HDCP has been a buzz word this generation for Sony’s Playstation 4. Sony have announced that HDCP will be removed while playing games in an upcoming firmware update for the system, but what is HDCP and will it make gaming any better for PS4 owners?
HDCP is short for High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection. It is a way to encrypt the contents of a HDMI video stream coming from a HD video device. HDCP is used on all devices that can play Blu-Ray movies. It is used to prevent people from being able to use a capture card to record a Blu-Ray movie. E.G. A capture card works by reading a video stream, sending a copy of this stream to a computer where it is saved to a video file and then passing the main stream to your TV. If Blu-Ray devices didn’t have HDCP people could rent a movie and very easily make a HD digital copy of the movie using a capture card.
HDCP is not a requirement for video games but for some reason Sony have included the protection on both the PS3 and PS4. This was not a big issue with the PS3 as users were able to use component cables but now that the PS4 does not support component it has caused trouble for gamers who want to be able to record game footage with their capture cards. Microsoft have confirmed that HDCP will not be enabled for games on the Xbox One which allows gamers to record game footage. Sony who have been listening to the feedback of gamers have finally decided they are going to remove HDCP.
So what does this mean for the gamers? For most people this wont matter to you at all. If you don’t use an external capture card to capture your footage then the removal of HDCP isn’t much use to you. This is great news for YouTube gamers who will now be able to capture footage from the PS4 in HD without needing any extra hardware.