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Encryption Intel Media IT

$350 Hardware Cracks HDMI Copy Protection 161

Posted by Soulskill
from the unbreakable-is-only-motivation dept.
New submitter LBeee writes "German Researchers at the Ruhr University Bochum built an FPGA board-based man-in-the-middle attack against the HDCP copy protection used in HDMI connections. After the leak of an HDCP master key in 2010, Intel proclaimed that the copy protection was still secure, as it would be too expensive to build a system that could conduct a real-time decryption of the data stream. It has now been proven that a system can be built for around $350 (€200) to do the task. However, the solution is of no great practical use for pirates. It can easily be used to burn films from Blu-ray discs, but receivers which can deliver HDTV recordings are already available — and they provide the data in compressed form. In contrast, recording directly from an HDMI port results in a large amount of data."
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$350 Hardware Cracks HDMI Copy Protection

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    recording directly from an HDMI port results in a large amount of data

    With the high prices and todays HDDs, it makes recording from the HDMI even that much more economically unfeasible...

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 25, 2011 @03:16PM (#38168004)

      Because we all know once data has been uncompressed it can never be compressed again...

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Animats (122034)

        Because we all know once data has been uncompressed it can never be compressed again...

        Each lossy compression/decompression cycle loses data. For examples. see YouTube.

        • by Anthony Mouse (1927662) on Friday November 25, 2011 @05:20PM (#38169196)

          You lose data because the differences between the lossy version after decompression and the lossless version are compounded by recompression. If you have a sufficiently high quality original, even if it technically is not lossless, the differences are minimal. To the point that you won't really be able to see the difference after recompressing it.

          By contrast, YouTube is particularly bad because most people start with a low quality video and then YouTube recompresses it at a low bitrate.

          • by savuporo (658486)
            . If you have a sufficiently high quality original, even if it technically is not lossless, the differences are minimal.

            I know what you mean, but in practice it does not work quite as well as that. Problem is, most common video compression algorithms struggle with previously quantized data.
            A simple test, your high-res webcam probably outputs both VGA and/or MJPEG. Try compressing either with AVC at the same resolution and quality settings, and look at the results.
        • by amorsen (7485) <benny+slashdot@amorsen.dk> on Friday November 25, 2011 @05:45PM (#38169510)

          Each lossy compression/decompression cycle loses data. For examples. see YouTube.

          If you use an algorithm similar to the original compression algorithm, you do not have to lose much (in the best case, nothing at all). E.g. a part of how JPEG works is reducing the number of colours in little squares. If you decompress/recompress with JPEG at around the same quality level, the algorithm will notice that it doesn't need to eliminate very many colours in each square, because they magically have just the right number of colours already!

          Similarly, most movie compressions try to detect if part of the next picture matches the previous, just shifted. After compression and decompression, those areas will stand out clearly to the algorithm and it is likely that similar parameters are chosen for the recompression. You can get unlucky that the second compression picks different I-frames than the first compression did, of course. If this kind of recompression becomes popular, someone will write a tool to guess which frames are I-frames.

      • by Kjella (173770) on Friday November 25, 2011 @05:06PM (#38169034) Homepage

        Not losslessly, but heh... if you can spot the difference on a BluRay recoded to BluRay size, you're *good*, I mean even the DVD9 rips look very, very close to the original.

      • by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Friday November 25, 2011 @05:14PM (#38169122) Homepage Journal

        I store all my stuff as MD5 hashes. Why keep a 4.5 GB MKV file when it can be hashed down to 16 bytes? That's just stupid. Haven't watched anything yet, waiting for the holidays.
    • by cheetah (9485) on Friday November 25, 2011 @04:54PM (#38168918)

      Well, this device already costs about $350... and some quick and dirty math shows that an HDMI video stream is about 1.78 TB an hour. It's a lot of data, but the bigger problem is not the storage but the rate at which the data is coming out of the capture device. it's about 500MB/sec and to actually write at that data rate, your going to need quite a few hard drives to keep up. You are really going to need at least 6 drives at a minimum to be able to record at this data rate(without problems). So the amount of data is likely to fit on what ever array your recording the HDMI stream onto.

