Possible Difficulties Sharing Protected Video from Netflix, Blu-ray, and Some Apple Products

Video sharing plays an ever-greater role for teaching and other collaboration at the university. If you’re planning on sharing or presenting video, you should be aware of a type of copy protection that can interfere with the use of high-definition video from sources as varied as Blu-ray Disc, streaming content like Netflix, and many Apple products, including Mac laptops and iPads.

HDCP–High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection–prevents encrypted content from being displayed on “non-compliant” equipment. This can include:

  • Sending HDCP-protected streamed content, such as a Netflix movie or content from a Blu-ray player, to a videoconferencing system.
  • Streaming protected content to an older TV or projector that is not recognized as being authorized to receive it.
  • Sending any content – including PowerPoint – from an Apple Laptop to a videoconferencing system or to an older TV or projector. (Workarounds are available in some cases.)

For now, HDCP only restricts content that is sent through a high definition connection, including HDMI, DVI, and DisplayPort, so connecting with a VGA cable should not be a problem. However, this is likely to change in the future.

Also, be aware that HDCP does not allow copying, even by “fair use.” This means that people with Blu-ray discs are unable to make copies of them.

Faculty with questions about HDCP, or who believe that HDCP will impede teaching goals, should contact Academic Technologies (atc_support@cornell.edu) who can try to find alternative methods of working with the video.

Staff with concerns about how HDCP could affect their ability to use video should contact their technical or audiovisual support provider and plan enough time for testing the use of any video that may have HDCP.

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