Frequently Asked Questions


  • What is "Digital Transmission Content Protection"?

    Digital Transmission Content Protection ("DTCP") technology protects high-value digital motion pictures, television programs and audio against unauthorized interception and copying in the home and personal environment (e.g., between a digital set top box and digital video recorder, or between a personal computer and a digital TV).

  • What does DTCP mean for consumers?

    Consumer digital devices, such as DVD players and digital cable and satellite boxes, have been limited to analog connections which provide less than optimum quality, or display-only digital connections such as HDMI that do not permit personal recording or home networking. DTCP facilitates transmissions from sources of audio and audiovisual content along wired and wireless digital home networks to display and recording devices. As a result, consumers can enjoy high-quality digital video transmitted throughout the home, and can digitally record programming as has been customary with analog VCRs. DTCP technology also paves the way for a networked home PC "server" that stores a consumer’s video and audio library for access in any room of the house.

  • What does DTCP mean for content owners?

    Copyright owners were concerned that release of their high-value digital content in the home, absent protection, could lead to unlimited "pure" digital copying and unauthorized redistribution of digital signals (e.g., over the Internet). DTCP technology gives copyright owners the security needed to promote the release of more digital content, which can be transmitted digitally throughout the home. Studios can use DTCP to protect motion pictures and to securely offer expanded digital pay-per-view, video on demand and rental services over cable and satellite services. Record labels can use DTCP to protect high-resolution DVD-Audio and Super Audio CD content. DVD players can use DTCP to deliver full digital quality signals to HDTV sets and home theaters.

  • Why is the CableLabs approval of DTCP-IP significant?

    The approval of DTCP for Internet Protocol ("DTCP-IP") means that digital cable products such as CableCARDs, set-top-boxes and personal video recorders will not only be able to digitally output cable television programming to the nearby television set, but will be able to network that content throughout the home. For example, if you want to finish watching a pay per view movie in a different room, you can pause it and resume watching elsewhere later. DTCP-IP can be implemented over many physical interfaces (such as Ethernet, 802.11 and over powerlines), including wireless platforms that eliminate many problems of attaching and organizing connecting cables.

  • How does DTCP work?

    A device enabled with DTCP determines whether it is connected to other devices that implement the DTCP protection technology. Content encoded for DTCP protection is encrypted and securely transmitted only to recording and display devices that implement DTCP. The content carries information indicating whether and to what extent the content may be copied.

  • How does DTCP help assure customary consumer recording?

    The DTLA license sets "encoding rules" on how much protection content owners can apply to particular types of content. Free terrestrial "over-the-air" broadcasts can be copied without restriction. Consumers can record from subscription channels (e.g., HBO and enhanced basic channels), but cannot copy those recordings. Content that consumers acquire via discrete transactions (e.g., DVD, pay-per-view and video on demand) can be protected against any copying.

  • What home and personal network technologies can use DTCP?

    DTCP currently can be used to protect content delivered over any interface implementing Internet Protocol ("IP") such as Ethernet and 802.11, IEEE 1394 ("Firewire") and USB connections, as well as the MOST and IDB 1394 platforms.

  • How does DTCP affect interoperability?

    DTCP promotes interoperability among devices on the home network. Working with proprietors of other content protection systems, DTCP can transmit content that has been protected with other technologies such as AACS, CPRM, CSS, D-VHS, Magic Gate and VCPS; and content protected with DTCP can be handed off to other protection technologies, including HDCP, Windows Media DRM, and the above-referenced recording protection methods.

  • What is the "5C" or the "Digital Transmission Licensing Administrator" ("DTLA")?

    DTCP was developed jointly by five companies (Intel, Hitachi, Panasonic, Sony and Toshiba), often referred to as "5C". These companies formed an entity to license the DTCP technology, known as the Digital Transmission Licensing Administrator, LLC ("DTLA").

  • How was the DTCP technology developed?

    In response to suggestions from Congress, in 1996 a voluntary inter-industry group formed to study technical methods to protect digital video. Representatives from the motion picture, consumer electronics and computer industries collaborated at length to define the elements for a system to secure content transmitted in digital form within the home. This list of requirements was issued in 1997 in a public "Call for Proposals". From among many systems submitted, the five DTLA companies merged their solutions into a "best of breed" technology.

  • How can I get a license to make or sell products with DTCP?

    You will need to execute the Adopter Agreement, which can be downloaded from the DTLA website. Complete and sign the Agreement, then send it to DTLA at the address set forth on the signature page of the Agreement. DTLA licenses DTCP on a reasonable and nondiscriminatory basis. More than 140 hardware and semiconductor companies worldwide have signed licenses to implement the 5C technology.

  • Can I evaluate DTCP without taking a full license?

    You can evaluate DTCP before becoming a full Adopter in two ways. First, DTLA posts Informational Versions of its Specifications on its website for download and review. Second, you can sign the license as an Evaluator for a lower fee, and receive full versions of the Specifications and the right to create prototype products using dummy certificates. When you decide to use DTCP commercially, sign the Activation Notice in the Adopter Agreement and send it to DTLA.

  • Should I be a Small or Large Adopter?

    DTLA provides for two categories of Adopter, Small and Large. A Small Adopter pays a lower annual administrative fee, but higher costs to acquire certificates. A Large Adopter pays a higher annual administrative fee, but lower costs to acquire certificates. You can elect whichever category makes better economic sense for your company in a given year, and can change categories in successive years as appropriate.

  • How can I protect my content with DTCP?

    There are two options. Under its IP Statement, DTLA allows any content owner that follows the encoding rules to use the fundamental protections of DTCP technology without obtaining a license and without payment. DTLA also makes available a Content Participant Agreement for major content producers, which can be downloaded from the DTLA website.

  • How can I get a copy of the DTCP technical specifications?

    You can download the Informational Versions of the DTCP Specifications from the DTLA website. By signing the Adopter Agreement, you can get full copies of the Specifications.

  • How can I contact DTLA?

    For further information, please use the Contact DTLA page on this site.

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