      My 8-disk array could handle this right now... granted it wasn't a low cost array(machine + disks for ~$1000) and it would be even more costly with current HDD prices. But people do have access to the disk space and speed needed to do this currently. I think you would find that a lot of the people the would think about ripping video directly from HDMI already have the data storage requirements taken care of.

      • by Guspaz (556486) on Friday November 25, 2011 @05:35PM (#38169358) Homepage

        You can do it with two SATA3 SSDs, although three is safe. But three sufficiently large SSDs aren't cheap. Then again, nobody said you had to rip it all in one go. Three small SSDs; rip a chunk, copy it to a slow big drive, rip another chunk, slow big drive. Regardless, the real reason that it's not useful for pirates is because it's rare that a pirate would even want to do this. bluray was thoroughly cracked ages ago, and OTA or satellite broadcasts (or itunes downloads) are probably going to have better quality than any streaming service you might want to rip.

        What I don't get is why this is even news. Devices to strip HDCP have been on the market for years; the hdfury people have a whole product lineup for stripping HDCP and converting to various analog formats, or even hdmi-to-hdmi (the "dr hdmi" product, I believe). Is this news because it's now DIY, rather than a commercial product that does it? I assume there are other similar devices on the market.

      • by EdZ (755139)
        Existing HDMI Capture cards (e.g. £130 Blackmagic) seem to handle on-the-fly compression pretty well. If you really want to capture full-rate HDMI, it might be a lot cheaper to use two 512gb SSDs in RAID0 than a larger and probably more expensive HDD array.
        • This. If you can MITM and decrypt 500MB of HDMI data on the fly, you may as well do some basic video compression before dumping out to disk.

          Also, for high-data linear loads like video dumps, HDDs are still superior to SSDs.

      • by tibit (1762298)

        It's a matter of time now until someone gets a larger FPGA and puts the HDMI decryptor on it and, say, 6 or 8 SATA interfaces. That way you'd easily stream the data to hard drives, all on one compact board. This can be had on a board that's still probably under $500. The next step will be to put a video compressor on said larger FPGA, and leisurely push the data over a USB 2 connection...

      • by Kjella (173770)

        Yes, but you get about 3:1 lossless compression extremely cheaply, which means a much simpler storage solution will do. I'm actually aware of a person who did this before anyone managed to break AACS, it took a HDCP decrypter, a HDMI capture card - very rare indeed - and a fast RAID solution, but it was done like 2007. Today there's not much point but it could be done years ago already.

      • Using SlingBox or a variety of HDMI capture devices with built in H.264 codecs, you can capture the compressed stream. Those other devices are designed to function on HDMI but do not function with HDCP equipped devices.

        That being said... I managed to hack a board like this together months ago... it wasn't even complicated. Did it using a $149 FPGA board and a $299 HDMI In/Out adapter for it. I needed it not for copying, but for SlingBox.
  • vapid nonsense (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sribe (304414) on Friday November 25, 2011 @03:20PM (#38168060)

    ...it would be too expensive to build a system that could conduct a real-time decryption of the data stream.

    Then how, exactly, is anyone supposed to be able to ever watch? Oh, yeah, right. Duh. Every freaking HDTV with HDMI input has to conduct real-time decryption of the data stream. Where do these companies even find these fucktard spokespeople???

    • by westlake (615356)

      Then how, exactly, is anyone supposed to be able to ever watch? Oh, yeah, right. Duh. Every freaking HDTV with HDMI input has to conduct real-time decryption of the data stream.

      The price quoted to LG, Samsung, Mitsubishi, Panasonic, Sony, Toshiba, Vizio, et al., assuming they do not have the manufacturing capacity themselves, is not what you pay when you are a lone cellar-dwelling geek.

    • by pckl300 (1525891) on Friday November 25, 2011 @03:59PM (#38168412)

      Then how, exactly, is anyone supposed to be able to ever watch?

      Isn't the whole point of DRM to prevent you from watching anything?

    • BIG diff between on the fly decryption and display vs saving ALL that overly large data to disk. without spilling. ever.

      huge difference, there, mate.

      cue the:

      "won't someone PLEASE think of the disks!?!?"

      meme...

