any from Frys myself.

      If you do get one and test it, let me know how it works and I can add it to the list of ones that work or don’t work.

  4. Naomi says :

    Thanks! You gave me the idea to use a double adapter! In the end it worked to use Thunderbolt (MacBook) to HDMI and then HDMI to VGA putting my VGA tot VGA cable in my beamer. I still get the error message but then it just plays anyway.

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