Intel has confirmed the leak of its HDCP master key, but since any implementation would have to be done in hardware, the chip giant claims it isn’t worried. On Friday however they also confirmed that they would take swift and decisive legal action against anyone planning to produce a product that circumvents HDCP in any way.
“There are laws to protect both the intellectual property involved as well as the content that is created and owned by the content providers,” said Tom Waldrop, a spokesman for the company, which developed HDCP. “Should a circumvention device be created using this information, we and others would avail ourselves, as appropriate, of those remedies.”
The leaked master key is a particularly devastating blow since it is used to create all of the lower level keys that are embedded within devices. It makes creating HDCP compliant recording devices a simple task, and its only a matter of time before black market devices begin to appear.
Intel still hasn’t released how the master key was exposed, or if any criminal investigation is pending. The news is especially painful for movie studios who just a few months ago convinced the FCC to let them remotely switch off analog ports on cable boxes for certain content. It remains to be seen what long-term impact this will have on copy protection for HD content, but Intel is clearly willing to back its mistake with an army of lawyers.
Intel has laid to rest all doubts over the authenticity of the alleged HDCP master key code that was leaked onto the internet a few days ago. The chip maker on Thursday confirmed that the code is indeed what it was claimed to be in an anonymous post on Pastebin.com.
"We can use it to generate valid device keys that do interoperate with the (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection) protocol," Intel spokesman Tom Waldrop told CNET. The Intel-developed High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) protocol is used so that only licensed devices can play copyrighted-protected content, with each HDCP-compliant device having a unique set of keys.
However, Intel isn't overly concerned about the impact this leak might have. "For someone to use this information to unlock anything, they would have to implement it in silicon -- make a computer chip,” Waldrop told Fox News.
Word on the street today is that the so-called 'Master Key' to HDCP has been leaked. HDCP is a the copy protection that ensures the uncompressed digital output of devices like Blu-Ray players remain encrypted unless played on an approved HDCP compliant device. If this pans out, that HD stream could be captured quite easily.
All the set top boxes and HDMI-port equipped screens use special encrypt/decrypt keys that are specific to that device. This was seen as the strength of HDCP. If a device is compromised, future content could revoke those keys, making any attempts at copying difficult. If the master key is available, capture devices could be built that could record any uncompressed stream.
Even if this leak is the real deal, it's going to be an underground strategy. The DMCA bans the cracking of copy protection. You won't be picking up a universal HDCP capture device at the store. What's your guess? Is it real?
The FCC took a stand back in 2003 saying that Selectable Output Control (SoC) was unnecessary, and could harm consumers. But a recent petition from the MPAA has resulted in a partial waiver, allowing SoC to be implemented in certain circumstances. SoC is an anti-counterfeiting technology that would force digital content to be output only to an HDCP compliant HDMI port.
The FCC will allow SoC to be used only on "high value" content. Specifically, any digital content (i.e. video on demand or streaming) that is not available on DVD or Blu-ray at the time, can be protected with SoC for up to 90 days. The rationale for this is a bit confusing. The FCC statement says, "Consumers simply cannot expect to be able to access something that does not yet exist." In short, the FCC doesn't need to fully protect people with older TVs because the expectation of getting this high value content is not assumed.
What this comes down to is that for owners of older TVs without an HDMI, you may be denied access to some special content that is made available before an official DVD release. Those with newer TVs however, may be able to get pre-release access to upcoming movies. How do you feel about this? Is it a reasonable trade-off, or should the FCC have held firm?
Accell’s UltraAV HDMI 4:2 Audio/Video Switch is either a Dr. Jekyll or a Mr. Hyde of a home-theater product. The creature you’ll encounter depends on the video source you connect to it. Read on to find out just what we're talking about.
It’s easy to be seduced by the sheer size of a 24-inch LCD screen—any display that big just looks like it means business. And there was a time when large LCD panels were almost exclusively high-performance parts. That’s no longer the case. As the 24-inch LCDs reviewed here demonstrate, large screens are just as varied and prone to flaws as their smaller counterparts.
We’re so accustomed to noise in the Lab that we’re often taken aback by its absence. We knew HIS’s new Radeon HD 2600XT would be quiet, thanks to the factory-installed Zalman iSilenceIII, but it still surprised us.