How to Fix HDCP Errors

What "ERROR: NON-HDCP OUTPUT" and "HDCP ERROR" Messages Mean

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HDCP is an anti-piracy protocol that some HDMI devices comply. It's a cable standard that's put into place to prevent piracy, and while that sounds like a great idea, it causes lots of issues for people who aren't even dealing with piracy.

For example, you might be trying to hook up your Chromecast or Amazon Fire TV to an old HDTV that is too old to follow the standard that these new HDMI devices are a part of.

Since there's a device in the way that is not HDCP compliant, you might get an error like ERROR: NON-HDCP OUTPUT or HDCP ERROR.

The HDCP error completely stops you from using the device and might even make you feel like you have to buy a new one, like a brand new HDTV or Blu-ray player. Before you do that, make sure to keep reading to see what your options are.

What HDCP Means

The acronym stands for High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection. As the name would suggest, it's a type of DRM (Digital Rights Management) that's intended to prevent piracy by providing an encrypted tunnel between an output device (like the Blu-ray player or Chromecast) and the receiving end (e.g. the HDTV or media center).

Just like how DRM stops someone from sharing downloaded movies from iTunes unless the computer playing it has been authorized by the account that bought it, HDCP devices will only work if other cables and devices within the setup are also HDCP compliant.

In other words, if one device or cable isn't HDCP compliant then you'll get an HDCP error. This is true for cable boxes, Roku Streaming Stick, audio-video receivers and most other modern high-def devices or players that interface with those devices.

How to Fix HDCP Errors

The only solution is to either replace all the hardware that is not HDCP compliant (a pretty extreme solution considering it might be your expensive HDTV) or use an HDMI splitter that ignores HDCP requests.

If you go the HDMI splitter route (which you should), the splitter needs to be positioned between the output and input device. For example, if you have a Chromecast that can't connect to your TV because of HDCP errors, connect the Chromecast to the input port of the splitter and run a different HDMI cable from the output port of the splitter into your TV's HDMI slot.

What happens is that the request for the HDCP device (your TV, Blu-ray player, etc), is no longer transferred from the sender (in this case the Chromecast) because the splitter stops it from moving between the devices.

Two HDMI splitters that will work for fixing HDCP errors are the ViewHD 2 Port 1x2 Powered HDMI Mini Splitter (VHD-1X2MN3D) and CKITZE BG-520 HDMI 1x2 3D splitter 2 ports switches, both of which are usually less than $25.

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