  • by Mononoke (88668) on Friday November 25, 2011 @03:21PM (#38168066) Homepage Journal
    Maybe this will finally make HDMI manageable for audio/visual crews when faced with multiple HDCP encumbered HDMI sources that need to switched and/or crossfaded in real time. Right now it is damn near impossible to implement any form of HDMI switching due to the ridiculous handshake times needed when protected HDMI sources see changes in the destination. Currently the only way to handle it is with a black market HDMI to component converter which introduces often unacceptable video delays in addition to requiring multiple Digital-to-Analog and Analog-to-Digital transitions along the way.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Since this is only a man-in-the-middle attack, it still requires an appropriate HDCP end point for each source, basically doubling the amount of gears they need to carry.
      • by makomk (752139)

        In theory it should be possible to clone the identity of the HDCP sink and pretend to be it to multiple devices at once, not just one.

    • by billcopc (196330)

      That's nonsense, if you have a switch that integrates two or more HDCP endpoints, there is nothing preventing you from mixing the decoded signals thereafter. The problem is a legal one, not technical. There just aren't enough HDCP-enabled pro devices on the market, because the consortium is excessively protective of its stupid-ass DRM scheme.

      • by Mononoke (88668)

        There just aren't enough HDCP-enabled pro devices on the market, because the consortium is excessively protective of its stupid-ass DRM scheme.

        No, it's because the DRM scheme requires the HDCP all the way to the end device (projector or monitor). In the real world we're not using HDMI inputs on projectors because of cable length issues (among other things.) There is no practical way to get HDCP encumbered HDMI switched and then distributed amongst multiple projectors and confidence monitors in the typical

        • by billcopc (196330)

          Yes, it "requires" HDCP all the way because that's how they wrote the spec. In practice, the only thing preventing a device from decrypting the stream and forwarding the result to an arbitrary number of devices, is the licensing agreement. God forbid people would use it to make digital copies of Blu-Ray movies, when it is far quicker and more convenient to decrypt the files right off the disc...

          Hollywood stupidity at its finest, as usual.

    • by DreadPiratePizz (803402) on Friday November 25, 2011 @04:11PM (#38168522)
      First of all, professional A/V folk don't use HDMI anyway. Cameras and decks all have SDI outputs, which is pretty much the standard, and there's no copy protection on it. Second of all, in the chance you do use an HDMI source, not a single camera or deck is ever going to set HDCP on, since well, you're the one shooting and editing the material. Copy protection is only an issue if you are trying to record off a PS3, TV broadcast, or copy a blu ray disc - i.e. something that's not yours. If you're running into copy protection issues, you need to get proper gear.
      • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

        by Mononoke (88668)
        That's funny, because I often legally project source material from commercial HDCP-protected BD-DVD sources. I do have the proper gear for this task. What I don't have is a graceful way to switch between pre-show PPT sources and the BD-DVD sources. You may live in a sandbox where HD-SDI is the standard, but most of us are still working with multiple clients in multiple venues where media distribution methods are far from standardized. "Cameras and decks all have..." was my first clue of that.
        • by Guspaz (556486)

          What about existing HDCP strippers? They've been on the market for years.

          • by wagnerrp (1305589)
            And as soon as they pop up, they get invalidated by newer hardware and newer media. HDMI/HDCP has the ability to push out key revocation to existing hardware and spread to other connected devices.
            • by Guspaz (556486)

              I've read elsewhere that HDCP strippers are typically made from the chips pulled from displays themselves (perhaps they're desoldering them from broken displays). If this is the case, wouldn't HDCP revocations be rendering many random displays useless? Unlike on a BluRay player, there's no way to update the HDCP key on devices that tend not to have updatable firmware (like displays or TVs).

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I have a small A/V company (10 employees) and we fairly often get clients bringing in a bluray disc that they have made themselves and expect us to show with 10 minutes notice. Even though it is all material that they have shot and edited, the hdcp issues still usually bite us. We didn't think that this would be a problem for self made discs, but experience has shown that it usually is. We now tell clients that we can only accept video files or standard def dvd's.

