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Future-Proof Your AV Gear With HDCP 2.3

Four little letters that may stand between you and your 4K content.

The upside of technology looks something like this: It’s cool. The downside? It doesn’t always work. Or, worse: your gear ages faster than you’d like and becomes obsolete.

Plugging it back in repeatedly doesn’t work. No matter how many times you shake the remote, you can’t get a pulse. Why? It could very well be that the hardware and software of the gear itself wasn’t built to scale with the latest technologies.

Meet HDCP. Your home theater components have it, whether you know it or not. But your gear’s ability to support the latest version, HDCP 2.3, could make all the difference in enjoying your 4K content and more. Here’s why.

What is HDCP?

Protecting copyrighted material is a big deal. That’s why HDCP — an acronym for High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (the “b” is silent) — came along. It’s a security feature that encrypts digital signals from one product to another. Think of it as a digital handshake that creates a secure connection between a source and display.

HDCP requires compatibility between products in order to ensure that the digital content being communicated is protected. If there’s no compatibility, there could be no signal.

Products with HDCP can be grouped into three buckets:

Diagram with graphic icons representing a blu-ray disc player, an AV receiver and a TV. The words below each, left to right, are "Source (4k blu-ray)", "Repeater (AV receiver)", and, "Sink (TV)".

1. Source. This is where the signal starts. It could be a gaming console, 4K Blu-Ray player, cable box or media streamer. You get the idea.

2. Repeater. These are the products that take the HDCP signal from a source (say, a 4K Blu-Ray player) and send it to the sink (TV). AV receivers, sound bars, splitters, repeaters, switches and wireless transmitters are the most common.

3. Sink. This is where the source signal is going. TVs and digital projectors are the frontrunners.

What About HDMI?

HDCP is different than HDMI, but they do work hand-in-hand.

HDMI is the optimum connection for delivering high definition content between sources, sinks and repeaters. You have to crank up the specifications to HDMI 2.0 in order to pass 4K content to TVs and components.

And that’s where HDCP comes in. It’s the encryption technology that was designed to prevent illegal copying of 4K Ultra HD content as it’s transmitted via HDMI. HDCP 2.3 is the latest version. It provides the most secure digital handshake between a source, sink and repeater.

Why Compatibility Matters

If your gear doesn’t have the latest HDCP encryption technology, you could have some compatibility issues down the road. A product with HDCP 2.3 can send a signal to any HDCP-compliant device through HDMI. A product with older HDCP encryption technology can’t necessarily scale up. Think of it as a first-generation iPhone® trying to run an app only available for iOS 10 and higher. It’s not going to happen.

Some TVs, AV receivers or sound bars, for example, only support the HDCP encryption technology that came as factory standard with them. As encryption standards evolve, not all of them are built to receive a firmware update to the latest standards (currently, HDCP 2.3.)  If this seems like a big deal, it is. Here’s why: the signal may not pass through, and you might miss out on enjoying your 4K content. Sure, you could cobble things together without HDMI connections, but you wouldn’t be enjoying the full potential of your gear, let alone 4K content.

Yamaha Products With HDCP 2.3

At Yamaha, we focus on both quality and performance. In fact, over two generations of our AV receivers — plus our latest sound bars — were designed to be compatible and updateable to the latest HDCP encryption technology. Earlier this year, the following products received a firmware update to HDCP 2.3:

AV Receivers

CX-A5200

RX-A3080

RX-A2080

RX-A1080

RX-A880

RX-A780

RX-A680

RX-A3070

RX-A2070

RX-A1070

RX-S602

RX-V685

RX-V585

RX-V485

RX-V385

RX-V683

RX-V583

RX-V483

RX-V383

RX-V781

RX-V481

RX-V379

TSR-7850

TSR-5830

 

Sound Bars

MusicCast BAR 400

YAS-108

 

HDCP 2.3 wasn’t the only enhancement to Yamaha products this year. Click here to learn more about the new music steaming services and voice control capabilities that our latest products received.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Joel Kennedy started writing before he could talk, only now it’s legible. His creative writing has spanned a number of genres – from Walt Disney World trip planning, financial services and pest management to craft beer and consumer audio – essentially the finer things in life (minus the termites). Musically, he’s progressed from show choir and clarinet in grade school to rock star in high school and college. He now plays guitar primarily in his bedroom – a space he shares with his wife, which is adjacent to his two sons’ bedroom at their home in Orange, California.

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