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Dish and HDCP / HDMI


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#1 Cyberdave

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Posted 30 September 2011 - 06:11 PM

Tried to watch a PPV movie on Dish and got a HDCP error. Called Dish and was told to disconnect HDMI and install component cables to view DRM protected content. He also mentioned that HBO and Cine Max have or will implement the same HDCP protection. I did a quick Goggle search on HDCP / HDMI and there are many, many links to the hacks for copying DRM content via HDMI cables. Rather than fix the issue or prosecute the hackers, the DRM holders are forcing the viewers to use component cables. I am not going to go out and buy component cables and bypass my switch box just to watch a movie.
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#2 Mark & Dale Bruss

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Posted 30 September 2011 - 06:23 PM

This is an unusual problem as Dish was one of the first to implement DRM controls which HDMI cable were designed for.

If this was a prevalent problem, it would have shown up on the satelliteguys Forums, and it hasn't.

This sounds more like a CSR who didn't troubleshoot the problem enough.

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#3 docj

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Posted 30 September 2011 - 06:24 PM

I think the Dish CSR failed to provide a proper explanation of what the HDCP error is and why changing cables would eliminate the issue. The problem arises because one of your system components, most likely your HDTV, is not HDCP-compliant. Since HDCP-compliance is only an issue with digital signals, a work-around is the use of component cables as was suggested. The DRM folks are not forcing people to use component cables IF their components are HDCP-compliant.

Here's an explanation of the HDCP issue that I took from another website:

What is a HDCP error? Here is a real life situation that happened that could happen to you.
You just bought a Blu-ray Disc Player and connected it to your older HDTV with a HDMI cable. When you tried playing a Blu-ray disc a HDCP error was shown on the screen. The movie wouldn't play.

This is a known issue with HDCP, and it's one of the biggest hassles consumers will have to deal with when utilizing a HDMI cable on their HDTV. You will get a HDCP error if you try watching HDCP encoded content when using a HDMI cable.

The problem is that if HDCP exists anywhere in the video stream then all devices and cables accessing this content must be HDCP compliant. If one device or cable isn't HDCP compliant then you get a HDCP error.

The only solution is to either replace the HDMI cable with a non-digital cable or replace the HDCP-less device. This could mean buying a new HDTV.
In fact, I worked with a reader last year troubleshooting a HDCP error on his TV. What happened is that he bought a Blu-ray Disc Player and connected everything properly only to get a HDCP error. After a few emails back and forth we discovered that his HDTV wasn't HDCP compatible, which is why he got the HDCP error.

The reader ended up buying a newer HDTV with HDCP, and his Blu-ray Disc Player worked perfectly with HDMI cables.

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#4 Mark & Dale Bruss

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Posted 30 September 2011 - 06:56 PM

I went and check satelliteguys to clarify the HDCP error.

In the future, it could be the case that a HDCP channel like HBO won't show at all without HDMI cables and HDCP compatible eqquipment.

As docj said, the issue is something with a non-standard HDMI implementation, probably your TV.

You can bitch about this but if people didn't steal digital intellectual property, these rules wouldn't have been implemented.

This is why a recorded pay-per-view movie is viewable for only 24 hours.

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#5 Stanley P. Miller

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Posted 30 September 2011 - 07:35 PM

Another thing to keep in mind is that your switchbox or splitter must meet all the HDMI / HDCP rules and standards or you won't get a picture.

I'm not in favor of the whole HDCP (high definition copy protection) program as it makes hooking up your gear an expensive nightmare. HDMI on the other hand is a really good standard and near zero hassle, it is just that they put the HDCP on top of it.

We just finished a really frustrating mess with our Dish box, Dish not at fault in any way. We went from the Dish box to a HDMI/HDCP splitter that is a very good unit and then to two TV sets. According to the HDMI rules as long as the two sets can agree on a common signal that the splitter can get the Dish box to provide all should work.

Of course it doesn't really work out all that well, the HDMI part ticks along like clockwork but when the HDCP kicks in you get blue-screens and in our case one TV turning off when it couldn't get the HDCP stuff right. Too the HDCP negotiation takes several seconds during which both TVs blink at you.

Upgrading to a newer switch box and re-flashing both TV's firmware appears to have solved the problem.

A good source for cables, switches and splitters is monoprice.com they offer good gear at very good prices and have never had a problem taking back something that didn't work.

Beating the HDCP system is always a possibility but if you do try that keep in mind the folks helping others beat copy protection on Direct and Dish boxes a while back and how some of them traded their customer lists for reduced sentences. Needless to say the folks handed over had their own problem to deal with at that point.

