High-Bandwidth Digital Content Protection

What Does High-Bandwidth Digital Content Protection Mean?

High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) is a specification geared toward eliminating source and display data interception. HDCP enhances security during electronic data transport of high-bandwidth media, such as videos and audios. A key exchange occurs between the source and display device prior to the authentication process.


HDCP was launched by Intel Corporation in the mid-1990s and later licensed by Digital Content Protection, LLC.

Techopedia Explains High-Bandwidth Digital Content Protection

Digital conversion devices, like DVD players, query display equipment to verify HDCP standard compliance. Once established, the HDCP encrypted video may be viewed. Without compliance, a video may not function properly.

Any copyrighted digital entertainment content that uses the Digital Video Interface (DVI) also uses transmission encryption technology. HDCP is proprietary in nature. Technically, HDCP provides content protection, versus copyright protection, as it enforces current content restrictions through a transmission and receipt verification process.

In 2001, cryptanalysis research experts revealed an easy technique for cracking HDCP.

In 2004, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved HDCP, which was struck down. However, the FCC attempted a mandate on all HDTV signal devices that displayed copyright protected videos or audios.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…