DirecTV Blocks HBO Over HDMI (without HDCP)


Beginning last week, a subset of DirecTV subscribers may have experienced tighter HDMI output controls limiting their ability to view HBO via the television and connectivity options of their choice. The scope of the lockdown isn’t yet clear, but at least one HR20 owner and a THR22 (the new, old TiVo) have been negatively impacted by this change. Brent D. tells me there was zero proactive outreach and support informed him implementation was required by the studios by 4/12 and offered to send component cables to overcome his older Toshiba HDTV’s lack of High-bandwith Digital Content Protection (HDCP).

I reached out to both HBO and DirecTV for comment. HBO indicates their copy protection policies haven’t recently changed, while DirecTV’s rep confirms a HDCP requirement for premium channels when using HDMI connections and suggests customers with older TVs switch to component cables. I’d say this is anti-consumer and a misguided approach to reducing piracy as it’s much easier to archive video traveling via an analog component connection. Unless DirecTV or HBO’s ultimate intent is to provide lower resolution 540p video over component…


What makes this move particularly offensive is, unlike Blu-ray’s analog sunset, DirecTV’s lockdown is occurring on deployed hardware – with no outreach, knowledge base articles (that I can find), and essentially breaking formerly working customer configurations. Impacted subscribers can give up HDMI for component clutter or buy new televisions. Nice?

Brent points out the irony:

It is frustrating to be caught unaware and then not be able to watch the HBO subscription that I pay for. I am beginning to have sympathy for content pirates, as there are so many barriers to me actually using the subscription that I pay for. Yes, the subscription that I pay for! I pay for it!

68 thoughts on “DirecTV Blocks HBO Over HDMI (without HDCP)”

  1. Complete BS.
    I have a 6yr old plasma I bought as part of a house deal a couple years ago and I’m thinking if I tried to turn on the HBO package I would get this message too.

    Amazing how these content providers are running scared. HBO/Directv will suffer a net loss on this scheme.

    Same ol, same ol – The pirates are always going to be pirates and you’re shooting yourself in the foot if you make your products un-consumer friendly in an effort to block a small pct of the population from stealing what they’ll find a way to steal anyway.

  2. Selectable Output Control is banned by the FCC except in the case of first run movies that have not hit DVD yet, so slippery slope does not apply.

    To me what is interesting is that HDCP hasn’t been required up until now — I’m actually shocked at that. I doubt HBO has anything to do with this, it is probably just DirecTV finally getting their act together and getting HDCP working as it is supposed to.

    While I agree that this is senseless, it is in line with the MPAA’s close any piracy hole we can, even when though the dam is breached in 20 places, train of thought. That and the fact that an HDTV that’s so old it doesn’t support HDCP, can’t really render more than 540 lines anyways, makes this inconsequential in my book. I mean, just buy a new TV already.

  3. I was thinking about adding HBO to my DirecTV subscription (having finally got over my anger at how hard they made it to cancel Showtime after the 3 month introductory offer expired), but now I won’t. Not going to take the chance that my seven year old read projection TV won’t work with a HDMI connection.

  4. I sat down to watch Game of Thrones Sunday night and realized HBO was blocked out. I called Direct TV and threw a fit. I ended up cancelling HBO and will be cancellling Showtime and getting a lower priced TV package. I am not switching my cables. I have a 1080 plasma that is 5 years old. When my contract is up with Direct TV I will cancel it. They could have handled this in a different way…like warning us.

  5. “When my contract is up with Direct TV I will cancel it. They could have handled this in a different way…like warning us.”

    Via Wikipedia:

    “As of December 2011, the Better Business Bureau gives DirecTV a D+ rating.”

    As the song sez, you left your wallet in El Segundo….

  6. I agree with all that this requirement is consumer unfriendly and does not stop pirates at all… However Dave the title on this article through me for a loop… Then I realized it wasn’t that you phrased it weird (at first glance I thought they were requiring hdmi) but that this requirement is so stupid that I never even thought I’d be reading about it.

