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4 TVs connected to HR34 - HDCP problems...looking for solution

Discussion in 'DIRECTV HD DVR/Receiver Discussion' started by jeremyf0923, Feb 21, 2013.

  1. jeremyf0923

    jeremyf0923 New Member

    Feb 21, 2013
    Good evening,

    Did some searches on this before I posted, but couldn't find my scenario exactly. I have an HR34 with HDMI running to my receiver and on to the primary TV in my home theater room. I then have component video from the HR34 running into a powered distribution amplifier with component video running to each of the other 3 TVs in my basement. Everything works perfect on those 3 TVs with the exception of the 500 channels (HBO, Starz, etc.). When I go to one of those channels I get the following message: "Your TV does not support this program's content protection. Replacing the TV's HDMI cable with component cables will allow you to view the program."

    So from what I've read I could run component video from the HR34 to my primary TV (ditch HDMI completely) and it would "fix" the other 3 TVs , but I really don't want to do that because I don't want to have to change the inputs on my primary TV each time I change my video source. Are there any other ways to make this work without changing my current set up? If I end up having to ditch the HDMI, what do I lose? I know I would have to run a digital audio cable, and with component video I can't get resolution higher than 1080i - but is there anything else other than the convenience of having all video sources running from my receiver to a single input on my primary TV?

    Please let me know your thoughts on this.

    Thanks in advance!

  2. bpratt

    bpratt Godfather

    Nov 24, 2005
    Salt Lake...
  3. sheltrk

    sheltrk AllStar

    Nov 1, 2007
    I'm afraid HDCP issues are always going to be a potential problem any time you mix HDMI with Component. We're living in the the DMCA/DRM age, for better or for worse.
    You basically have two options that I'm aware of:
    1. Going all HDMI would solve your problems (but at some non-trivial added expense). If you need to do a long run, I've recently had success with Redmere cables. In my somewhat limited experience with HDMI and splitters: It's a workable solution, but be aware that turning *on* any TV sharing the same HDMI source will cause a temporary disruption in all the other TVs, as they have to re-negotiate HDMI handshakes. Turning *off* one TV doesn't do this, though.
    2. All component: Side note on 1080p--1080p only applies to PPV or Blu-ray, not broadcast. The cable can do it in terms of bandwidth, but constantly evolving DRM rules may not allow it depending on the devices involved. For now though:
    1080i/720p video via component v 1080i/720p video via HDMI: component is more susceptible to picking up noise, but for a short run you probably won't see much difference. Best to just try it and see.
    HDMI Audio v. SPDIF Audio. For broadcast, I don't think you will hear any difference. Broadcast specs call for DD 5.1 (lossy). (Someone can check me on that? I don't think any broadcaster is pushing HD audio yet?) HDMI can transmit lossless HD audio, but only via Blu-ray. You may hear a difference, depending on your receiver, speakers, ears and the content. Easy enough to try!

    My two cents.
  4. TomCat

    TomCat Broadcast Engineer

    Aug 31, 2002
    I have 4 DVRs connected by HDMI to a switcher, with two outputs to two TVs. That all works as it should. Two of the TVs also connect by S-Video to a SD DVDR, which allows 16:9 SD copies of HD shows. That normally works also.

    But on some shows I get the nag screen, and inconsistently, and it seems to not show on the DVRs only connected by HDMI. If that is supposed to thwart copying, I am not sure why it seems to only apply to SD copies; it seems that HD copies is what the fuss is all about.

    Some shows will not let me make copies to a DVDRW+ on the DVDR. But it will let me copy to the internal HDD on that same DVDR, and then I can do a lossless dub to DVDRW+, so I am not sure how well that is working out for them. It seems to not prevent illegal copying, yet it seems to prevent legal copying.