        While the parent poster suggests that thi

    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Friday November 25, 2011 @04:19PM (#38168588)

      Right now I have a situation where I can't watch Blu-rays on my PC. I have everything you should need, an ideal setup even. I have a high end video card that does HDCP, I have Windows 7, I have a monitor that does HDCP, and I have a receiver that does HDCP. Everything works, looks, and sounds, great. However when I play a Blu-ray, it says "Nope."

      Why?

      Well because of the way my video and audio are hooked up. My graphics card is hooked directly via DVI to my monitor. No problems there. However it then has a second HDMI output to an HDMI soundcard, which goes HDMI to my receiver. The reason is HDMI requires a video clock to send sound and the soundcard doesn't generate one. No problem, the second out is just a mirrored output, just a dummy out to get video clock.

      However Blu-ray doesn't allow for that. No splitting the signal. Even though both devices are HDCP enabled, it won't allow it.

      So hell, I might build one of these (particularly since where I work, we have Xilinx ISE). Would solve the problem and mean any future HDCP problems are easy to solve too.

      • by vux984 (928602)

        Right now I have a situation where I can't watch Blu-rays on my PC. I have everything you should need, an ideal setup even

        My PC has HDMI out of the video card to the receiver, the receiver has HDMI up to the display. Bluray playback works just fine.

        Your setup sounds needlessly convoluted for no good reason.

        • Three main reasons (Score:5, Informative)

          by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Friday November 25, 2011 @05:15PM (#38169136)

          1) My monitor is a professional display (an NEC MultiSync 2690WUXi). Among its other features is hardware calibration. It has internal correction tables to produce extremely accurate output, calibrated to any curves I like. To do that, the video card must be able to communicate with it via DDC/CI which it can't do through the receiver, since the receiver gets those commands, not the monitor. I didn't pay $1200 for a monitor and calibration hardware to not have it work to its optimum potential.

          2) Latency. I am a gamer, and I want as low a latency as I can have to my monitor, particularly since as a professional monitor its scaler already introduces a bit of latency (33ms). If I feed the signal through my receiver, it will introduce additional latency in an effort to perfectly synchronize audio and video. I would rather have less latency and a minor sync problem.

          3) I often operate the computer without sound. Right now, since I'm surfing the web, I don't feel the need to listen to anything. Thus the receiver is off. It puts out about 200 watts at idle since it is a fairly high power, high bias unit (a Denon 3808CI if you are wondering). I'd rather save the power, and more importantly not heat up my room, when it isn't needed. Can't do that if I feed video through it.

          My setup is designed to meet my needs, and it does very well. It has no issues with anything, except for Blu-ray. The only reason it has such an issue is a stupid artificial restriction.

          • by vux984 (928602)

            1) My monitor is a professional display (an NEC MultiSync 2690WUXi). Among its other features is hardware calibration. It has internal correction tables to produce extremely accurate output, calibrated to any curves I like. To do that, the video card must be able to communicate with it via DDC/CI which it can't do through the receiver, since the receiver gets those commands, not the monitor. I didn't pay $1200 for a monitor and calibration hardware to not have it work to its optimum potential.

            Hmmm.

            2) Latenc

            • Your suggestions might have merit, though the DDC/CI one is problematic because not only do commands have to get passed but SpectraView II (the NEC software) has to recognize this display.

              The setup I have now was done because it is easy and it works. Requires 1 extra cable and a simple setting in Windows. I haven't bothered to look at other ways around because playing Blu-rays on my computer isn't all that high priority. I have a home theater setup too.

              The reason a HDCP bypass device interests me isn't just

      • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@gma i l . com> on Friday November 25, 2011 @05:10PM (#38169084) Journal

        Or you could just go to TPB and download MKVs and be done with it. Its this endless bullshit that makes the MPAA companies an epic fail. All I want is an avi file, that's all. My dad has a little Nbox player that doesn't play copy protected bullshit so its of no use to me, also my netbook gets great battery life for playing avi files but i bet if i start playing DRM it'll go to shit.

        So why the fuck won't they sell me an avi file? Are they somehow gonna magically make all those HD rips disappear off of TPB? Nope, they are just fucking folks like me that WANT to hand them the money but whome they won't give any content without making us do a little dance. it reminds me of that old Python bit in Time Bandits where Robin Hood would have one of his men punch a poor person before they would hand them anything "just to make them feel they earned it".

