Apple TV movie rentals require HDCP for playback

“You see, I don’t own an HDTV, which is required for the Apple TV… My Apple TV has been connected to a Dell FPW2005 20-inch LCD display (the same kind to which I connect my MacBook Pro at home and at the office). The two devices are connected by a cable that has an HDMI plug on one end (which attaches to the Apple TV) and a DVI plug on the other (connecting the Dell monitor),” Jeff Carlson reports for TidBITS.

MacDailyNews Take: Connecting a monitor with a Dell logo on it with any Apple product is like grafting Ed Asner’s head onto Jessica Biel’s body. It’s unnatural. And disgusting. Yuck. Just say no to Dell.

Carlson continues, “When I attempted to watch the movie, however, the Apple TV displayed an error message: ‘This content requires HDCP for playback.’ HDCP (High Bandwidth Digital Content Protection) is a form of digital rights management (DRM) that prevents you from playing video over DVI and HDMI connections (in my case) if you don’t own compatible hardware that can decode the signal properly.”

“Beneath the error message was a note that I could watch the movie using the Apple TV’s component connection instead. I couldn’t take advantage of the HDMI solution that sends video and audio down one cable, but I could output video through the three component video cables and separately attach audio to the Apple TV. Unfortunately, the Dell monitor, being primarily a computer display, didn’t include component connections,” Carlson reports.

“I could have simply sacrificed the $4 rental fee and chalked it up as the cost of research, but $4 is also the cost of a pair of double-espressos and is therefore real money. So I did what I imagine few people do: I wrote to Apple,” Carlson reports. “Within 24 hours, I received a reply: ‘I’m sorry to hear that you can’t play the movie that you rented. I have reversed the charge for this rental.'”

More in the full article here.

As we said yesterday, Hollywood should drop the senseless DRM they are insisting upon as it only punishes paying customers while generating laughter from pirates. Just sell us good content that’s free of draconian restrictions at a reasonable price and we’ll make you rich beyond your wildest dreams.


  1. Not having a SCART socket on my 14″ CRT TV, I have to plug my DVD player into my VHS deck via a SCART cable, and then the VHS deck into my TV via an RF cable to watch DVDs.

    Damn it if my “The War of the Worlds” DVD (the Tom Cruise version) refuses to play through the VHS deck and onto the TV because of so-called ‘copy-protection’.

    Damn these new-fangled standards. And damn that Digital Rights Management software. Damn it all to hell!

  2. We had to buy a Dell monitor with HDCP in order to use our PS3 cluster for parallel signal processing. Apple needs to include HDCP in their cinema displays. HDCP is a fact of life, get over it.

    MDN includes a copyright symbol at he bottom of their webpage. Why not let anyone copy their website? Hypocrites!!!

    “All rights reserved.” – Hypocrisy!!!

  3. “…. Hollywood should drop the senseless DRM they are insisting upon as it only punishes paying customers while generating laughter from pirates…..”

    Exactly. Kind of like gun laws… they restrict ownership for law-abiding citizens and has virtually no effect on gun related crimes… the legal gun owners are not selling crack on the corner, robbing people, and engaging in drive-by shootings.

  4. Hang on….

    Isn’t it called Apple ….. “TV” ?

    I can’t remember the upgrade being rebranded Apple “any kind of display device you decide to couple with it”. As far as I can remember it’s still called Apple TV.

    Surely all TV’s incorporating HDMI sockets have implemented the HDCP?

    Ligitimate users of this technology needn’t worry too much, surely.

  5. I got nailed with this with my Sony Bravia flat screen TV (Model KDL V32 XBR2) Apparently this model which I bought recently doesn’t speak HDCP over the HDMI. Worked fine once I switched over to component connections, but I’m annoyed by the rat’s nest of wires now hanging out the back of the Apple TV.

  6. I have a brand new Mac Pro hooked up to a 24inch Dell monitor and it’s both better and cheaper than an Apple cinema display.

    I’d rather be a guy with a superior Dell monitor and an extra 8GB of RAM in my Octo Mac Pro than some idiot with an inferior Apple display and with just the stock 2GB RAM installed.

  7. I’ve rent Movies from iTunes and My Apple TV is connected to a 22″ Widescreen Samsung Monitor Via a HDMI to DVI cable and have not had any issues. But all the movies I’ve rent so far are SD movies. I have not tried the HD movies yet, should work ok as the Samsung monitor supports the HDCP. And in Apple Movie Rentals only the HD Movies are protected with the HDCP requirement if I remember correctly, that’s why they are only available in the Apple TV Online Rentals and not from the standard iTunes store.

  8. I also have a Dell 24″ display hooked up to my PowerBook- it’s a great display- physically larger, picture-in-picture capability, built-in media reader, built-in USB hub, landscape or portrait mode, and height/tilt/swivel adjustable. All for about $200 less than Apple wanted for a 23″ Cinema Display. It also has a three year warranty to Apple’s 1 year. Can’t say I feel bad about it at all. The *only* thing the ACD has that the Dell doesn’t is a FireWare hub, and since I only have a single FireWire device, that’s no loss to me.

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