HDCP 2.2 Pro: The Right Content Protection Solution for Streaming Content

By Stephen Balogh, President, DCP LLC

When it comes to protecting high-value digital content –  think motion pictures, television programs, gaming and audio – HDCP is the undisputed choice. Since its introduction, more than 500 industry-leading companies have licensed and implemented the specification and over 11 billion HDCP keys have been issued. And with the backing of players from the entire ecosystem including the major motion picture studios, semiconductor companies, CE manufacturers, and computer companies, HDCP is set to continue providing  digital content protection for the foreseeable future.

HDCP – or high-bandwidth digital content protection – is a specification designed to enable  a secure connection to protect copyrighted content when connecting sources (e.g. Set Top Boxes, Internet Delivered Content Devices, DVD, Blu-ray) and sinks (TVs, Monitors and Audio Equipment) with a digital interface such as HDMI, DVI, DisplayPort, MHL, Miracast and others. HDCP 2.2 Pro was introduced in 2016 to take advantage of the billions of devices which already support HDCP by allowing them to be interconnected on commercial AV networks and support an almost unlimited number of devices. It delivers a number of key benefits to content providers, device manufacturers, and A/V professionals alike. Let’s take a closer look: 

The Difference Between DRM and HDCP: Benefits of Link Protection Technology  

A DRM (Digital Rights Management) system enables copyright protection for digital media in order to stop unauthorized use, copies or distribution. It makes certain that content is encrypted before it is stored or transmitted to ensure that only authorized consumers and devices are able to access the content.

To be clear: HDCP (including HDCP 2.2 Pro) is not a DRM nor is it meant to be used in place of one.

HDCP and HDCP Pro are intended for use with DRM encrypted content – and other content protection technologies – as part of a chain of trust. HDCP in all of its forms acts as a link protection technology, delivering the end link for many, if not all, DRM systems that are commercially utilized today. It is an approved output for all relevant and applicable DRM upstream content systems. There are a number of DRM systems, and by leveraging link protection technology like HDCP, content providers  have a choice of DRMs – thereby ensuring a competitive ecosystem.  

HDCP 2.2 Pro and Client Device Support

HDCP 2.2 Pro is only deployed in repeater devices that take in content and then securely distribute it to thousands of sink devices that support any version of the HDCP technology. Further, all of the source and sink devices already deploying HDCP will seamlessly interoperate with Pro; and the list of devices is extensive. You can find a partial list of HDCP devices here.

HDCP 2.2 Pro Does Not Require Internet Access

HDCP 2.2 Pro only requires quarterly updating – and, in some cases, even longer time between updates is possible. Additionally, these updates do not require an internet connection. As long as the update has been downloaded to a transfer device – such as a thumb drive – the update can be made remotely. This is particularly of interest in situations where the highest levels of security are required or access to external DCP servers is not possible, such as in military use case scenarios.

HDCP 2.2 Pro is Supported by U.S. Broadcasters

One of the benefits of HDCP 2.2 Pro is that it is approved everywhere that HDCP technology is approved. This includes being allowed by U.S. broadcasters. No other technology that we are aware of has this level of support.

HDCP 2.2 Pro Can Be Deployed Virtually Anywhere

HDCP Pro 2.2 can be deployed by HDCP Adopters in virtually any scenario imaginable – from large venues like sporting facilities, airports and shopping malls to single family dwellings or private yachts. There are a multitude of approved locations available – too many to list – and HDCP Professional Adopters and/or HDCP Professional Installers can petition the DCP LLC for additional Authorized Locations.

It is also important to remember that, as with all security standards, there are requirements in place for installers. Though anyone can manage the HDCP 2.2 Pro installations, these industry-driven standards are in place to ensure that the systems are arranged and properly in use and that secure content flows to client devices.

DCP LLC – the organization behind HDCP – works diligently to evolve HDCP technology to meet market needs. HDCP 2.2 Pro was released to enable the commercial distribution of content to an unlimited number of devices, while ensuring protection of content. I encourage you to learn more about HDCP 2.2 Professional (Pro) Specifications. A list of available HDCP Products can be found on our website. And, as always, please contact our team directly with any questions you may have.