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Old 03-31-2009, 04:29 PM   #1
Dan203
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No warning that Netflix requires HDCP

So I discovered something interesting the other night. I was trying to watch a Netflix stream using my TiVo S3. As has happened several times before, I queued it up but all I got was a black screen. I've always assumed this was a problem with the TiVo servers being overloaded or something, because it seems to happen at random and because the first time it happened I called Netflix tech support and they blamed it on the TiVo.

Well just recently I got an XBox 360 so when it happened this time I figured I'd try using the XBox instead. So I fired it up and gave it a try. It too failed, however it gave me an error about it not being able to establish a secure HDCP link with the display. Having seen a similar error on my PS3 a couple of times I knew that I could fix it by simply turning off the TV for a minute. So I did that and sure enough the XBox was able to get an HDCP link and start playing the video.

This made me curious if maybe the TiVo had the same issue. So I switched back to the TiVo and gave it a try. And lo and behold it worked.

So basically the TiVo requires HDCP for Netflix, but when it can not establish a secure HDCP connection with the display it just gives you a blank screen. No error, no warning, just a blank screen! That seems like a glaring oversight to me. I mean all this time I've assumed it was an issue with the Netflix/TiVo service and have actually missed out on using the service when I wanted to because I didn't think there was anything I could do to fix it. Now I find out that all those times it failed I could have simply turned off my TV for a second and got it working again.

Now I know there is obviously some underlying problem with my system that is causing the HDCP link to fail and that I should fix it, but TiVo should still have some sort of error/warning screen for this situation so people don't just assume it a problem with the TiVo/Netflix service like I did.

Dan

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Old 03-31-2009, 05:38 PM   #2
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Or the Tv should have some warning about not having a secure connection.

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Old 03-31-2009, 06:18 PM   #3
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Check the web site for your TV and see if they have any firmware updates. I had intermittent HDMI issues on my Samsung LCD, but an updated firmware made it rock-solid for all my HDMI devices (all two of them). No issues with Netfliz through my S3.

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Old 03-31-2009, 06:31 PM   #4
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I don't think that it necessarily requires HDCP , but it probably does check for it if you are using HDMI. I stream one of my TivoHD throughout my house with a component amp and I can use Netflix fine on it. That TivoHD is connected to another TV in my bedroom with HDMI, but 99% of the time that I am watching shows over component to the other TVs, the TV connected through HDMI is powered down.

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Old 03-31-2009, 06:32 PM   #5
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I avoid HDMI like the plague. Component looks just as good for my devices and avoids all the handshaking issues + DRM + lousy HDMI connectors.

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Old 03-31-2009, 07:29 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by txporter View Post
I don't think that it necessarily requires HDCP
OK, well it requires HDCP for HDMI.

I don't really care that it requires HDCP, I care that TiVo doesn't display an sort of warning/error alerting the user to that fact. The XBox popped up an error screen right away, which alerted me to the problem and allowed me to fix it. The TiVo simply goes to a black screen with no indication as to why the video isn't playing.

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Old 03-31-2009, 07:41 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lafos View Post
Check the web site for your TV and see if they have any firmware updates. I had intermittent HDMI issues on my Samsung LCD, but an updated firmware made it rock-solid for all my HDMI devices (all two of them). No issues with Netfliz through my S3.
I checked, but there is no firmware update for my set. However now that I know what the problem is it's as easy as turning the TV off/on to fix it, so it's not big deal. I just wish TiVo had put up some sort of error screen alerting me to the problem so I wold have known about it sooner. If I had never bought the XBox 360 I never would have know the black screen was caused by an HDCP problem and I would have just wrote off the TiVo/Netflix deal as unreliable.

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Old 03-31-2009, 10:16 PM   #8
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I agree completely. There should be an error message. Good thing you had enough tools to diagnose the problem. I really like the Netflix option, and it has performed well.