    Suggesting customers downgrade their cables is the dumbest thing I’ve heard in awhile… and I manage retail… Dealing with dumb is my job.

  7. That’s 2 jokes about leaving wallets in El Segundo in 2 days! Listen guys, I’ll give it another look at work today, but El Segundo is a busy place and your wallet is probably gone at this point. Sheesh!

  8. “Listen guys, I’ll give it another look at work today, but El Segundo is a busy place and your wallet is probably gone at this point.”

    The Ladykillers is one of only two Coen brothers movies that I didn’t really like, but the way they worked that into the opening sequence really did slay me.

  9. Direct TV and other providers are required to implement HDCP on HBO, Showtime, and new release PPV/VOD. This typically impacts users with some HDTVs manufactured pre-2005 where an HDMI cable is being used. It is a small subset of users. Therefore, they would not communicate this to all users and cause confusion and create higher call volumes. The essential problem source is not the cable/satellite provider, nor the networks that rightly want their content protected, but the governmental regulation of and how copyright protection evolves on TVs, computers, and other viewing devices. HDCP has already been cracked and presumably Intel is already developing another standard for the networks. It’s similar to the WPA2 problem for older wireless routers/modems. As people find ways to circumvent the protection, new standards need to be created, creating a fragmentation in hardware.

  10. What leaves me most curious is why we’re only hearing about this on DirecTV. The rep I spoke to made it sound like they had to implement so quickly, they couldn’t communicate it ahead of time.

    I’m calling them on that. They probably made a choice not to communicate because they wouldn’t know how to do so without triggering high call volumes. I think it would have been costly for them to set up a test environment for customers, but that would have been a customer friendly way to do it.

    Now I’m totally baffled. I pushed my entertainment center out from the wall and got back there with a flashlight and read off the model number: Toshiba 34HFX84. I found the specs on Crutchfield’s site, and lo! “2 rear-panel HDMI digital audio/video input with HDCP copy protection”.

    What the heck is going on?

  11. I thought all TVs with HDMI sockets were required to support HDCP. I wasn’t even aware it was possible not to. Are these people using HDMI->DVI cables or something?

    Actually I just looked it up:

    The HDMI royalty fee drops by 20% if the manufacturer includes HDCP, but it’s not actually required. This explains why almost everybody does it, though.

  12. More interesting intel, Brent. I’d write it off as a fluke except you’re not the only one hit this month (coincidence?) and Support specifically told you something about 4/12. Hmmm. Curious. Wish DirecTV had more to say on the matter. Maybe I’ll check in again — but not sure how technical my contact is, as he mentioned component cables could not be used to copy content. Huh?

    Adam, if a set-top can detect HDCP they have they surely have the capability to target those customers with onscreen alerts ahead of any changes.

  13. Rodalpho: I’m not clear if “off” is achieved with the power button on the THR22 receiver. It goes into standby mode, so I unless I reset the receiver (which I already tried), I don’t know how to implement this idea.

    Either way, that doesn’t actually sound like HDCP compliant if you have to fuss with it.

  14. The cable / sats don’t want HDCP as it angers customers, as we have seen here, and they could cancel. This is all the doing and fault of the MPAA (movie studios) and the complicit FCC (our(?) government) doing the bidding of the campaign contributors for anti-honest paying consumers. And will somebody tell the studios that the tech companies are selling them snake-oil in the form “copy protection” that never lasts and is always circumvented, yet they continue to pour countless $$$ into the fantasy of full piracy/copy protection. There are some real morons at the studios, for they may know how to make great films, but they know nothing about technology they pay for copy protection.

  15. I agree, this is bs. Sorry folks, but reality is that MANY people keep their TVs for 10 years and if you are obsoleting technology at a faster clip than that then you are going to lose customers.

    And seriously, Google for “HDMI HDCP handshake problem” and look at the dates you pull up. Yes ignore the ones with DVI in the title. But you’ll still pull up numerous hits from 2007, 2008 and even 2009. I think it took some manufacturers a while to get all the technical kinks out.

