German geek shave cracked the protection that prevents the theft of HD video. Specifically the HDCP protection that protects Blu-ray movies has been cracked. Intel is the company behind the encryption that was cracked. HDCP is used on a bunch of HD video signals including HDMI, DVI, and DisplayPort.
This prevents the theft of the HD video by pirates until now. A group of computer scientists at Ruhr University in Germany have created a custom board to break the encryption using cheap FPGA chips. The chip used was a Xilinx Spartan-6 FPGA with an HDMI port and serial RS232 communication port. The board sat between the Blu-ray player and the TV, captured the data, and decrypted it.
The total cost of the board used was a bit over $200. The board was constructed by the researchers as a project in copy protection. Apparently, the project will not be interesting to pirates who capture their video form receivers. The team says that the intention was to investigate the fundamental security of HDCP and measure what it would cost to beat the encryption.