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USB BluRay Players and HDCP

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Hi, I'm about to buy a new laptop/all-in-one PC and want to make sure it'll deal with HD. I'll likely upgrade to an external Bluray player/burner in the future. But will I need to make sure the laptop has an HDMI i/p to allow HDCP protected material to play with out complaining or having the resolution scaled down? (And similarly for external HDTV terrestrial/satellite tuners.) Most of the Blu-Ray players I've seen seem to have a USB port but I didnt think HDCP was used over USB?
post #2 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by RevRhubar View Post

Hi, I'm about to buy a new laptop/all-in-one PC and want to make sure it'll deal with HD. I'll likely upgrade to an external Bluray player/burner in the future. But will I need to make sure the laptop has an HDMI i/p to allow HDCP protected material to play with out complaining or having the resolution scaled down?

As far as I know, all the Blu-Ray player software for Windows requires a full secure video path, which includes requiring HDCP on the video path, all the way out to the display. Whether that means HDMI, or DVI+HDCP, it doesn't matter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RevRhubar View Post

(And similarly for external HDTV terrestrial/satellite tuners.)

There are no such restrictions for PC ATSC reception equipment. There are, however, *no* devices available to customers to receive either DirecTV or Dish/E* content. Such hardware has been demonstrated, but the units demonstrated have been stated to not be intended to be brought to retail availability. I don't know if Windows Media Center's protected content (like for streams acquired via CableCARD) requires a secure video path; odds are fair that it does, though.

Edit: That said, you can use devices like Hauppauge's PC DVR video capture device, but that uses component video, re-digitizing and re-encoding the video, with some level of quality loss. I think it may even integrate with Windows Media Center now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RevRhubar View Post

Most of the Blu-Ray players I've seen seem to have a USB port but I didnt think HDCP was used over USB?

HDCP isn't used over USB. However, there is an encrypted transport used via the SCSI-3 command subset used for talking to DVD and Blu-Ray drives reading protected content, which does extend to USB attached devices. So yes, officially licensed playback software does encrypt that content wherever possible. HDCP is only an encryption protocol used for the DVI (and HDMI, as it's an offshoot of DVI) protocol layers. (It may be used for secure DisplayLink transports too, not sure.)
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your reply demonfoo.
Quote:
HDCP isn't used over USB. However, there is an encrypted transport used via the SCSI-3 command subset used for talking to DVD and Blu-Ray drives reading protected content, which does extend to USB attached devices. So yes, officially licensed playback software does encrypt that content wherever possible. HDCP is only an encryption protocol used for the DVI (and HDMI, as it's an offshoot of DVI) protocol layers. (It may be used for secure DisplayLink transports too, not sure.)

Not sure what you mean here. Are you saying external USB blu-Ray players should play HDCP disks?

This is a USB terrestial TV receiver that claims to receive HDTV. (Its for the British market)...
hauppauge.co.uk/site/products/data_ministickhd.html
(Sorry its not a clickable links but the system wount let me do this yet.)
It doesnt mention HDCP but I would think HDTV is just as much a target for pirates as Blu-ray. And I believe SKY (British commercial satellite broadcaster) uses HDCP already. So I'm just worried if I buy one of these things the broadcasters will eventually turn on the HDCP and my USB receiver will become useless.

My main issue is: do I need to buy a laptop with an HDMI input (as well as an HDCP compliant graphics card etc) to be able to watch Blu-Ray and HDTV HDCP activated material, or will USB 2 be fine?
post #4 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by RevRhubar View Post

Not sure what you mean here. Are you saying external USB blu-Ray players should play HDCP disks?

As I said, HDCP has nothing to do with the disk, it's strictly an encryption system for the video output connection path. But yes, a USB attached Blu-Ray drive will play Blu-Ray Discs that have protected (AACS or BD+) content, as long as you have an appropriate software player to do the heavy lifting. Windows by itself can't play Blu-Ray Discs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RevRhubar View Post

This is a USB terrestial TV receiver that claims to receive HDTV. (Its for the British market)...
hauppauge.co.uk/site/products/data_ministickhd.html
(Sorry its not a clickable links but the system wount let me do this yet.)
It doesnt mention HDCP but I would think HDTV is just as much a target for pirates as Blu-ray. And I believe SKY (British commercial satellite broadcaster) uses HDCP already. So I'm just worried if I buy one of these things the broadcasters will eventually turn on the HDCP and my USB receiver will become useless.