        Well fuck you MPAA, if you won't accept my money for product thanks to piracy I can get the same product for free. you haven't stopped a damned thing, just pissed off people like me that would have happily handed you the money for a useful product.

        • by wagnerrp (1305589)
          Because AVI is a garbage container, that doesn't actually support even a quarter of the codecs and capabilities that have been shoehorned into it over the years.
          • by hairyfeet (841228)

            Why is it garbage? Because it works? Because it lets you do what you want? of because it isn't "free as in freedom"? because frankly i haven't seen a damned thing wrong with either avi OR mp4, they play anywhere and "just work" which is more than I can say for MKV which is rarely hardware accelerated and frankly uses around 30-40% more resources, at least in my own tests.

            So unless you can name another container that works with nearly every accelerator out there, doesn't put in a ton of overhead, isn't bad

            • by wagnerrp (1305589) on Friday November 25, 2011 @11:04PM (#38172170)

              AVI does not support variable framerate or variable aspect ratio content, so it cannot be used to record broadcast television, nor can it support such changes in recording from a DV cam.

              AVI does not support storage of aspect ratio, meaning it cannot be used for things such as anamorphic encoding.

              AVI does not support B frames, back-referencing P frames only. That means no MPEG4, no XviD, no DivX, no H264, and no other halfway modern codecs.

              AVI does not support variable bitrate audio.

              AVI does not support timecodes, so streaming is not a possibility. It must be a complete file with header and footer, meaning any player requires direct file access.

              Now sure, you can hack on all sorts of additional functionality that lies outside the AVI spec, but then you're not using AVI. You're using some abortive abomination of a file, with no guarantee of compatibility with other players. Why continue using it when there are better alternatives available?

              • AVI does not support B frames, back-referencing P frames only. That means no MPEG4, no XviD, no DivX, no H264, and no other halfway modern codecs.

                What? Almost all .avi files on TPB are XviD/DivX.

                Now sure, you can hack on all sorts of additional functionality that lies outside the AVI spec, but then you're not using AVI.

                Oh, OK.

                I guess .mp4 would be better (though I had more problems with it, maybe my codec config is wrong or those files were badly encoded). I wonder why the releases are in .avi then. Maybe some players can play these non-standard files, but cannot play other containers (I know that only recent players support mkv)?

                Also, broadcast television is variable framerate? For some reason I thought that it is always 50 fields per second (60 in some other countries).

                • by wagnerrp (1305589)

                  Also, broadcast television is variable framerate? For some reason I thought that it is always 50 fields per second (60 in some other countries).

                  Sure. Some channels will always be 50 fields per second (25 frames per second), others will be 50 frames per second, and others will flip between progressive and interlaced modes at different resolutions. This only pertains to digital television (DVB). Analog (PAL) is always 50 fields per second, interlaced.

                  • Really? I didn't know that. Most likely because I use a DVB-C tuner, it outputs S-video, which goes trough my VCR to the capture card in my main PC (so I can watch TV on my monitor). So, I always get analog PAL and for some reason though that the broadcast format stays the same, 50 fields per second, even in digital TV.

            • by SeaFox (739806) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @03:02AM (#38173190)

              because frankly i haven't seen a damned thing wrong with either avi OR mp4, they play anywhere and "just work" which is more than I can say for MKV which is rarely hardware accelerated and frankly uses around 30-40% more resources, at least in my own tests.

              It's not the container that decides how much processing resources a file requires or if it can be hardware accelerated, that depends on the actual video inside it. You seem to be under some impression AVI, MP4, and MKV are all video formats.

              Why does MKV take 30-40% more resources than AVI? Because you're most likely playing h264 video instead of XviD, which has more complicated compression algorithms giving you better quality per kilobyte. Why do some MKVs get hardware acceleration and some not? Because they aren't all using the same video format, some may have XviD video inside, like your AVI files, some are h264, and even of those only certain types of h264 get hardware acceleration. Also, you need a video playback app on a PC to be set up in a specific way for hardware acceleration to happen or some files wont use it.

              Getting a playback device to use hardware acceleration means following some very specific rules when the content is encoded, also what you're playing them back on matters, as not all consumer electronics devices support the same formats.