  16. This is the bs response I got from Directv:

    Dear Mr. Lion,

    Thank you for writing. I am sorry to hear that you were blocked out from watching HBO and you are considering canceling your service when your contract is up. I understand your concern about the $10 cancellation fee for canceling HBO. Our premium services (movie channels, SPORTS PACK and other select services) are offered on a monthly basis. Since you disconnected HBO before you have had it for 30 days, a $10 fee was charged. We appreciate your business and we want to keep you as a customer. We would like to speak with you to see how we can help you and show you why DIRECTV is the best choice in home entertainment, so please call us at 800-531-5000 so we can assist you as speaking with us is the best way to address concerns like this. Thanks again for writing, Mr. Lion and for giving me the opportunity to respond to your concerns.


  17. What I’m left wondering at this point: why is DirecTV saying they *had* to do this (on the quick, no warning), but I can’t find any recent mentions of other providers (Comcast, TimeWarner, any East Coast cable companies) doing the same thing?

    I mean, I know they aren’t the most customer friendly folks, but what accounts for this disconnect?

  18. Let’s assume for the moment this wasn’t a recent change and also let’s assume the support rep Brent spoke to was confused. The fact is, you still can’t watch HBO on your television over HDMI. At the very least, DirecTV should eat the $10 since they can’t get it working on Jim’s set via the connectivity option of his choosing. They should also have some sort of support page on what HDCP is. The only mention I could find seems to suggest DirecTV isn’t fully aware of the technology they’ve implemented and there’s no mention of a HDCP requirement for premium channels:

    HDCP stands for High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection. It’s a type of digital copy protection, developed by Intel. From what I’ve heard, if you’re watching something encoded with HDCP and you’re not connected through HDMI or DVI, the image will be distorted. It’s a copy protection deal.

    What’s worse than DRM? Broken DRM.

  19. Sorry…I don’t mean to beat a dead horse, but I found the following from ARS Technica and it looks like Showtime and Starz are next in line:

    By Tuesday, digital media blogs like Zatz Not Funny had picked up on the development. We decided to contact DirecTV ourselves and ask what was going on.

    “Here’s the story,” DirecTV spokesperson Robert Mercer told us. The direct broadcast satellite service has recently integrated an HDCP copy protection feature, “which owners of premium services like HBO, Starz, and Showtime require all pay TV distributors to activate on all premium channels.”

    “This initiative may impact a small group of customers who have older model TVs that don’t support HDCP through HDMI,” Mercer advised. “These customers should replace their HDMI cable with a component video cable (E.G. Red, Green, Blue) and a separate audio cable.”

    DirecTV enabled the feature on all HBO-owned channels last week, “and will continue rolling out to other premium services in the coming weeks,” we were informed.

  20. “I understand your concern about the $10 cancellation fee for canceling HBO … Since you disconnected HBO before you have had it for 30 days, a $10 fee was charged. We appreciate your business and we want to keep you as a customer.”

    See? They understand you and appreciate you. Not to repeat myself, but via Wikipedia:

    “As of December 2011, the Better Business Bureau gives DirecTV a D+ rating.”

    As the song sez, you left your wallet in El Segundo

    (Also, beware that they have a history of charging improper cancellation fees, so keep a close eye on your bills until you are totally done with them.)

  21. I have a 6 month old Samsung. Literally bought the newest model 6 months ago. I am fairly tech savvy but don’t know much about the connection part of video. Nonetheless I received this message in my tv on Sunday and have been unable to resolve it. My new tv doesnt even take the 3 prong component cable Input it requires a special adaptor for me to add it. Hdcp? I mean what average tv person knows this? All I know is I have like 4 hdmi inputs how do I know if I have hdcp? I have a $1800 flat screen 6 months old and now I have to go back to the 90s technology? We are talking about .005% of te population pirating this stuff why do they 99% have to adjust to their problem? I have contacted direct tv and they have sent me some component cables but my tv doest take the 3 prong input. This decision needs to be reversed ASAP or I will cancel my subscription.