For best results make sure all HDMI stuff meets the latest standards, refresh your firmware on all your devices, use good quality (not expensive junk) cables and connectors. Keep cable lengths well under the standard or upgrade to heavier cables or amplifiers. Plug the signal source directly into one device at a time and make sure all is working before adding splitters, home theater boxes or an extra TV or two. If you run into a problem along the way try to duplicate it with a simple setup, all too often you'll be told "we don't support that" if you call in with something complicated.

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#6 Zulu

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Posted 30 September 2011 - 09:12 PM

HDMI on the other hand is a really good standard and near zero hassle, it is just that they put the HDCP on top of it.

For best results make sure all HDMI stuff meets the latest standards, refresh your firmware on all your devices, use good quality (not expensive junk) cables and connectors. Keep cable lengths well under the standard or upgrade to heavier cables or amplifiers. Plug the signal source directly into one device at a time and make sure all is working before adding splitters, home theater boxes or an extra TV or two. If you run into a problem along the way try to duplicate it with a simple setup, all too often you'll be told "we don't support that" if you call in with something complicated.

Your last paragraph pretty much contradicts your 1st.

The single cable HDMI solution sure loses its luster after refreshing firmware, buying $$ cables, plugging things in in a correct order, . . .

Component video looks better and better all the time -- no DRM, robust, and HDMI cables seem to pull out very easily.

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#7 Mark & Dale Bruss

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Posted 30 September 2011 - 10:03 PM

Component video looks better and better all the time -- no DRM, robust, and HDMI cables seem to pull out very easily.


Lest you under estimate the effects.

When there is no qualified HDMI device on the other end of the HDMI cable, then the device's, (DVR in this case) outputs (including the analog ones) are downgraded from HD (1080i or 1080p).

So with component video cables you will get a picture but it will not be HD. The firmware/signal provider(HBO in this case) can put up a warning instead of the show.

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#8 HobbyTalk

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Posted 30 September 2011 - 10:24 PM

When there is no qualified HDMI device on the other end of the HDMI cable, then the device's, (DVR in this case) outputs (including the analog ones) are downgraded from HD (1080i or 1080p).

So with component video cables you will get a picture but it will not be HD. The firmware/signal provider(HBO in this case) can put up a warning instead of the show.

Using component cables on a Dish receiver will absolutely give you either a 720P or 1080i signal depending on the setting you have on the receiver. That doesn't mean that they "could" degrade the signal but at this time none of them are doing it.
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#9 Stanley P. Miller

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Posted 01 October 2011 - 12:06 AM

On the contradiction you mentioned, you are confusing HDMI and HDCP, HDMI works just fine, it is the HDCP that causes all the problems with switches and splitters with multiple devices.

There is a difference in trying to locate and identify a problem in the simplest possible test case and what you actually want to have hooked up. To get assistance from the manufacturer you want the simplest possible test case that shows the problem. Once it is fixed you can go back to what you want to have hooked up.

Every good quality HDMI cable I have used fits securely into the connectors, I'd not worry a lot about them pulling out any more than an RCA or Svideo connector. They do make angle connectors in a variety of directions or hinged ones if you want to orient the cable for the least stress, you can even use a short highly flexible pigtail if you want. We put a lot of miles on our fiver and never had a cable come out of the socket.

Your last paragraph pretty much contradicts your 1st.

The single cable HDMI solution sure loses its luster after refreshing firmware, buying $$ cables, plugging things in in a correct order, . . .

Component video looks better and better all the time -- no DRM, robust, and HDMI cables seem to pull out very easily.


As to no DRM, you are not going to see that as all HDCP hardware has that built in and it is under control of the device owner. That basically means that they can push a button and the analog outputs drop back to a resolution of their choice and you have no control over it. For a short term solution analog can be simpler but you get no promise of how long it will work.

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#10 mrschwarz

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Posted 01 October 2011 - 06:46 AM

I am not sure I would worry too much about not getting 1080p. Very little is broadcast at that resolution. Most of the channels on Dish are 720p (which is still considered HD).

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#11 Mark & Dale Bruss

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Posted 01 October 2011 - 07:33 AM

I am not sure I would worry too much about not getting 1080p. Very little is broadcast at that resolution. Most of the channels on Dish are 720p (which is still considered HD).


Yes, currently Dish only has 1080p in VOD which comes in over the Internet.

When HDCP comes in, the video is limited to 480p, at best.