              Your ignorance of all this shows you're a person who watches a lot of pirated content you grab randomly off TPB and don't encode any of your own, or even stick to specific encoders who have a methodology in what they do. You're subjected to a large number of files that behave differently on your devices, but only have a few file extensions that you base your judgements on -- causing all these flawed ideas about AVI vs MKV. This is because those files are all being encoded by different people and while some may be making them to play well on "stand alone players" (like those DVD players that support DIVX, or a Roku, Popcorn Hour, etc), many are aiming for highest quality compared to the source for the filesize, a goal that will generally put you at odds with playback on anything but a full-fledged computer.

              Btw, if your want a player that can handle MKV better look for the "DIVX HD" ones, as that format uses MKV for container instead of AVI like the old "DIVX" DVD players. But then again, nowadays you can get BluRay players that support all sorts of computer file formats.

              So unless you can name another container that works with nearly every accelerator out there, doesn't put in a ton of overhead, isn't badly designed (ala Vorbis) and "just works" on everything I'm afraid we'll have to disagree.

              Container: MP4
              Video: H264 codec: Main Profile, L4.1 or less. Limit B-frames to two. (might be other requirements for acceleration, but this is a good place to start)
              Resolution: 720p or less (maybe 480p depending on device)
              Audio: AAC-LC or MP3 audio stream, no vbr encoding (may have to limit bitrate to 128 kbps or lower, too depending on playback device).

              I believe this will work on any modern playback device that's not a PC.

              • by hairyfeet (841228)

                Actually I DO encode my own files and I'm afraid it is YOU sir whose ignorance is showing because only a handful of players will play MKV and NONE of them, not a single one, supports the entire spec for less than $200. Most support only the low baseline codec spec, including those "DivX HD" units you have mentioned. I have tried them and frankly they are shit. I can get a better picture with better file size with Xvid and the ONLY gain I have seen for MKV is the ability to have multiple subs, but since i do

                • by SeaFox (739806)

                  Actually I DO encode my own files and I'm afraid it is YOU sir whose ignorance is showing because only a handful of players will play MKV and NONE of them, not a single one, supports the entire spec for less than $200.

                  Support for MKV in the PMP space is poor because MKV support in the stand alone player space was poor to start with. It isn't a commercially developed container format so I think manufactures treat it like a moving target. You might also consider AVI has been around for, what, an entire decade longer? That might influence support for it.

                  I can get a better picture with better file size with Xvid

                  H264 gives better picture quality than Xvid. That's not something you can really dispute, as the statement is based in mathematics (not to mention most encoders abandoning X

        • The reason the companies won't sell you an unprotected AVI file isn't that they're afraid you'll put it on TPB (where they know it will be no matter what, as you pointed out). It's that they're afraid that people who have no idea what TPB is (ie most people) will be ble to share and copy those unprotected AVI files, and sales will go down because frankly, the people who don't know what TPB is are the HUGE majority of those people who are willing to pay for movies...Not people like you.
        • by antdude (79039)

          Ditto, but I hate DMCA. I have seen people's Internet service get shut down for pirating. :(

      • by tibit (1762298)

        You do know that splitting out an HDMI clock requires fairly simple hardware and you only need one HDMI output from your computer for that, right?

      • by RulerOf (975607)
        It'd probably be cheaper and more practical for you to just get a copy of AnyDVD HD [slysoft.com] and play Blu-Rays to your heart's content.
    • by guruevi (827432)

      I simply use a Gefen DVI Detective for that little problem. Sure HDCP isn't supported but it seems most systems don't care and fallback on simply displaying the source.

    • by mtmra70 (964928)

      Crestron makes great HDCP switching equipment. But, what event are you doing where you need to cross-fade DRM'd content?

    • That's exactly what I was thinking. If $350 means I don't have to worry about two devices mucking up the stream, I'm sorely tempted to pick one of these up.

      It's not about copying the content, it's about being able to actually USE the damn content.

