Do Any Recorders Use HDCP On Their HDMI Output?

I notice newer NVR's and DVR's are including an HDMI output which I regard as a desirable feature. Has anyone encountered any NVR or DVR which stupidly uses HDCP on its HDMI output?

By way of explanation, when video cameras and professional VTR's first started adding HDMI outputs, some of them had HDCP (copy protection) enabled so they had to be used with a monitor which supported HDCP. A monitor without HDCP support could not display the video. This was silly as anything recorded on a video camera or VTR was one's own work and so one should be free from copy-protection schemes. The unthinking implementation of HDCP in video cameras and VTR's unintentionally prevented people from using video capture hardware to capture uncompressed video from the HDMI outputs for editing.

I'm wondering if the same kind of issue may appear with NVR's and DVR's or whether the manufacturers have been sensible and disabled HDCP. If it's a non-issue, then that's one less technicality to consider when shopping for monitors for a video surveillance system.

If you have encountered any surveillance systems which required the use of a HDCP-compliant HDMI monitor, please post the brand and model of NVR or DVR in this thread to help everyone avoid this annoying problem.


Has anyone encountered any NVR or DVR which stupidly uses HDCP on its HDMI output?

I am going to go out on a limb and say any new nvr/dvr uses HDCP if it has a HDMI port. (Though there are some video cards that let you disable it.)

Either way though it is highly unlikely to be an issue because (Creak): all display devices that have HDMI input ports should be HDCP compliant.

The problem arose in the first place because the predecessor to HDMI, DVI, though sharing data formats with HDMI, was designed for computer screens not for movies, and so the early DVI monitors were not HDCP compliant. Eventually even most DVI monitors were HDCP enabled, with a notable exception being the Apple Cinema Display.

But any setup with HDMI connector out to HDMI connector in should never have this problem. (Snap!)

Hi Rukmini, from having dealt with manufacturers who just blindly left HDCP enabled, I can tell you the reason it was left enabled was because some engineer just thought it was a good idea and did not think of the consequences. Fortunately many manufacturers have been cooperative in releasing firmware to disable HDCP on devices where it served no purpose. However it is quite a time-consuming hassle to encounter this issue in the field and get it fixed. Turnaround time is usually at least 2 months and can take many more depending upon the company.

Back when I was in technical support, we used to joke about the word "should." So often I'd hear tech support people say, "This should work" or "That shouldn't happen" without taking the time to test that what they were saying was really going to happen.

So I know that all recent HDMI monitors should support HDCP and all recent NVR's and DVR's shouldn't have HDCP enabled. However unless the manufacturer has thought about HDCP and published their HDCP support in the product specifications, I've learnt not to assume that the sensible thing has been done.

Luke, I hear you loud and clear about assuming. And I would agree that blindly expecting all DVR/NVR vendors to remember to disable HDCP is pure folly.

But that is not what I am asking you to do. I am asking you to believe that all monitors with built-in HDMI ports are HDCP compliant. Why? Because any HDMI monitor sold today that is not HDCP compliant would be virtually useless to consumers and would be returned.

So in all the incompatibility problems that you have seen, can you remember if they were all DVI, or not? And I agree that some older DVI monitors won't play on a HDCP DVR.

But it seemed like you were concerned about more than just old DVI monitors not working..

Because any HDMI monitor sold today that is not HDCP compliant would be virtually useless to consumers and would be returned.

Hi Rukmini, that's not what some computer monitor manufacturers thought in the past, and possibly even now. They figured that a computer monitor was just that so it did not need to be HDCP-compliant. This in turn decreased the variety of input devices with which they had to test compatibility so it allowed them to keep costs down.

Recently I was in Vietnam and found most of the 24" monitors in shops that I visited were discontinued models from 2010 and 2011. They were more expensive than current models in USA and Australia. So I suspect the magnitude of problems with HDCP compliance might vary by country.

All of my comments in this thread were to do with HDMI, and not DVI. DVI and DisplayPort are technologies from the computer industry whereas HDMI came from the video industry but included backward compatibility for DVI.

Hi Rukmini, that's not what some computer monitor manufacturers thought in the past, and possibly even now...