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#12 Zulu

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Posted 01 October 2011 - 08:04 AM

As to no DRM, you are not going to see that as all HDCP hardware has that built in and it is under control of the device owner. That basically means that they can push a button and the analog outputs drop back to a resolution of their choice and you have no control over it.

The dreaded ICT flag?

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#13 Stanley P. Miller

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Posted 01 October 2011 - 11:16 AM

I try to get all my equipment to run at 1080p just to make it all happy when using splitters. For the maximum possible quality from all your sets they also need to support identical bit depths, frame rates and a couple other things I can't recall and that my old eyes don't notice.

A splitter is like fractions back in grade school, it finds the highest common denominator (mode of operation) supported by every device attached and powered on and then asks the signal source to provide that mode or the highest common mode it supports. They may be small and not look like much but there is a hefty amount of computing power built into them.



At some point ICT is going to happen, the older gear is going to be declared obsolete by the content providers and they will insist on the protection being enabled to view their content. Best to not worry about it, just get compliant equipment so when it happens you aren't going to drop your picture until you upgrade hardware.

https://secure.wikim...onstraint_Token

Reading some of the reviews on Monoprice or other splitter sales places can be educational but all too often reminiscent of asking your buddy "So how did the visit to the dentist go?" But better to be forewarned than surprised, saves return postage too.

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#14 Zulu

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Posted 01 October 2011 - 04:14 PM

At some point ICT is going to happen, the older gear is going to be declared obsolete by the content providers and they will insist on the protection being enabled to view their content. Best to not worry about it, just get compliant equipment so when it happens you aren't going to drop your picture until you upgrade hardware.

So if you have non-compliant equipment (like component cabling), your picture gets downgraded, right?

I read that 2012 is when ICT happens.

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#15 Mark & Dale Bruss

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Posted 01 October 2011 - 06:49 PM

It is happening on HBO Comedy now. Some of the people are getting warning labels and not a down graded picture.

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#16 Stanley P. Miller

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Posted 01 October 2011 - 07:01 PM

The cable is going to be the last place to look for problems, HDMI is very tolerant of the signal condition, we have a couple 28 AWG high-speed 35 foot cables in the house, no amplifier or conditioner and running from a standard ($25 for an #8204 at monoprice) splitter to the back of the TV set or our AV amplifier.

If you can get the HDCP to negotiate over the cable 99% of the time it will do fine for picture information.

The big-box retailers and a lot of on-line places will sell you a wonderful cable and magic boxes that do all kinds of amazing things. The problem is that HDMI is a digital signal and none of that really matters, if the signal is good enough to lock in the picture nothing else really matters. About the only things to look for on equipment are the HDMI label, the"High-Speed" and "Version 1.3" ratings, cables may not mention the HDMI version, just speed, see the 1.4 article at the end of this post.

Standard (or “category 1”) HDMI cables, 75Mhz - 720p/1080i signal. (Do not buy these)

High Speed (or “category 2”) HDMI cables, 340Mhz - 1080p signals and better color/faster refresh.

For consumers, there is no difference between HDMI version 1.3 and 1.3a or 1.3b.


Going from 28 AWG to 24 or 22 AWG makes a difference somewhere out past about 40 feet but the cables are so stiff you risk damaging your gear without the use of a flexible pig-tail at each end. Of course the pig-tail adds a couple junctions to the cable run. Might be better to get an equalized or amplified splitter and skip the pig-tails. Do not buy "standard speed" cables unless you are using old gear and plan to toss the cables when the old gear dies.

----------------

21 pages of good reading for technical folks, a bit much for people that just want the stupid TV to work:
http://www.hdmi.org/pdf/whitepaper/SilicaonImageHDMIWhitePaperv73(2).pdf

11 pages of the above that are a bit less technical:
http://www.hdmi.org/pdf/whitepaper/SiliconImageHDMIWhitePaperv73CondensedVersion.pdf

Simple questions and answers for anyone:
http://www.hdmi.org/learningcenter/faq.aspx

A key point on these FAQs and specs is that the spec lists possible features, not mandatory features so you are only promised the minimal set required by the version of the spec you buy, not every possibility. Read carefully for the features you want and don't get distracted by the number. (That sounds like my heavy truck shopping warning, ignore the "Class" rating and shop by the actual truck's rating.) The sellers are looking for something simple for the BIG PRINT on the front of the package, as a consumer what you want will be in the fine print on the back, if it isn't there keep shopping.