Only the set-tops would apply HDCP to the video output. It only applies to the display connection path. I don't know if DVB-T incorporates any encryption algorithms, but I know DVB-S can (that's part of what the access card does). The device you mention is for terrestrial (i.e., antenna, not satellite) broadcasts, so I don't think Sky satellite service would apply. You might want to do some more research on that, but I'm fairly sure that wouldn't work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RevRhubar View Post

My main issue is: do I need to buy a laptop with an HDMI input (as well as an HDCP compliant graphics card etc) to be able to watch Blu-Ray and HDTV HDCP activated material, or will USB 2 be fine?

There are no PCs with HDMI inputs, and no capture boards that can capture material encrypted with HDCP over HDMI/DVI. So if you can't capture it with a USB tuner device, or Hauppauge's HD-PVR box, you won't be able to get it into a laptop. (At least, not in HD quality.)
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by demonfoo View Post

As I said, HDCP has nothing to do with the disk, it's strictly an encryption system for the video output connection path. But yes, a USB attached Blu-Ray drive will play Blu-Ray Discs that have protected (AACS or BD+) content, as long as you have an appropriate software player to do the heavy lifting. Windows by itself can't play Blu-Ray Discs.

Great. Thanks for clearing that up. Out of interest, does this not mean that the USB connection is a 'weak link' in preventing illegal copying? I.e. whats to stop a pirate taping into the USB signal and extracting the unprotected video/audio data? As I understand it, each device in the signal path must handshake with the downstream device to ensure it is HDCP compliant before it will send on the data. If USB doesnt support HDCP how can the Blu-Ray player allow the data to be sent over USB? Unless the Blu-Ray drive just sends the encrypted data over USB but handshakes directly with the HDCP compliant graphics card or something. See this link also (its a bit old and I cant find articles to suggest that it has now been implemented) ...
hdtvuk.tv/2008/01/usb_could_be_us.html

Quote:


Only the set-tops would apply HDCP to the video output. It only applies to the display connection path. I don't know if DVB-T incorporates any encryption algorithms, but I know DVB-S can (that's part of what the access card does). The device you mention is for terrestrial (i.e., antenna, not satellite) broadcasts, so I don't think Sky satellite service would apply. You might want to do some more research on that, but I'm fairly sure that wouldn't work.

The device mentioned is for terrestrial (Freeview), but you seem to be able to get USB tuners for HDTV satellite (SKY or Freesat) also.

Quote:


There are no PCs with HDMI inputs, and no capture boards that can capture material encrypted with HDCP over HDMI/DVI. So if you can't capture it with a USB tuner device, or Hauppauge's HD-PVR box, you won't be able to get it into a laptop. (At least, not in HD quality.)

Some newer hi-res laptop/all-in-one PCs do have HDMI in (allows you to access the monitor directly). (E.g. the Asus eeeTop 2203T but its a bit expensive so I was thinking about the cheaper Lenovo B500 instead. usa.asus.com/product.aspx?P_ID=3lDDGLp7Xa1NiCzy )
post #6 of 9
That HDMI input is for display only (if you want to connect a PS3 to your display, for example). Your PC has no way to process or 'record' it.

So, technically, the PC does not have a HDMI in. The monitor has a HDMI in.
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
Okay maybe we're going a bit of track here. My original question was just about what inputs I need so I can buy a single laptop/AIO that I can use as a computer but allows me to upgrade to play HD disks and watch HDTV. Buts it looks like USB should be adequate.
post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by RevRhubar View Post

Great. Thanks for clearing that up. Out of interest, does this not mean that the USB connection is a 'weak link' in preventing illegal copying? I.e. whats to stop a pirate taping into the USB signal and extracting the unprotected video/audio data?

AACS and BD+ themselves are the weak link.

Quote:
As I understand it, each device in the signal path must handshake with the downstream device to ensure it is HDCP compliant before it will send on the data.

That's how HDCP works, yes, but HDCP doesn't come into play until after the player (the device/application that does the audio/video decoding/presentation) not the reader has decrypted and decoded the content.

The content read off the disc is AACS protected and it's the host CPU (or potentially separate security procesor eg in a stanalone) that removes AACS and does the decoding and presentation.

The data that flows across the USB, or SATA, or IDE bus is "scrambled" by AACS, so it's not travelling unprotected over a User Accessible Bus.

Quote:
If USB doesnt support HDCP how can the Blu-Ray player allow the data to be sent over USB? Unless the Blu-Ray drive just sends the encrypted data over USB but handshakes directly with the HDCP compliant graphics card or something.

Again, there's no HCDP in play at all until the player presents the video to the HDMI/DVI bus.
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks stanger89 your explanation makes sense.
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