TV Hack Bypasses HDCP


Reader [GRitchie] wrote in with an interesting find in his new TV set: with just some minor soldering it was possible to tap into an unencrypted hi-def video stream.

HDCP (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection), used by Blu-Ray players and cable or satellite receivers, normally ensures a DRM-protected link between the device and a compatible display. Any properly-licensed device that forwards HDCP content (such as an HDMI switch box) is expected to provide encrypted output; those that don’t may get blacklisted by the system and become expensive paperweights. It’s something of an annoyance for users who feel this oversteps fair use applications such as time-shifting.

[GRitchie] found that his new TV with “InstaPort” Fast HDMI Switching didn’t perform this re-encryption step between the set’s internal switcher and the next stage in decoding. Soldering just eight wires directly from the switching chip’s output to an HDMI cable provided an unencrypted output that could then be received by a PC for later replay.

What’s not clear at this point is whether the capability is peculiar to just this one make and model, or applies to anything with the new Fast HDMI Switching. If the latter, it will be interesting to see how this plays out…nearly all of the major HDTV manufacturers are evaluating InstaPort for new sets, which would make any attempt at HDCP blacklisting awkward, to say the least.

63 thoughts on “TV Hack Bypasses HDCP

  1. HDCP = evil incarnate.
    kudos to anyone hacking it, they are doing a service to us honest consumers who hate intrusive system-breaking DRM that limits what you can do with your own hardware.

    Case in point, the lack of even downscaled output on the PS3 when trying to watch Bluray.

    I welcome the day when DRM is declared a “crime against humanity” and sent the way of the dinosaurs.

  2. @qwerty017 et al, i have played with elastomer connectors for reconnecting broken e-ink screen backplanes and oled screens.

    it works, and with a bit of shapelock plastic the connector cane be securely fixed but in a removeable form should the TV need to be repaired etc.
    fwiw this is a handy kludge if you need to read back or bootstrap a bricked laptop’s BIOS without taking the chip off the board.
    this is where being able to precisely measure the connector shape and height (laser scanner?) and feed it into a reprap or whatever would be handy.

    FWIW, I have also used homebrew conductive glue made of tyre repair compounnd and graphite powder for a repair.
    Worked fairly well, silver epoxy is better

    if all else fails, tap into the through hole wires with a bit of kynar wirewrap wire (the thinner the better) and this provides a 100% foolproof connector once secured with a drop of hotmelt or shapelock.

  3. Ugly American replying to hurrrrr re copyright governmental nonsense blue law…

    well i cant tell who said what but so ill quote “…It’s not copying per se that funds crime. It’s the artificial government restriction of suppliers that makes piracy profitable for organized crime…”

    who ever said this is basically on point. is its only recently intellectual property has become valuable and worldwide mainstream to bootleg but that doesnt say i wont buy the product also…

    NO ONE no one gave a crap when i used check out cds, albums and cassettes at the library then copied them to my state of the art (HA!) album to cassette record… that is exactly the same as today. and i believe if i go to a library (assuming there is anyone actually inside of them anymore not a front for _____________ ?? i will still find i can probably check out every kind of media possible. library desperate for attention in their death rattle… thats all if the library lets you check out a dvd and has no bylaws re copying end of story. open a library and pirate under the contents of checking out hdcp protected items exactly like the state does???

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