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:
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:
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.