Apple TV: To HDCP, or Not to HDCP


Could Apple’s new living room device lack certain DRM? That’s what Cory Doctorow of BoingBoing has heard: the Apple TV does not include HDCP (High-Bandwidth Digital Copy Protection), the copy protection hardware paired with digital video and audio inputs and outputs in an attempt to thwart the unauthorized duplication of high definition media.

Today Liz confirmed with an Apple spokesperson on the floor at Macworld that the current model devices do not have HDCP. He said the decision to include or exclude HDCP may be made in the month before Apple TVs ship in February.

The license holder for HDCP, Digital Content Protection LLC, does not have Apple listed as a licensee, but Apple could be trading through a reseller. It does have the Walt Disney Company listed as a content participant.

I’m a firm believer that the most widely adopted hardware systems are generally the most open, and that Apple will sell more Apple TVs if it’s discovered that any copy protection schemes are absent or easily circumvented. Regardless, it’s only a matter of time until someone is watching Divx-encoded movies or running Linux on the thing. Of course, HDCP is reportedly already compromised.

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