DirecTV turns on DRM, breaks peoples' home theaters


Dave sez, "Want to watch your HBO subscription on DirecTV over HDMI? Good luck with that. Without any proactive customer outreach, DirecTV rolled out a misguided anti-piracy update last week that now requires an encrypted connection between the set-top and television to view HBO. In theory only very old HDTVs lack this 'HDMI Copy Protection' (HDCP). However, DirecTV's implementation appears flaky as some newer, capable sets are also impacted and no longer able to display HBO over HDMI. DirecTV's response to customers: switch to component cables. Which, incidentally, are easier to capture content from."

I reached out to both HBO and DirecTV for comment. HBO indicates their copy protection policies haven’t recently changed, while DirecTV’s rep confirms a HDCP requirement for premium channels when using HDMI connections and suggests customers with older TVs switch to component cables. I’d say this is anti-consumer and a misguided approach to reducing piracy as it’s much easier to archive video traveling via an analog component connection. Unless DirecTV or HBO’s ultimate intent is to provide lower resolution 540p video over component…

What makes this move particularly offensive is, unlike Blu-ray’s analog sunset, DirecTV’s lockdown is occurring on deployed hardware – with no outreach, knowledge base articles (that I can find), and essentially breaking formerly working customer configurations. Impacted subscribers can give up HDMI for component clutter or buy new televisions. Nice?

DirecTV Blocks HBO Over HDMI (without HDCP) (Thanks, Dave!)