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HDCP Content and Echo360 Captures
Last Updated: Apr 23, 2018 10:36AM EDT

This article applies to:  Echo360 Admins

HDCP stands for "High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection" and is a form of digital copy protection developed by Intel Corporation to prevent copying of digital audio & video content as it travels across connections. That definition was copied from Wikipedia, and if you want to know more, visit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-bandwidth_Digital_Content_Protection   

One of the main purposes of the Echo360 platform and associated hardware is to record items, then process them for posting to a wider audience. This is pretty much in direct opposition to most copyright laws.

So that we do not enable the infringement of anyone's copyright laws, NONE of Echo360's capture methods will record HDCP-enabled content. Your laptop may play it, and the switch in the room may say that it is ok with sending the HDCP signal to the appliance, but the Echo360 capture will either be blank or will fail altogether.

This "NONE of Echo360's capture methods" includes the SCHD, the PRO, the POD, Personal Capture, Classroom Capture and the new Universal Capture.

If you try to play and use Echo360 to record the HD version of HDCP-restricted content, it will fail.

We have no control over the digital protection set for content being sent from the computer, and Echo360 capture appliances/software do not care if the device or the switch or the computer allows playing or sending HDCP-restricted content. If we receive HDCP-restricted content we will not record it.

HDCP and Macs

In some cases, Mac computers will send non-copyrighted content (such as presentations) over HDCP even though they don't need to. This can prevent Echo360 from recording non-copyrighted material. Typically, this happens when an AV switch is between the Mac computer and the Echo360 recording device. Since the switch supports HDCP content, the Mac will send everything over HDCP to avoid screen flickering that can occur when switching HDCP on and off in a signal.

One way you can avoid problems surrounding the Echo360 capture of presentations and other content that should not be protected is to disable HDCP on the PORT of the switch that resides between the computer and the Echo360 capture appliance. This may need to be done by an A/V technician. Several online articles indicate that having the switch reject the HDCP signal from the Mac, forces the Mac to then strip the signal from the content (because it's not part of the content, it's coming from the computer) and will pass through the presentation or other material without HDCP. This will allow the switch to send the signal to the capture appliance, and will allow the capture appliance to record it.

The downside is that disabling HDCP on the switch means that any actual HDCP content (like an HD movie) sent through the switch to a projector (for example) will not be shown, as the switch will reject the signal. In this instance, HDCP would need to be re-enabled on the switch, and Echo could not capture that signal if that were intended.

Your other workarounds include trying a different Mac or using a Windows computer to present your materials. Some articles also suggest changing your screen resolution to 1024x768, thereby lowering the resolution below that which is considered high-definition. In theory that should work but there appear to be mixed results using that method.

Another option would be to send the output signal through a different (analog or lower quality) output port. By definition, if the content being pushed out of the Mac is no longer HD, then HDCP should no longer be applied. This appears to be the case with HDCP-enabled Macs, in that the HDCP signal is being applied to content pushed out through the mini-DVI or HDMI output ports. 

Regardless of how you attempt to remedy the situation, we strongly urge you to run a short test capture to ensure your input signals and display items are being captured by Echo360 and are included in the processed videos for students.

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