This one should be read by anyone shopping for TV gear:
What are the HDMI-related questions consumers should ask when shopping for a new CE or PC device?
http://www.hdmi.org/learningcenter/faq.aspx#96

What’s new in the HDMI 1.3 Specification?
http://www.hdmi.org/learningcenter/faq.aspx#15

What functionality was added to each version of HDMI?
http://www.hdmi.org/learningcenter/faq.aspx#12

----------------

Good reading and videos on home theater systems, Crutchfield are not bad folks to shop with either:

TVs, Blu-ray & Video
http://www.crutchfield.com/S-3fmAgOqfdi1/App/Learn/Article/Menu.aspx?c=16&tp=3

Home Theater & Audio
http://www.crutchfield.com/S-3fmAgOqfdi1/App/Learn/Article/Menu.aspx?c=4&tp=4

----------------

Other thoughts:

-- Getting ferrite beads on the cable ends? I don't know if it is a good or bad idea, have both and can't see any difference.

-- Getting Ethernet capability in your HDMI cable? Good idea if your gear supports it, saves running wire or getting WiFi to work.

-- Getting "Consumer Electronic Control" compatible devices? Sounds good if they all will work together and through your switches/splitters/amplifiers. We have had a couple minor issues with this and disabled it as the gain wasn't worth the hassle for us since we have so much old (4 years) gear that won't do the latest tricks. If we were buying new gear to replace everything then we'd make sure this worked.

-- Connecting different types of video signals? http://www.monoprice...p?pn=help&idx=1

-- No post would be complete without a wiki link! https://secure.wikim...ia/en/wiki/HDMI

-----------------

And just when you thought I was done ruining your day! Version 1.4 of HDMI is in the works so all your new toys will be outdated by the time you pay them off.

Introduction to HDMI 1.4
http://www.monoprice.com/home/home.asp?pn=help&idx=2

So who hit the Lotto and is going to be getting a 3840x2160 or a 4096x2160 screen?

Edited by Stanley P. Miller, 01 October 2011 - 07:02 PM.

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#17 Cyberdave

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Posted 01 October 2011 - 08:40 PM

Stan,

When you said Monoprice a light dimly turned on... I forgot that I added a Monoprice HDMI switch... Think I'll do a little elimination testing...
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#18 docj

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Posted 01 October 2011 - 08:43 PM

The big-box retailers and a lot of on-line places will sell you a wonderful cable and magic boxes that do all kinds of amazing things. The problem is that HDMI is a digital signal and none of that really matters, if the signal is good enough to lock in the picture nothing else really matters. About the only things to look for on equipment are the HDMI label, the"High-Speed" and "Version 1.3" ratings, cables may not mention the HDMI version, just speed, see the 1.4 article at the end of this post.


Amen to this. Most people don't realize that the one of the highest mark-up items in an electronics store is cable. That's how the store makes its profit after it sells you a TV at 5% over cost. It sells you hyper-marketed Monster cables that everyone "knows" must be better because "thicker is better." When I owned an online electronics store we made great points with customers because we would throw in HDMI cables for free a few years ago when Best Buy would sell them for $30 or more. What they didn't know was that we were providing high quality cables that we bought in "open box" lots for literally pennies apiece. Even new, the wholesale cost on bulk HDMI cables was ~$2-3 each.

As Stan has already noted, for digital cable, the marketing and thickness don't matter one iota. The cheapest, thinnest HDMI cable will work every bit as well as any other at least over distances up to ~30 feet. Beyond that there can be some degradation, but you would be better served by buying a cable with a built in repeater than by paying the exorbitant prices charged by Monster.

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#19 Stanley P. Miller

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Posted 01 October 2011 - 10:02 PM

Denon used to have a "Super Cable" they listed in what I hope was a parody.

Google's cached version: https://webcache.goo...n&ct=clnk&gl=us

The cable I use instead: http://www.monoprice...&seq=1&format=2

So hard to decide, the $499.00 Denon one or the MonoPrice for $0.74?

Mine is also a pretty color to make it easy to find in the rat's nest behind the TV.

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#20 docj

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Posted 02 October 2011 - 07:39 AM

Denon used to have a "Super Cable" they listed in what I hope was a parody.

Google's cached version: https://webcache.goo...n&ct=clnk&gl=us


Stan--

You've made my day. The cable wasn't a parody but amazingly was advertised at those prices and I guess some people must have bought it. You can find used ones on Amazon here: Denon cable

What's hysterical is to read the Amazon customer reviews for it--they are, indeed, parodies and are priceless. One said it "Solved global warming in the vicinity of his home", others described hysterical scenarios of what happened to them after using these cables, some of which are not suitable for a family forum.

Thank you so much for starting my day with a smile.

Joel

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