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Old 03-31-2009, 10:17 PM   #9
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Does this mean that I couldn't use netflix streaming on my S3/TivoHD that are connected via RCA cables? I don't have a network connection now, but at some point I intend on trying to install dd-wrt on a wireless router to connect to downstairs.. MOSTLY to replace the phone line that's currently there only for my Tivos...

but if I could stream too, that'd be nice..

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Old 03-31-2009, 10:24 PM   #10
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Does this mean that I couldn't use netflix streaming on my S3/TivoHD that are connected via RCA cables? I don't have a network connection now, but at some point I intend on trying to install dd-wrt on a wireless router to connect to downstairs.. MOSTLY to replace the phone line that's currently there only for my Tivos...

but if I could stream too, that'd be nice..
No, HDCP is only used when connecting via HDMI or DVI.

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Old 04-01-2009, 06:02 PM   #11
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I just wish TiVo had put up some sort of error screen alerting me to the problem so I wold have known about it sooner.
Why should this surprise you? This behavior is SOP at TiVo.

E.g. there's no such thing as an undetected disk error. With the amount of error detection and correction in modern drives, the odds of an undetected error are many orders of magnitude lower than for a detected error. And yet TiVo apparently chooses to ignore drive status. It will stutter, it will crash, it will reboot, but it will not simply say "I just encountered a bad sector".

The same with eSATA. The interface is error checked. TiVo could easily pop up a message to report problems on the link. But no, they don't.

This cavalier attitude toward reporting errors is par for the course for TiVo. It's one of their biggest failings.

Maybe the problem is that the subcontracted "engineers" in places like India don't really care about the quality of their work. But, instead, I'd bet that TiVo's marketing people have mandated a "don't report errors" policy.

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Old 04-01-2009, 07:19 PM   #12
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I sent my complaint along to a friend at TiVo. We'll see if they actually do anything with it.

There is a line item in the System Information screen that tells you if HDCP is active or not, so they obviously have the information. The only thing I could see that might deter this "feature" is if they don't have a way of telling if you're actually using HDMI or not. It would be kind of annoying, and mis-informative, if they popped up an error saying HDCP was required if you were actually using one of the other outputs and not HDMI.

Dan

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Old 04-01-2009, 07:31 PM   #13
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it will not simply say "I just encountered a bad sector".
What do you want the TiVo to do? Throw up an error message every time there's a read error?

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Old 04-01-2009, 09:25 PM   #14
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HDMI is a pain which provides little benefit for the user but lots of benefit to the entertainment industry. Do yourself a favor and use component.

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Old 04-01-2009, 10:18 PM   #15
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If you use HDMI, it does require HDCP.

However, you don't have to use HDMI. It will work with analog component cables.

I am not in favor of the using analog cables of any type. Some can't tell the difference some can.

One thing I do know is that I live near a high power electrical lines. When I use analog cables I get VERY BAD RFI on any analog cable I use. I don't get any issues with true digital cables.

TGC

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Old 04-01-2009, 11:06 PM   #16
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HDMI is a pain which provides little benefit for the user but lots of benefit to the entertainment industry. Do yourself a favor and use component.
I use over two dozen HDMI devices and have zero problems. One cable handles audio and video.

What is a pain is using three cables for an analog video connection, then still needing another cable for audio. And you can't even get the high resolution multichannel audio with that.

HDMI is so much easier, and is anything but a pain.

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Old 04-01-2009, 11:32 PM   #17
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I'm pretty sure the TiVo OS does show HDCP errors when they occur (I've seen messages about that for a few seconds before). I thought the Netflix app was coming from a separate server and written in java or something like that - can you even launch the Netflix app without a network connection? It may not have the capability to put up the same kinds of messages as the regular TiVo UI.

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Old 04-02-2009, 04:27 AM   #18
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The app is Java, but the video decoding is done internally and obviously checks the HDCP connection in some manor. How else would it know to put up a black screen instead of just playing the video? If the app itself can't check the HDCP status, then the TiVo software should replace the black screen with a stock video containing an error.

