from the let-the-whac-a-mole-commence! dept
If you’ve recently decided to jump on board the ultra-high-definition (UHD) and 4K TV craze and bought a shiny new UHD set, you’ve probably run into HDCP (High-Bandwidth Digital Content Protection) 2.2 by now. It’s the latest version of the entertainment industry’s video copy protection standard designed to secure UHD content. Unfortunately for consumers who rushed out to buy a new 4KTV set, they soon realized that every device in your home theater chain needs to support HDCP 2.2 in order to enjoy UHD.
That means that anybody with a new HDCP 2.2 compliant set also needs to spend money to upgrade their home audio receiver to one that’s HDCP 2.2 compliant, just so the entertainment industry can be provided with a false sense of security for a standard everybody knows will be bypassed in months.
And bypassed it quickly was. Last November copies of most major UHD/4K movies started showing up on BitTorrent. It’s believed that most of these copies were thanks to a Chinese company by the name of LegendSky, which has been selling HDCP 2.2 stripping hardware under the HDFury brand. Variations of these sleek-looking devices start at $200 and sit between HDCP 2.2 compliant devices:
“HDCP plays a critical role in linking consumer electronics devices, personal computers, cable and satellite set-top boxes, and other Digital Devices to allow consumers to access and enjoy digital audiovisual content across a wide array of products, all while effectively protecting the rights of copyright owners and controlling access to copyrighted digital content.
Of course, the only thing HDCP 2.2 “links” is the consumer’s wallet to companies making new HDCP 2.2 compliant home theater components they may or may not actually need. Warner Brothers hopes that it can get HDFury’s gear off the market before the company releases 35 movies on Ultra HD Blu-ray for the first time later this year. But the damage has been done, and it’s only a matter of time before countless more HDCP 2.2 bypassing solutions flood the market, once again highlighting DRM’s incredible ability to do little more than eat money and annoy paying consumers.