Wednesday, March 14, 2007

50" of Blackness or How I now hate HDCP DRM

As you well know I am currently enjoying my super huge 50" HDTV. I recently got some HD hookup from Time Warner cable and they supplied me with a HD set-top-box that has dual tuners and can record in HD format as well (with no huge payments - eat that Tivo).

The cable installer hooked up my box via Component cables. I requested HDMI but he said they only hook up Component, but I could use HDMI later on if I wanted to on my own. I figured this was because HDMI cables can be kind of pricey and to keep their cost down (and some TV's bought awhile back didnt include HDMI) they just used Component.

Fast forward to a few days ago, I'm watching some TV. Some documentary I think that I have recorded and poof my TV goes off. Powers down completely. I freak out for a second and then I think, 'Mmmm maybe it just got too hot and shut itself down for safety'. So I let it cool and it does it again, and again and again. I unplug it to clear it's memory and all sorts of stuff but it does it about every 30 minutes or so. Then the next day - nothing - not a trace of the problem and all is well. Then that night it starts up again. I figure if it keeps doing it I'll call on Monday and have someone at Samsung come and look at it (in home service rocks).

Two days pass and it's fine. I use the TV for hours and hours without an issue. I start thinking about the problem. Every time it did that the cable box would stop functioning - I could only turn it off. So I start thinking that it's sending a wonky signal to the TV and the TV is shutting off instead of puking. So it does it last night and I power off the cable box, power the box back on and then power the TV back on (previously I was cable off, TV on, cable on) and blamo I see a nice big black screen that says:
Your TV does not support HDCP, please use the YCbCr cables (Component) for further service.

HDCP is High Definition Content Protection, DRM bullshit that works over DVI or HDMI based connections. So at some point while using the TV at certain times, one of the other tuners in the box was off doing it's own thing and flipping to some copy protected channel and the set-top-box must have been trying to negotiate some old jank ass key to my brand new TV and killing it.

I would have never seen the error if I didnt power on the stuff in the specific order, it sends a fail command that shuts your damn TV off. So this is the future of TV. When we are fully digital and hi-def if your keys dont match or something happens it will just turn your damn TV off - Ugh. Supposedly it's only supposed to downsample the picture, but apparently there are still some bugs in the system.

At any rate this ONLY happens via DVI or HDMI connections, so I am back to my component cables. I guess I wasnt getting any benefit from the HDMI cable anyway. *sigh* fucking DRM.

More reading on how HDMI and HDCP can suck a big DICK.


  1. haha!

    i know a guy with a REAL nice Sony CRT TV for cheap :)

  2. Happy Birthday, tomorrow.

  3. Man, you know what? I have a 32" RCA HDTV. And for some odd reason, sometimes when I play my Xbox 360, my tv randomly shuts off. It pisses me off to the point I want to throw something through my tv. And it's only my 360. My dvd player, gamecube, and regular Xbox are all hooked up with component cables, as well as my 360. But the 360 is the only thing that causes this problem. So don't feel so bad. You aren't alone in the world.

  4. Wow. I saw you said something about turning things on in a specific order. Now when I turn my 360 on before my tv, the damn thing works just fine. Then I turned the tv on before the Xbox and it was doing it again. You are an unrecognized life saver. Thanks!