  22. Sue DirecTV in small claims. Make sure to name the CEO. State the company engaged in a material breach of contract by altering service in the middle of an agreement without prior warning. At signup, they sold you a service within specific parameters, are currently failing to provide said product. If nothing else, they waste money sending a lawyer. More than likely, you’ll recover any termination fees when leaving the service.

  23. Just stumbling over these threads after my own battle with DirecTV. Talked to them Monday after I first noticed my HBO was blocked. Didn’t know at the time this was a widespread problem. The rep I talked to wasn’t familiar with the extension 900 error code I was pulling… In fact said he had never heard of it. It ended with him that my box was broken and they were going to send me a newer model that would fix it. Got home today and they sent me a “factory refurbished model” that was the same as my hr22 but metal front instead of plastic. The back was also clearly scrached up a lot and dented.

    Called them again tonight and asked for management right away. Ran me through a test of unplugging HDMI and restarting box — didn’t work. Had me try channel 100 — error 900, blocked. Had me try channel 200 — error 900 blocked. Had me try channel 500 — worked. He said because channel 500 worked its my box. Told him I don’t want the POS refurb they sent me. After more arguing got him to send a tech and he will give me a brand new box on Saturday at no charge.

    Also FYI I am certain my TV has HDCP and I am still having these problems. It seems it’s not just TV’s that do not have HDCP.

  24. My tv for sure has hdcp it’s a year old model. samsung un55d6000. I did a google search on it and clearly states hdcp support. My question becomes do I need to do anything extra to get hdcp working. I have a recent hdmi cable (cinnamon brand) which I probably overpaid for. I looked this evening through all the setup menus and I don’t think there is some toggle to force hdcp. Really it shouldn’t be this difficult and I am a computer science grad. I can’t imagine a non tech trying to figure this out.

    What a disaster they created I still can’t get past the unconvinced for so many just to detour so little few. Whoever made this management decision should lose their job. At this point I am convinced they will have to revers course within a week. If they don’t they will definitely lose alot of subscribers. Their help desk must be flooded.

  25. Also forgot to add there go to fix as other have said was for me to disconnect my HDMI and use component cables. This is clearly ridiculous and is not an option — and I refused. I am not going to reconnect hdmi every time I want to watch a blu-ray. Also I had hdmi run up in wall above my fireplace… Component cables are not going to happen.

    Hbo and showtime will be canceled if they cannot fix this saturday with the new box they have promised me. I’ll get my game of thrones fix from the pirates if they force me to.

  26. Huh. Assuming the posts above are correct this is beginning to sound like an HDCP handshake implementation problem in DirecTV’s receivers, not the TVs they are connected to. Sounds like DirecTV didn’t do an adequate job of testing the feature before they rolled it out. If they had any brains at all they’d put the rollout on hold until they figure out what is going on.

  27. I am fairly certain Glenn is correct. They have a number of direct tv receivers out there that do not support hdcp. Not only did the roll this out without warning. They didn’t adequately test their own receivers for those that do have hdcp.

  28. This is the latest garbage from Directv from an email sent yesterday:

    Meanwhile, High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection is a technology that protects programs from being copied from HDMI (or DVI) output to a computer or other digital recording device. Since 2008 HDCP has been applied to all Pay Per View movies and most broadband VIDEO ON DEMAND content, and starting in April 2012 it has been applied to all premium movie channels such as HBO. Customers who have an HDMI or DVI connection to a non compliant TV will receive an on screen error message on the affected channels. I understand that this may cause inconvenience but HDCP copy protection is mandated by the studios to all satellite and cable providers including DIRECTV. We must must abide by these policies. To avoid getting errors, please disconnect the HDMI cable and switch to component cables (Y-Pb-Pr). These cables provide the same high quality picture as HDMI. You can then connect the TV’s sound to the receiver with RCA or optical audio cables. As part of our commitment to providing you with very easy and hassle-free options on how you interact with us, DIRECTV has empowered our customers with self care help in getting most technical issues fixed. We have troubleshooting tips available at that might assist you.