    Bottom line, I think digital rights methods seem to be not well thought out, an uneccessary PITA, and not as effective as they might have imagined.
  5. texasbrit

    texasbrit Well-Known Member

    Aug 9, 2006
    If you have one TV connected via HDMI, and others connected by component, you will only get the nag screen on the component-connected Tvs when the HDMI-connected Tv is "off", because the HDMI link is still there but it fails the HDCP compliance test. There are two ways of solving this. First, disconnect the HDMI cable when the Tv is off. Not a very elegant solution! Second, get a powered HDMI splitter (Monoprice etc), connect the HDMI-connected Tv to one of the outputs, the splitter maintains the HDCP compliance even when the TV is off. You MUST get the correct splitter, the cheap unpowered ones won't work, and some of the powered ones will only solve the problem if at least one HDMI-connected TV is on. Reading the reviews at the Monoprice web site should help, lots of people have been successful with this.
    My comments about component video apply to SD connections also - it's not those connections that are failing any test, it's the HDMI connection.
  6. TomCat

    TomCat Broadcast Engineer

    Aug 31, 2002
    I think mine must be maintaining HDCP, because with two outputs it would become a logistical nightmare if it was not; you can't require both outputs to be connected to a TV that is on to work, because sometimes you want one TV on, sometimes the other, sometimes both.

    You absolutely have to power this kind of switch; it can't be passive because you can't power-divide video to multiple outputs the way you can power-divide RF carriers in cable TV distribution, it has to be buffered and each output has to have unity gain, IOW, it has to treat the HDMI TX for its outputs as if it were a single source, regardless of the HDMI RX situation at either TV; the handshake between the switcher and the source DVR has to be separate from the handshake between the switcher and the TVs.

    It is also technically not a splitter, it is technically a VDA or video distribution amplifier tied to a switcher. The term "splitter" implies passively dividing the incoming signal. It also has a remote, and it is also very difficult to create a remote-controlled device that has no power supply, so it is not passive.

    And I don't see the nag screen if the TV is off, because all you ever see is nothing when the TV is off; the TV has to be on before a nag screen would even make sense, so I'm not sure what the purpose of a nag screen because the TV is off even is.
  7. texasbrit

    texasbrit Well-Known Member

    Aug 9, 2006
    You're missing my point. You see the nag screen on the component-connected TVs when the HDMI connected TV is off, because the HDCP compliance test on the HDMI connection fails.
  8. TomCat

    TomCat Broadcast Engineer

    Aug 31, 2002
    You are not exactly dealing with a chimp here, tex; I understood that since well before the first time you posted it, and I certainly do most appreciate you trying to help by pointing that out, even if I already knew that. And true, I agree that I may be missing your point, but that may be because your point does not apply exactly to my situation.

    First, I do not have any component-connected TVs. Second, the DVDR I am connected to by S-Video is also connected to the very same DVR via HDMI, and that is the TV I am monitoring the DVDR on, so there is no TV that is turned off. IOW, there is a HDMI connection from the DVR to a TV that is turned on, along with a S-Video connection to a DVDR, which is monitored on a separate input of that same TV.

    Here is what I don't understand, and I see that you are very helpful and knowledgeable, so maybe you can answer this: does the TV or switch box maintain a HDMI handshake on inputs that you may have switched away from? It would seem logical that a powered 4-input x 2-output HDMI switch box would have to attempt to extend the handshake to any source or destination it connects to, whether either destination TV is on or off. Otherwise, what is selected on one destination could probably interfere significantly with what happens at any moment in time on the second destination. Maybe not. It is certainly technically possible for each input on a TV to maintain a separate handshake, because each input has its own unique dedicated HDMI RX chip.

    And here's another: why would any authority care enough if the TV is off yet connected via HDMI whether HDCP authentication for that connection works or doesn't work, to put up a nag screen on a wholly-different non-HDMI, non-digital, non-HD connection to a completely different port, or even a completely different device?

    The point that I don't get is what they are trying to accomplish, and since they don't really seem to be accomplishing anything other than thwarting a perfectly-legal analog connection, it makes me wonder if their strategy isn't completely wrong-headed, broken, stupid, or some combination of all three.

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