Ok, if you are seeing them in the wild then they're out there. I think that maybe in addition to the list of HDCP enabled DVRs, we should start a list of non-HDCP HDMI monitors.

And then when someone has both a compliant HDCP DVR and a non-compliant HDMI monitor, then that's the combo of death, right?

Do you know any of the model#s of the non-compliant HDMI monitors that failed to work with those HDCP VTRs? Or maybe just the brand and the year?

Are you free to name those (DVR,NVR,VTR?) manufacturers who blindly enable HDCP?

Hi Rukmini, yes, that's the problematic combination.

I first became aware of problems with HDCP permanently-enabled VTR's and other equipment in 2006 so it's a pretty old problem and I don't think there's much benefit in listing old HDMI hardware in regards to HDCP issues.

What bothers me when buying new monitors is their HDCP status is often unpublished and the support people are unable to verify the status either way. Searches of the internet result in contradictory claims about the HDCP status of the same monitor.

This potential problem (and that's all that it is) won't surface unless current NVR's and DVR's have HDCP permanently enabled on their HDMI output. Therefore for simplicity's sake, I would only ask that members post brands and models of current or recent generation NVR's and DVR's where they have been found to have HDCP enabled. With a bit of luck, no one will find any examples to post to this thread if the relevant manufacturers have been sensible. I do not think it is necessary or desirable to create a list of HDCP non-compliant HDMI monitors as it has the potential to become a long list.

Ok, I'll prime the pump with this one Luke: http://www.g4direct.com/products-one/NVR/G4-HBRPRO

i know a lot of people on this site build their own servers on this site and many may just use your typical PC video cards in the standard config. These would normally have HDCP on by default, I think. What's the best method for them to disable it, or is there a card you are familiar with that comes with it off?

What bothers me when buying new monitors is their HDCP status is often unpublished and the support people are unable to verify the status either way.

When was the last time you bought an HDMI HD computer monitor and then found out it wasn't HDCP compatible? Which one?

I think that if a manufacturer has intentionally made a non-HDCP HDMI HD monitor in the last 5 years that tech support would surely be familiar with it, because even if some people never tried to use it to watch protected content, many would and many would call to get help with it. On the other hand tech support wouldn't be that familiar with the question if it was compliant, since few people call to ask without an actual problem. But, of course, they should be able to answer anyway.

Ok, I'll prime the pump with this one Luke: http://www.g4direct.com/products-one/NVR/G4-HBRPRO

Wow that's funny! I wonder why they thought True HDCP HDMI Output was a good thing? At least they have clearly published they use HDCP so customers know up front they need a HDCP-compliant monitor.

i know a lot of people on this site build their own servers on this site and many may just use your typical PC video cards in the standard config. These would normally have HDCP on by default, I think. What's the best method for them to disable it, or is there a card you are familiar with that comes with it off?

I think these cards legally have to have HDCP implemented to prevent the computers being used to circumvent copy protection. For example, if a commercial DVD was played in the computer, and the graphics card allowed it to be played out without HDCP, the video could be recaptured in an unprotected form. The same goes for protected content purchased online, e.g. from the iTunes store. So as far as I know, all graphics cards with HDMI would have HDCP implemented. However the good news is the HDCP flag is only supposed to be enabled when playing copy-protected content. If you are playing your own material, the graphics card should leave the HDCP flag disabled so you can use any flag without problems.

When was the last time you bought an HDMI HD computer monitor and then found out it wasn't HDCP compatible? Which one?

Firstly, I haven't seen any HDCP issues with HDMI monitors which didn't also have a DVI port. The problematic monitors I've seen have a DVI port in addition to an HDMI port. I don't know why the presence of a DVI port might make a difference but, with these models, I make sure the HDCP compliance is either published or occasionally manage to test a demo unit in store using a well-known brand of DVD player. I hope this helps.

On the other hand tech support wouldn't be that familiar with the question if it was compliant

That seems logical but I would (and do) encourage monitor manufacturers to publish the HDCP compliance of their products. I like Samsung monitors but find it very difficult to find HDCP specs for many of their monitors without phoning Samsung tech support.