DirecTV Customers With Older HDTVs May Have Trouble Watching HBO

Even if your older HDTV has an HDMI port, you may not be able to connect your DirecTV receiver to your TV — at least not if you want to watch HBO.

ZatzNotFunny.com recently posted about receiving complaints from some DirecTV customers who suddenly found out — without warning or explanation — that they can’t watch HBO if their receiver is connected to the TV via an HDMI cable.

Why not?

Glad you asked. Seems like some older HDTVs do not have High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP), which as the name implies, is intended to prevent copying of content transmitted over a connection like HDMI or DVI. Without HDCP on their TV sets, DirecTV customers get something like the image shown in the above photograph.

ZatzNotFunny confirmed this HDCP requirement with DirecTV, which suggested that affected customers connect their receivers using component cables. These will allow the HBO content to be shown, though not at the same definition as the HDMI cable.

“I’d say this is anti-consumer and a misguided approach to reducing piracy,” writes Dave Zats, “as it’s much easier to archive video traveling via an analog component connection.”

And HDCP is certainly not pirate-proof, as is evident by the fact that you can easily find HD versions of the most recent Game of Thrones episodes available via BitTorrent.

So once again, broadcasters and carriers are inconveniencing customers in the name of copy protection that doesn’t do anything to stop people copying protected material.

DirecTV Blocks HBO Over HDMI (without HDCP) [ZatzNotFunny.com]

Thanks to Mark for the tip!