DTCP is a "link protection" technology that protects audiovisual content, when transmitted between digital entertainment products, against unauthorized copying, interception and tampering within the home, while ensuring that content can be viewed and copied on home networked devices. DTCP enables audiovisual content to be transmitted, in an encrypted form, only to those devices along the home network that have authenticated compliance with DTCP.
DTCP technology is defined in a Specification, with supplements mapping DTCP to particular protocols. "Informational" (non-confidential) versions of the specifications can be downloaded here. Full versions of the Specification are available upon execution of an Adopter Agreement.
What is DTCP?
DTCP is a method of protecting audio and audiovisual entertainment content over high-speed, high-bandwidth bidirectional digital interfaces on consumer electronics entertainment and information products. Using DTCP, content can travel between these devices or across a digital home network. Content that arrives to your home in protected form remains protected against unauthorized retransmission and copying.
Balanced Protection for Content Owners and Consumers
Content owners (such as motion picture studios and television production companies) license their movies and shows for transmission over cable and satellite services, or for distribution on media like Blu-Ray and DVD discs. All of these digital services and media apply some form of protection for the content. Some, like pay-per-view services or purchased disc media, require payment to view particular content -- typically, these are protected against retransmission outside the home and against copying. Other services, like pay subscription TV channels such as HBO or Showtime, are protected against retransmission outside the home but permit the consumer to make a copy for personal or home use. But without any protection, these content owners would be reluctant to release content in digital and High Definition formats, within just a few months after theatrical release.
DTCP gives these content owners the protection that encourages the early release and licensing of high-value motion picture content. And, DTCP helps ensure that consumers retain in the digital world the kind of flexible personal use we all have enjoyed for decades:
- View Content Anywhere in the Home
When you network your devices together, either one to one or across a home network, DTCP enables you to share content anywhere and everywhere in the home. The protection is there, but it's not a barrier to your network.
- Record for Personal Enjoyment
DTCP established "Encoding Rules" that set a ceiling on the level of protection. Terrestrial broadcast channels can be copied without restriction. You should always be able to record a copy of programming from Basic and Premium subscription channels, though you may not be able to make more copies from that copy. Programming that you pay separately to view at your convenience, such as video on demand or pay per view, can be set as "Copy Never" (since the price to view may be less than the price to own).
- Move Recorded Content Between Devices
DTCP provides device manufacturers the ability to move a single copy from one device to another. For example, if you have made a single copy on a DVR of a subscription channel program, you can move that single copy from the DVR to a DVD recordable disc. Or, from a DVR in the family room to a different DVR in the bedroom. Or, from a DVR to a portable player.
- A High Degree of Interoperability
DTCP works with other technologies to create a seamless experience for the consumer. For example, content protected with DTCP can be "handed off" to a different digital technology for recording, or to your television set, or to another type of digital output on your home products. In this way, DTCP helps to promote interoperability among many types of devices, and many technologies, from many manufacturers.
- Keeping Consumers in Mind
DTCP lets consumers enjoy their reasonable and customary viewing and recording practices at home. Through interoperability, DTCP helps to promote digital networking of your media throughout the home and on personal media devices. Under the Encoding Rules, DTCP assures consumers the ability to time-shift and record programming in digital formats, as they have done for decades with analog programming. Indeed, most consumers will never know DTCP is there. But because DTCP does provide robust protection, motion picture producers have better incentives to get more compelling programming into consumers' homes, sooner, through a variety of media and services. And enjoying great content at home, when and how you want it, is ultimately what DTCP is about.
More details? See our Overview presentation.