  29. I reached out to both HBO and DirecTV press reps again this AM. Was wondering if they’ll be rolling back this change or if they’re sticking with the component cable requirement. I haven’t yet heard back from HBO and DirecTV’s rep tells me he’s out of the office and will have a colleague follow up. Will post if I learn anything further.

  30. Regardless of any laws enacted which, I believe are unconstitutional, if we pay for it, it is ours to do with as we wish as long as we don’t make a profit off it or deliberately take actions which significantly hurt the profit of the original copyright owner.

    That’s pretty much the only fair thing to do. Anything else is just wrong. Judges should be allowed to decide if we do anything which really hurts the original owners, not the letter of the law nor any person, group or corporation.

    As far as I’m concerned, I own the device, software or content I pay for and can copy it to my hearts content, even showing it to friends who come over to my house, watch it on a different device or make a mix “tape” of it. Quality reduction or any other barrier should not be placed in the way of that.

    At this point in time, I’m pretty much fed up with the over-monetization of television. These idiots are biting the hands that feed them or turning them into an abused bunch of slaves that “owe” them over and over again. Face it, the horse is out of the barn and all their efforts are, in the long run, futile. They are fighting a battle not worth fighting and hurting those who, like me, are law abiding and seek to use it in a way entirely in keeping with the original intent.

    Draconian measures are both stupid and give those few who actually are intending to make a profit off of someone else work a legitimate reason, in the eyes of many consumers, for doing the wrong thing.

    I have no sympathy for those who aid and abet the MPAA, RIAA, broadcast companies in attempting to remove my rights as a consumer. Eventually, many will copy, to our hearts content, the stuff they say we don’t own, and use it for our own legitimate reasons. Frankly, their steps make it more likely I won’t buy a season of some show on blu-ray or dvd or digital download whereas, if I’d been able to do what I wanted in the first place, I’d be more likely to go out and purchase that stuff again.

    It sounds perverse but that’s actually a very common reaction. You want sales of music or movies or you name it to go up, make it MORE available. You want them to go down, make them less available. It’s been proven time and time again.

  31. Let me sum up, DMCA et. al. are wrong. Once a signal gets into my house, it’s mine. That common sense approach used to be accepted. Now it isn’t. it’s time to reverse that.

    And for the record, I am law abiding and don’t copy things that aren’t mine, even by the letter of the law. But do these measures make me tempted to do something against the letter of the law? You betchya! Guys, lead us not into temptation.

  32. It’s not just old TV’s that can cause this problem.

    AV receivers with HDMI switching can be affected, esp if the HDMI switch isn’t HDCP compatible. Even newer AV receivers can have this problem if they are made with cheap components.

    There is also limit to how many devices you can have downstream (I think the limit is 2, which includes the TV). I ran into this problem when installing my Google TV . Before Google TV, I had cable box – AV receiver – HDTV. I tried putting GTV between the Cable Box and Receiver. No dice.

    I had to run HDMI from GTV directly into the TV, and use an optical cable to run the audio from the cable box into the AV receiver. I can no longer juggle all my various inputs (game, Blu-Ray, cable box, etc.) via my AV receiver. It’s not difficult, but it’s annoying.

    Thank you, HDCP.

  33. Heard back from DirecTV. No plans to roll back and they intend to work through what they believe is a small number of people with HDCP-compliant sets that are having probs. One thought it that I could gather contact info and model numbers, but I’m not sure how to do that efficiently and privately (leaving your cell number in this comment form is not recommended). Meanwhile, I’m also asking DirecTV if there’s a way folks who call in can indicate they should be escalated beyond the front line with a legit technical issue – they intend to work with the television manufacturers to resolve these issues. Which, of course, still doesn’t apply to folks with old non-HDCP-compliant sets. Stay tuned.

  34. An update from my end after two irritating attempts at getting nowhere with level one support at direct tv and then reading this blog the third call I asked to speak directly to a supervisor. The supervisor is sending a technician to visit and look at my hdcp compatible tv. I will update the board once I get this resolved by the technician what the outcome was.