I've actually considered using component cables instead, but right now my A/V system is maxed out. It only has 4 inputs. I have two S2 TiVos each connected to an input, a Wii connected to the 3rd and an HDMI switch connected to the 4th. (Octava with Toshlink) The HDMI switch has the two S3 TiVos, the PS3 and the XBox 360. I've done some testing and it seems that whether or not it connects has something to do with which input the TV is set to when it turns on. So I may be able to program my Harmony to work around this problem.

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Old 04-02-2009, 08:25 AM   #19
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Yes, with the Harmony you can change the order that things are turned on. It could also be the HDMI switch. All HDMI switches are not the same.

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Old 04-02-2009, 08:33 AM   #20
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Some can't tell the difference some can.
Or... some think they can tell the difference and others know they can't. Your point regarding interference is good. I prefer the more streamlined HDMI cable, especially when also relaying audio, but blanking and syncing issues can annoy. I've gone back to component on my Xbox 360.

By the way, we should consider ourselves lucky. In the UK, some HD STBs now ship without analog connections. At least we have a reasonable alternative. And I agree TiVo should flag the HDCP issue for folks attempting to run Netflix over HDMI.

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Old 04-02-2009, 03:47 PM   #21
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Or... some think they can tell the difference and others know they can't. Your point regarding interference is good. I prefer the more streamlined HDMI cable, especially when also relaying audio, but blanking and syncing issues can annoy. I've gone back to component on my Xbox 360.
I have "Syncing" issues on one set with my TiVo, but not with other HDMI equipment, and yet no "Syncing" issues on another TV set no matter what HDMI equipment I have tried on it.

HDMI, HDCP standards and compliance is about as good as true DLNA compliance.

In my situation, The problem is with that one HDTV I have, not the TiVo, BR player, Xbox, etc... because when I try all that equipment on my other HDTV I don't have any issues with syncing at all.

I have seen some Sony HDTV's have all sorts of HDMI/HDCP issues with TiVo's, yet no issues with Xbox's or other CE devices.

I have also seen issues being caused by the cables themselvs too. The problem with HDMI cables isn't so much the cable itself, but the cable connectors at each end of the HDMI cable.

One thing to note though... the HDTV that I have syncing issues with is an OLDER set, and a lower end unit as well. It's about 3 years old, and is made by Westinghouse. It has a great picture and it was at a great price. For that, I am willing to put up with syncing issues! (32" was only $350)

Im not willing to put up with syncing issues though on a $5,000 plasma.

But like I said before, I use HDMI cables mainly because I get so bad RFI issues with using analog cables, that I have to use HDMI.

TGC

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Old 01-07-2016, 03:19 PM   #22
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I use over two dozen HDMI devices and have zero problems. One cable handles audio and video.

What is a pain is using three cables for an analog video connection, then still needing another cable for audio. And you can't even get the high resolution multichannel audio with that.

HDMI is so much easier, and is anything but a pain.
You are right - for simple "point to point connections" between two devices which is what HDMI/HDCP was intended for it is far easier but enormous problems arise when you are trying to support "multiple" devices simultaneously.

With analog video it was easy to split and amplify the signals to support multiple displays simultaneously but with HDMI/HDCP complex repeaters are required to receive the original signal, decrypt HDCP, verify HDCP keys for all downstream displays and set up separate sessions with unique HDCP encryption between the repeater (sometimes call a splitter) and each display. It is a colossal waste of bandwidth but even worse it restricts ALL displays to the least capable video and audio resolution. That is, if you support 10 TV's and 9 are 1080p with AV receivers that can support Dolby True 24 bit 192KHz audio - maybe 7.1 channels of audio - and one TV that's 720 and stereo audio then the repeater must request 720 and stereo in the EDID session with the originating source and that is all you can display on any of the 10 sets because that's all there will be in the stream being repeated (or split). Technically "splitting" is not the correct term but most peoplee call these devices to support multiple TV's splitters when in reality they are "repeaters". This is incredibly complex and wastes bandwidth and benefits no one other than the 10 or so manufacturers who own HDMI who have now effectively banned high (1080) resolution analog video output signals from any HDMI device. For several years now new BluRay player has been allowed to output hi-res analog video and they are "trying' to kill s/pdif (coax and optical digital audio).