  • by jellomizer (103300) on Friday November 25, 2011 @03:23PM (#38168108)
    Ok the data is encrypted... But the TV's and stuff use it are consumer devices. Many of them are below the $300 mark.
    So if some guy found a chip that decodes HDMI in a $100.00 device takes it out and wires a new device with a different function and sells it for $300.00 he may be making money without actually decryption the HDMI. I mean my TV is HDMI. and a digital single goes into the DLP chip It would be logical that the DLP data is unencrypted by the time those electrons get there.
    • You're right, that's just not legal or easy. If you're not afraid to mod your TV though, you can tap into some output lines of the HDCP decoder to get an unencrypted feed.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      That's not how it works in practice. The TV doesn't have a specific chip for decoding HDCP. And the STB does not have one for encoding. It's most likely built into a larg System-on-Chip which is orders of magnitude more difficult to tamper with...
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by symbolset (646467) *
        At some point the device has to decrypt the stream into "Frame begin. Scanline begin. red pixel, 12.43%. green pixel, 0.004%. blue pixel 48.32%. red pixel, ..." And that's the end of that story.
      • by CyberDragon777 (1573387) <cyberdragon777@NOspaM.gmail.com> on Friday November 25, 2011 @04:37PM (#38168736)

        That's not how it works in practice. The TV doesn't have a specific chip for decoding HDCP.

        This [analog.com] $8 chip disagrees with you.
        Load it up with some keys and you get the unencrypted audio/video stream on the output pins.

      • Not 'most likely.' It's a certainty. The HDMI licence requires it.
  • by IGnatius T Foobar (4328) on Friday November 25, 2011 @03:42PM (#38168280) Homepage Journal
    What our German friends seem to have forgotten is that in the United States, we have the awesome lobbying power of the MPAA. Now they're going to make it difficult to impossible to buy FPGA programmers. If that sounds ridiculous to you, remember how difficult they made it to obtain Smart Card writers once people started figuring out how to clone DirecTV cards.
    • I don't remember having any trouble getting smart card readers/writers/unloopers etc.

    • by ThePeices (635180)

      Oh I dont think that they can do that.

      How exactly are you going to stop people accessing a JTAG port on the FPGA? JTAG has been around for donkeys years, and there are many open source JTAG interfaces availiable for a low cost, or that you can build yourself.

      If you ban or restrict the sale of commercial programmers, you cant stop somebody building their own from current open source designs.

    • They try and outlaw FPGAs they'll find themselves up against a massive backlash from companies far bigger than they are. People like Cisco, Intel, and so on. FPGAs get used in all kinds of commercial gear. They aren't a hardware hacker's toy (not that they can't be that just isn't what they are for) they are a device when it would cost too much to do a run of ASICs, but you need more specialization than a CPU can give you. Also they are for devices that need field updatability.

  • At no point in the entire history of the Euro has €200 been $350. The Euro peaked in 2008 at around $1.60 and is today at $1.33. At that conversion rate, €200 equals about $266.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 25, 2011 @04:26PM (#38168646)

      At no point in the entire history of the Euro has €200 been $350. The Euro peaked in 2008 at around $1.60 and is today at $1.33. At that conversion rate, €200 equals about $266.

      Looks like a Digilent Atlys board.
      http://digilentinc.com/Products/Catalog.cfm?NavPath=2,400&Cat=10&FPGA

      The US price is 199.99 academic, or 349.99 for non-academic.

  • Clarification (Score:5, Informative)

    by LikwidCirkel (1542097) on Friday November 25, 2011 @04:06PM (#38168474)
    Since some people seem confused as to why this is special and what it actually does.... I'll try to explain some things.

    Yes, HDCP happens right at the I/O chip, and you can extract unencrypted raw video bitstreams in a variety of ways. All involve actually opening up the receiver device and soldering on wires.

    Typical HDCP compliant devices use a ROM with a vendor key that's attached right to the I/O device. Industry standard devices such as the ADV7441 or AD9889 from Analog Devices fully support this, and interface to the rest of the system with a standard raw video bit stream. The contents of these vendor ROMs are typically unique to each vendor and their contents are not even disclosed to the vendor. They do not contain the master key, but are somehow related to it. This is cheap - the ROM's probably cost pennies, and the cost is more about registering as a certified HDCP compliant device. It's pretty much a plug-and-play solution for display device vendors - simply attach the vendor code ROM to the receiver chip, and the device just outputs unencrypted video to the rest of the system.