  35. Ben, there are cheaper options than that. I’ll probably run a follow-up blog post. By the by, I’m aware of three separate HDCP-capable television sets that are failing to work with HBO since DirecTV’s change – not sure if the issue is the television, the DirecTV set-top, the cable, the way it’s all connected, or something else. But this is larger than older sets missing HDCP.

  36. It could be an issue with the HDMI drivers in certain DirecTV boxes. I know on mine if I power on the TV and DTV box at the same time, even if I’m on a 1080i channel, the DTV box sends it at 720p. Change the channel and change it back and its back to 1080i. Buggy stuff for sure.

  37. Hi Dave;

    You can also add the Samsung T240HD SyncMaster TV/monitor to the list of models that have HDCP compatible HDMI inputs, yet fail DIRECTV’s HDCP implementation of it on the HBO and Cinemax (as of now) channels.

    Its a kitchen TV and had to switch it the more cumbersome component cables, but still a PITA nonetheless. Strangely though, its larger brother the Sammy 26″ T260HD (both 2008 manufactured models) I have in a bedroom has no problem handling DIRECTV’s HDCP.

    Naturally DIRECTV and Samsung haven’t got a clue and are blaming each other. Sign …

  38. HoTat,

    Are both of the DirecTV boxes the same for the TV’s? From what I’ve been told it seems to be the box that is the issue and not the TV — as in older boxes.

  39. DISH started to slowly roll this out back in September of last year. They started with HBO Comedy and some of their OnDemand offerings and I think by now all of HBO’s content has been HDCP’ed. At least we go a little advanced warning, but my point is that DirecTV isn’t alone on this and it’s pretty much a given that all providers will have to start rolling this out for channels that insist on it.

  40. @Jordan;

    The T240HD is regularly connected to an HR21-200, but I tried it on a HR22-100 connected to the T260HD as well.

    Same HDCP message on both boxes …

    Since these are older boxes and my sister has a newer model HR24-500. I will try it on that one to test your theory and post back.

  41. OK, just checked the monitor on my sis’s HR24-500. No sell … :(

    Oh well … guess this TV/monitor is just not going to take DIRECTV’s brand of HDCP.

    BTW: It seems the HDCP has now been extended to all premium channels, INCLUDING THE SD VERSIONS!

    Good grief …

    HD Extra Pack is still in the clear if thats any consolation.

  42. DO A FIRMWARE UPDATE ON YOUR TV (that’s the purpose of the USB port on your TV)

    Last night (4/20/12) I paused (on my DVR) an HBO program I was watching at 10:15pm EDT and when I resumed I got the “Your TV does not…” message.

    Being a tech-head and knowing there HAD to be another solution other than buying a new TV, I went to the Samsung site and found there was a firmware update for my TV. The instructions were clear as to how to perform the update, as well as my need for a USB flash drive (100mb free) and a PC to unzip the file.

    The upgrade took 2 minutes and my HBO channels are fine now.

  43. OK, good news on my end today after the tech came by. Hopefully this will help out others as well. Read up further for other info on my situation.

    The tech replaced my HR22-100 receiver with a brand new HR24-200. This fixed my HDCP issue! I can now watch my hbo and showtime (and might I add the way it should be, via hdmi)

    I also got a new H25-100 receiver to replace my old standard def D12MP-500. And wait there’s more…. I also got a wireless DirecTV Cinema Connection Kit. All this for a cost of $0.00

    I had to talk to customer service while the tech was here to get him a Order ID#. They tried to charge me 20 some dollars for tax on the new receiver. Told them I’m not buying anything so I’m not paying tax — they waved the fee. Note that I did have to agree to 24 months of service, but I did so under the terms that if it didn’t fix my issue the agreement was null and void.

    All in all I’m very pleased and completly back up and running even better than before, and all for free. It took a DirecTV subcontractor to do this but I’m pleased with the way my situation was handled all in all.

