Basic TV hack cuts HDCP copy-protection out of HDMI signal

Oct 2, 2009
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Opening up your brand new HDTV and soldering wires directly to its control board takes a certain type of devil-may-care attitude, but in doing so one new owner found he could bypass HDCP.  HDCP is the often-frustrating copy-protection system that insists on a "digital handshake" between DVI/HDMI connected components; however, the InstaPort Fast HDMI Switching system in this "big brand" TV fails to re-encrypt with HDCP in-between the control board and the switcher.

InstaPort is Silicon Image's attempt to speed up switching between different HDMI inputs, and is slowly gaining traction as manufacturers attempt to avoid frustrating remote control delays.  What tinkerer "GRitchie" discovered was that his new TV had a simple 4-to-1 HDMI hub that took four HDMI peripherals (e.g. DVD player, Blu-ray, PS3) and linked them to a single HDMI connection on the main control board.  Soldering eight wires onto the switching chip output and to a cut-up HDMI cable meant he had an unencrypted output stripped of any HDCP.

It's unclear whether this is the result of a lazy cost-cutting exercise by one TV manufacturer - the brand of set isn't mentioned - or a side-effect of InstaPort itself.  If the latter, that could lead to all manner of confusion as a quoted 9 out of 10 TV manufacturers are considering the technology for their next-gen sets.  Now we don't recommend opening up your TV and soldering things directly to it, but we are interested to see how this story pans out.

[via Hack a Day]


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