So, "yes" it's easier but only for the simplest of applications (2 devices) and a royal pain for anyone trying to do anything the least bit complex.

I work for a company that makes devices to correct lip-sync in home theater systems and we've finally produced an HDMI product (not announced yet) and it had to be a "repeater" even though it doesn't support multiple TV's. It has to receive the HDMI signal, perform HDCP decryption, separate video and audio, delay the audio, re-insert the delayed audio into the HDMI stream and HDCP encrypt it for output.

Compare that to our s/pdif delay products which only had to delay the audio via remote control. HDMI is "infinitely" more complex and prone to all sorts of HDCP handshake problems because they have to check HDCP encryption many times a second.

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Old 01-15-2016, 05:07 PM   #23
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You are right - for simple "point to point connections" between two devices which is what HDMI/HDCP was intended for it is far easier but enormous problems arise when you are trying to support "multiple" devices simultaneously.

With analog video it was easy to split and amplify the signals to support multiple displays simultaneously but with HDMI/HDCP complex repeaters are required to receive the original signal, decrypt HDCP, verify HDCP keys for all downstream displays and set up separate sessions with unique HDCP encryption between the repeater (sometimes call a splitter) and each display. It is a colossal waste of bandwidth but even worse it restricts ALL displays to the least capable video and audio resolution. That is, if you support 10 TV's and 9 are 1080p with AV receivers that can support Dolby True 24 bit 192KHz audio - maybe 7.1 channels of audio - and one TV that's 720 and stereo audio then the repeater must request 720 and stereo in the EDID session with the originating source and that is all you can display on any of the 10 sets because that's all there will be in the stream being repeated (or split). Technically "splitting" is not the correct term but most peoplee call these devices to support multiple TV's splitters when in reality they are "repeaters". This is incredibly complex and wastes bandwidth and benefits no one other than the 10 or so manufacturers who own HDMI who have now effectively banned high (1080) resolution analog video output signals from any HDMI device. For several years now new BluRay player has been allowed to output hi-res analog video and they are "trying' to kill s/pdif (coax and optical digital audio).

So, "yes" it's easier but only for the simplest of applications (2 devices) and a royal pain for anyone trying to do anything the least bit complex.

I work for a company that makes devices to correct lip-sync in home theater systems and we've finally produced an HDMI product (not announced yet) and it had to be a "repeater" even though it doesn't support multiple TV's. It has to receive the HDMI signal, perform HDCP decryption, separate video and audio, delay the audio, re-insert the delayed audio into the HDMI stream and HDCP encrypt it for output.

Compare that to our s/pdif delay products which only had to delay the audio via remote control. HDMI is "infinitely" more complex and prone to all sorts of HDCP handshake problems because they have to check HDCP encryption many times a second.
At home I've been using HDMI matrix switches and splitters for years. Many of my HDMI connections go through multiple switches, before going through a splitter, receiver, digital video enhancer, video processor etc...Since first using HDMi in 2005, I've always gone through multiple HDMI devices before going to the TV. It has typically worked great in my setups.

Now at work we have setup systems for multiple displays. If the system is designed properly, all Displays will handle the same resolution. In other words, all displays should be specified to handle the same resolution. When the system is designed properly there aren't the issues you described.

At work HDMI is so much easier to deal with than when we had to mess with analog cables. All we need to run is at least one twisted pair cable to every Tv. Then we can run the video and audio we want using HDBaseT devices. it has made things so much easier than when we dealt with analog devices. Again, as long as the system is designed properly, the system will work extremely well. Poorly designed systems are the ones that will typically have issues.

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