    Hope this info helps others — and thanks for everyone elses input!!

  44. I just updated my firmware it was only one minor version off from 0126 to 0128 version of samsung un55d6000 hdcp compliant LED tv. No luck. It must be my receiver. HR20i-100 directv box. Still waiting for tech support to call me back and schedule an onsite.

  45. @HouseUnderWater

    I’d love to perform a FW update, if Samsung had one for the T240HD SyncMaster model. But they don’t, nor Samsung CS claims, do they release FW updates for PC monitors as they primarily classify this model, even though it functions fine as a TV as well.

  46. Sorry to put it this way, but I’m thrilled to find others in the same boat as me (having a TV that is labelled as HDCP Compliant, but not able to see HBO).

    The thing that disturbs me most is that DirecTV is casting themselves blameless on all this and pushing the idea of going directly to Component Cables instead of HDMI. Why no troubleshooting? Why no interest in collecting the TV models that aren’t working with this?

    My guess is that they simply don’t care.

  47. I am having HBO HDCP problem with HR23 HDDVR -> Denon 2310CI AVR -> JVC hd-250 projector. All items in the chain are HDCP compliant.

    Running a new cable would be big PIA.

  48. DirectTV has now blocked Starz and the pay per view movies from my HDCP compliant tv. I cancelled Starz and Showtime and now have no premium channels. 2 weeks ago when I went through all of this over HBO, the technical people said they would provide the component cables since i have the tech protection package. They are no longer offering that.

  49. Directv blew it again. They should have protected their customers. The choices I have are to go to a lower quality component cable or upgrade $ to the all rooms solution and buy new tvs. Neither are satisfactory. Directv blames it on HBO yet they SHOULD have protected their customers.
    WE are not getting what we pay for!!!!!!!

  50. i finally found someone at DirecTV who understood the situation and offered a much better solution. my tv is HDCP compliant and supposedly my onkyo a/v receiver. he had me connect my hdmi directly to my tv from the direcTV dvr. then i connected an optical cable from the dvr to the receiver. i am pleased with the picture and the sound is good. i’m not sure if a different a/v receiver would have made any difference.

  51. They tell us to use component cables to bypass this. Oddly enough, my TV-via-HDMI works fine. But when I try to “sling” using my Slingbox via component cables, I get a message telling me “Sucks for you. No go. Switch to component cables.”

    However, the Slingbox DOES work when my TV is on. It’s almost as if DTV is disabling my component cables by default. However, when my TV-via-HDMI is on, it tells the DTV box “Okay, he passed the test…give him component video.”

    Any of you gurus have any thoughts on that?


  52. Johnny, what you describe is the HDMI/HDCP handshake. Because the HDMI cable is plugged in, your box expects the handshake and when it doesn’t see it blocks output. Even though it’s the component connection. Poor engineering and communication all around…

  53. Johnny the only solution to this unfortunately is using splitters. If you want to continue to slave off the box. If you need component for the lsing box, drop the hdmi connection and just Y off your component. If your slingbox is newer and has an hdmi, try purchasing an HDMI splitter and split the signal that way. i had a similar problem and I chose the component route because I dont have the finances to purchase an HDMI splitter so that form has not yet been tested by me. Im sure it should work though.

  54. I also got this message when I turned to hbo I tried what one of the links said I unpluged the tv let it sit for a few seconds plugged it back in and I pick all the premium stations so I guess some tv will reset and work.

  55. There is one problem with component over HDMI. Component cannot handel on 1080p. 1080p is lost on ppv. I have a late Vizio that will not play wit dtv hdcp.

  56. I just experienced the same problem with DirectTV with the Starz channels and Showtime. Plus, I could not play DVDs through my Blu-Ray player either. The first call I got a rep who knew nothing about it, but finally shipped me component cables (even though I told her this was stupid). Well, I hooked the component cables up last night and I still get the message. Tonight’s call will either get me a new box, or suspend the premium services. Contract is up in January 2013, and and I’m going back to Comcast or ATT.

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