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HP and Compaq Desktop PCs - Content Protection Messages Interrupt Viewing of High Definition Movies

When playing high-definition videos, such as Blu-ray or HD DVD movies, an error message about protected content displays. The following list shows some of the messages that can appear:
  • This content is protected. The content is not allowed to play in current display mode.
  • Stop. Your display environment does not support protected content playback.
  • This program includes content protection that restricts viewing...
  • HDMI HDCP Key - Authentication failed.
These types of messages occur because of HDCP. High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) - a method that is used to protect high-definition content from being copied as it passes from the computer to the monitor or HD TV. Commercial Blu-ray and HD DVD movies are protected by HDCP when played.


Perform each of the following tasks and attempt to watch the movie after making any changes. Do this until an answer is found:
  1. Make sure the system uses one digital video cable (HDMI or DVI).
  2. Only connect one HDCP display device to the video system while watching the movie. Do not attempt to watch the movie on a second display device.
  3. Set the display resolution on the computer to 1920 x 1200 or less.
  4. Remove any cable adapters and use a direct DVI to DVI connection or HDMI to HDMI connection.
  5. Does the monitor support HDCP? VGA connections are not supported and some of the first generation DVI monitors do not support HDCP. If your monitor is several years old, find out if it supports HDCP by looking at the product specifications. If your monitor (or connection) is not compliant, you can view the movie at a lower resolution and not receive the error. See the following Workaround section.
  6. Certain HP monitors with auto-pivot might need to have the auto-pivot feature disabled or the computer attached to the monitor is using the latest version of HP My Display software.
  7. If the problem persists, the cable might be bad or damaged or the monitor might need servicing.


If your display is not HDCP-compliant, you might be able to use one analog connection to view video. Try one of the following options:
  • Use an S-video or composite cable connection to view the video. You will be able to view the video, but at a lower resolution.
  • If both the computer graphics card and the display device support a VGA connection, select a screen resolution in Windows that is 1920x1080. Or, if 1920x1080 is not available, select the next best screen resolution that is as close to 1920x1080 as possible. This might enable viewing of videos at higher display resolutions.
    Display Properties window with Screen resolution setting called out
    Display Properties window with Screen resolution setting called out
  • For high-resolution analog output to a display device that has a VGA connector, use a DVI-to-VGA adapter to connect the display to the graphics card through a VGA connection.
    Because DVI does not include an audio signal, you will need to use PC speakers or connect a separate audio cable from the PC to the TV or Monitor audio line-in connection.

Understanding video technology

When selecting a video connection, choose a type that works best for you. There are five main video components to consider when connecting a video display.
  • Signal type
  • Display format
  • Display resolution
  • Connection type
  • Source
These items define your viewing experience. If, for example, the display device and the computer both support HDMI and HDCP at a resolution of 1980x1080 and the video source is high-definition (such as from a Blu-ray movie), then you can enjoy true high-definition viewing. However, if the computer is connected to a Plasma TV using an S-video connector, for example, the viewing experience is limited to lower display resolutions.
Use the rest of the following section to become familiar with the five components:

Signal type

There are two main methods or types of signals for transporting video (and audio).
  • Analog - the signal is transmitted in wave forms.
  • Digital - the signal is transmitted in blocks of numbers (data).
    Image of an analog and a digital signal
  1. Analog signal - gray line
  2. Digital signal - red line

Display format

There are two formats for displaying video on a display, interlaced scanning and progressive scanning.
  • Interlaced scanning (I) - for each video frame (one image that is dispalyed at roughly 1/30th of a second) all the odd scan lines are drawn on the screen, followed by the drawing of all the even lines. Interlaced scanning is used for both analog and digital.
  • Progressive scanning (p) - the lines of each full video frame are drawn one after another in sequence, each refresh updates all of the scan lines. Progressive scanning is used for digital.
In a video specification, interlaced or progressive scanning follows the resolution number. For example, 1920 x 1080 p means that the video resolution is 1920 x 1080 pixels with progressive scanning.

Display resolution

Resolution refers to the number of pixels a display is capable of producing. Resolution is measured in pixels high by pixels wide. The greater the pixel count, the higher the resolution.
The following list defines common video resolutions:
  • SDTV (Standard Definition TV) - roughly 320 x 240.
  • DVD (HD) 1280 x 720. High definition usually refers to 720 horizontal lines (counted vertically) of video format resolution or more. A TV with a resolution of 720p means that the display is capable of displaying content in 1280 x 720 resolution with progressive scanning.
  • True HD - 1920 x 1080 i/p (interlaced or progressive scanning).

Connection type

The connection type describes the physical cable and cable ends that the video signal travels through. The following list describes different types of video connections.
  • VGA - refers to PC video modes, analog
  • Composite (RCA) - Standard definition TV, analog
  • Component (RCA) - up to true high definition, analog, not supported by many computers
  • S-video - Standard definition TV, analog
  • DVI - up to true high definition, to get 1920 x 1080 requires HDCP for many commercial programs, digital
  • HDMI - up to true high definition, to get 1920 x 1080 requires HDCP for many commercial programs, digital


Source refers to the type of video being used. The following list describes video sources:
  • Video file - files played from the computer using software, such as Windows Media Player. Some video files types are AVI, MPG, WMV and more. The playback quality can vary greatly. Some file types are capable of producing true high-definition video playback.
  • Streaming video - files broadcast from a web server. These types are usually viewed from a Web browser, such as Internet Explorer. Streaming video that is viewed at higher resolution requires a fast network connection. The viewing experience is limited to the capabilities of the Web page that the content is viewed from.
  • TV programming - if the computer has a TV tuner, view TV programming from an aerial antenna or TV service via a cable. To view high-definition TV, an HD TV tuner and high-definition signal is required.
  • DVD movies - requires a DVD disc drive in the computer and compatible playback software. The DVD movie format plays at a resolution of 1280 x 720.
  • Blu-ray movies - requires a compatible Blu-ray disc drive, software, and an HDCP display device (for digital). The Blu-ray format is capable of playing video at a true high-definition display resolution of 1920 x 1080.






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