    There are various mod kits for adding SDI or unencrypted DVI/HDMI outputs to things like Blu-Ray players, but they all work just by connecting to the raw bitstream lines AFTER the decryption at the actual HDMI receiver chip.

    On an HDMI cable, the actual encryption that takes place is specific to keys on both sides, so can't generally be universally cracked. If a vendor key becomes compromised, future Blu-Ray players can blacklist it.

    What makes this solution useful, is that it's just about the only way to crack the encryption on-the-wire without having to open anything up or solder anything, and it can't be prevented by simply blacklisting vendor keys.
    • My HDMI capture card has a AD9889 on it. Best of all, its controlled by a software driver, the original revision of the device driver had a bug where after performing the HDCP handshake, it would allow capture from protected sources. Most people are using this workaround to capture the HDMI output of Playstation 3 game play, a legitimate use.
  • by jtownatpunk.net (245670) on Friday November 25, 2011 @04:12PM (#38168530)

    Back when the key was leaked, I figured the only thing that would keep it from being put to use was the lack of a practical use. But now there's talk of releasing movies on PPV in conjunction with their release in theaters. A device like this could have 1080 BD-quality rips of movies available on the internet the same day they're in theaters. Just grab the stream via PPV, compress it, and seed it. Also applies to any other PPV event that normally wouldn't be available anywhere but thru the cable company.

    • by wagnerrp (1305589) on Friday November 25, 2011 @04:56PM (#38168936)
      So someone comes up with a working product capable of keyless, real-time HDCP decryption, and the first thing you want to do is use it to throw content up on bittorrent. You see, this is why the rest of us can't have nice things...
      • by cynyr (703126)

        do you have a better idea of what to do with it?

        • by wagnerrp (1305589)
          Use it to bypass HDCP issues where two devices are unwilling to talk to each other. Use it to bypass ICT (image constraint token) or SO (selective output). Use it for DVRs that are incapable of complying with CableLabs' restrictions, or in other locales which have no conditional access mechanism. Use it for any number of other legitimate fair use reasons that don't involve content piracy or copyright infringement.
  • by Citizen of Earth (569446) on Friday November 25, 2011 @05:10PM (#38169078)
    Blu-ray content can be ripped *exactly* using programs like MakeMKV and all the significant video media is released on Blu-ray these days. There's no need to try to capture this material from HDMI.
    • Well, there's lots of stuff which isn't released on any media. For example, late night talk shows. If you are a big fan of Conan or The Daily Show or The Colbert Report, those don't really get released on Blu-Ray. Also, less popular, but still awesome shows like Arrested Development or Community have never gotten Blu-Ray releases. And although I'm not a huge sports nut, it's not difficult to imagine people who want to record and save all of the high-definition games of their favorite team. Obviously, i

  • by arglebargle_xiv (2212710) on Saturday November 26, 2011 @01:20AM (#38172830)
    I have a $35 no-name chinese-made HDMI repeater that strips HDCP from anything you feed to it. Quite useful for watching BluRay output on my old non-HDCP TV. Doing it with an FPGA is a nice trick, but doing it with off-the-shelf parts selling for $35 retail is more convenient :-).
    • What would be some useful keywords to use, to search, say, eBay for a device such as that?

      • What would be some useful keywords to use, to search, say, eBay for a device such as that?

        The answer to that is a bit complicated because it's not an advertised capability of any HDMI switch/repeater but an inevitable consequence of forcing the cost of DRM onto manufacturers. If an HDMI device manufacturer includes HDCP then their product is less interoperable, slower, and less reliable than that of a manufacturer who doesn't, leading to customer dissatisfaction and lost sales. The economically rational thing for a manufacturer to do then is to not include HDCP (or more generally to pretend to

  • Even the summary gets this right.

    This is about HDCP, which exists on both HDMI and DVI. I wouldn't be surprised to find something similar on DisplayPort.

    This is not about HDMI, which can deliver an unencrypted video signal, just as DVI can.

    Honestly, this makes about as much sense as saying "Reverse engineers crack ethernet copy protection" when talking about Ubisoft's DRM.

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