What Is an HDCP Monitor?


Most manufacturers of monitors have phased out analog connections and replaced analog technology with digital. When you purchase any digital device, including a monitor, picture quality will suffer if you do not use the best digital connections. High-Bandwidth Digital Content Protection, or HDCP, is a type of digital connection that protects copyrighted materials from interception during transmission from one digital device to another, such as from a computer to a monitor.


Intel Corp. originally developed HDCP technology and licensed it to Digital Content Protection. HDCP uses an authentication and key exchange for digital transmission. If the keys do not match, your monitor will not display an image. Intel developed this technology for copyright protection. Today, many manufacturers use this technology to ensure both quality and protection of digital material. DVD players, satellite receivers, HDTV cable boxes and computers use HDCP technology.


Manufacturers sell many different types of monitors, and some are not HDCP-compliant. If you plan to use your monitor with another digital device such as a DVD player that is HDCP-compliant, you will need to purchase a HDCP-compliant monitor. Without using an HDCP monitor, you cannot view content on your monitor from any HDCP compliant-digital device. You can usually find HDCP compliance information displayed on a monitor’s sticker that lists other specifications.

Content With HDCP

Most digital manufacturers have adopted or have agreed to adopt the HDCP standard in the future. Content providers such as Sony Pictures, Walt Disney and Warner Bros. have pushed digital device manufacturers to adopt HDCP technology to protect digital content. Further, many digital content providers will only release encrypted digital content such as Blu-ray discs and pay-per-view, cable and satellite programming that will display on HDCP-compatible devices.


All high-definition monitors have an input for an HDMI or DVI interface. These connections guarantee that your monitor has compatibility with other digital products you use. Although most monitors have digital capability, some monitors still use analog interfaces. If you have a non-HDCP compliant monitor, you can still purchase a graphics card compatible with the HDCP format. Using an HDCP-compatible graphics card with a non-HDCP compliant monitor allows you to play HDCP-protected content on your computer. However, the content will only display in standard definition. To play high-definition HDCP content on your computer, you need both an HDCP-compatible graphics card and an HDCP-compliant monitor.

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