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I am playing a digital tv broadcast on Windows Media Center for Windows 7. I built this system so it works with HDCP, and in fact I have been able to watch tv and bluray before with this same computer.

However, I suddenly started getting an "HDCP Support Required" error from WMC. The entire message is as follows:

HDCP Support Required

High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) may not be supported by the current video card. Use an HDCP-compliant display, video card, and video driver. Or, connect using an analog connection such as component or VGA.

Relevant specs are:

  • CPU: Ivy Bridge Core i7-3770
  • Motherboard: Asus P8H77-I
  • Memory: 16GB DDR3-1600
  • Graphics: Radeon HD 7850 (Driver by AMD, version 8.982.0.0 built on 2012/07/27)
  • Display: Acer P243w connected by HDMI
  • Sound: Roland Quad-Capture (It complains even when I use the bundled VIA HD Audio)
  • TV Tuner: I-O Data GV-MC7/HZ3
  • OS: Windows 7 Professional SP1, Windows Update enabled. All patched and up to date.

As you can see, there is nothing weird or old about my setup. I am also not doing anything strange, not doing any overclocking, weird system changes and so on.

One thing that does happen from time to time, is that the display goes black for a few seconds (sometimes when watching media contents, sometimes when just using photoshop or Visual Studio). This happened with my previous setup as well, so I'd be inclined to think it is a display or cable issue (apart from the BD drive, these are the only things I kept from my previous setup to this one). But being a digital transfer, as far as I know, these things either work or not. Never erratically or with decreased quality.

The thing is that sometimes I can watch the TV, sometimes not. This happens with recorded programs as well, so it's not a per-program thing. Sometimes rebooting helps, sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes unplugging and plugging back the HDMI connector helps, sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes doing so doesn't even turn the screen back on, so I have to reboot.

Unfortunately, WMC's error message is quite unhelpful. I'd like to know exactly where the problem is, so I can solve it. I don't want to buy a brand new display just to then find out it was a registry setting that was misconfigured.

I've tried looking at the system event viewer, but these errors don't show up at all in there. Other people who have this problem seem to have a setup that is not HDCP compliant, so I turn to you guys here.

Anybody knows how to diagnose this problem?

Edit: So I got the Cyberlink Blu-ray disc advisor. I ran it and told me everything was okay, except for the Video Connection Type, which showed as "Digital (without HDCP)".

I then proceeded to unplug the power cable from the monitor, plugged it in again, ran the tool again, and now it's "Digital (with HDCP)". Needless to say, I can watch my TV and recorded programs on WMP again.

I'm guessing that at some point, something may be slightly wrong with the HDCP setup, and Windows decides to reset the entire content protection path (which leads to the screen blanking out). Usually the reset succeeds, but sometimes it doesn't, so Windows defaults to turning HDCP off. There's no way to turn it back on, except by doing a hard reset of the display.

I really want to know what the exact error was, so I can fix it. Is it the cable? is it the display? is it the video card? the driver? Also, is there any other way to try and turn HDCP on again without having to hard reset the display?

Oh, questions, questions...

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3 Answers 3

HDCP has to be negotiated between the source and the display. If the display goes into sleep mode, then HDCP has to be negotiated again and this can sometimes fail.

Power cycling the display should fix it if/when it happens.

There is unlikely to be a "complete fix".

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"this can sometimes fail": Why would it fail? I actually think it's not supposed to fail though. –  Jom Orgstrom Nov 1 '12 at 18:05
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Well, I changed the cable, and the problem disappeared completely.

So yes, a cable can cause this type of problems.

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Turning off/on the TV may help.

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