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What is HDCP All About?

We are often asked if the Z-Band Video Distribution System transports HDCP. The answer is that HDCP is not an issue when it comes to the distribution of broadband RF video over the backbone and horizontal cabling in a building or campus environment.

In order to understand why, we must think about what HDCP is, and where it fits into broadband video distribution from the source/s to the TV.

HDCP is defined as High Bandwidth Digital Content Protection, but is commonly referred to a High Definition Copy(right) Protection. The objective behind HDCP is to prevent protected, typically premium, video from being copied and/or re-distributed to non-authorized users. HDCP accomplishes this by using a “hand shake” technique that prevents the video source unit from sending protected content to anything but an authorized receiving device with the proper “hand shake authorization key”. Therefore, only a receiving device, such as a TV is authorized to receive the content protected video. HDCP is transported over an HDMI, DVI, DisplayPort, or UDI cable; this means that the video is no longer a broadband RF video signal – it has already been selected by a tuner in a TV or Set Top Box or created by a media player such a Blu-ray player. In other words, the video has been converted to an A/V video format for delivery to an authorized video receiver.

This means that the broadband RF video distribution system has already delivered the video channels to the tuning device before HDCP protection has been accomplished. Therefore, HDCP is not an issue for the distribution of HDCP protected video.

While HDCP is not an issue for broadband RF video distribution over the backbone and horizontal building cabling, other forms of copy protection such a Pro Idiom encryption, as well as other proprietary techniques, are totally capable of being distributed over the Z-Band Video Distribution System. Just make sure that the receiving device is compatible.

Bill Donmoyer

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