And You Thought HD Was A No-Brainer

Jonathan G. Michel
 


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Technology is never that simple and it just got somewhat more complicated to understand. Remember ‘content scrambling system', CSS for the abreviation, which was designed to protect the content on DVDs by the movie industry as you watched it on your PC?

Well, as easy as it was to undermine this system, which less than pleased the movie industry, they now have come up with ‘advanced access content system’ (AACP). It's basically the same as CSS but now with a different twist. They've integrated it with HDCP. Confused yet?

HDCP is a different monster altogether, and it stands for ‘High Definition Content Protection’ which must be supported or compatible with your drive and the player software. This makes sure that all devices along the signal path are true, and not bogus means meant to copy or record.

What it does is, it will downgrade the HD signal to a regular signal so that you don't get HD. In some cases, it won't play it at all should it find a bogus device that it doesn't like or is unsupported. “How is this all possible?", you asked. Well, embedded in its HD content, is a ‘revocation list’ or an ‘unsupported list’ that checks for any of these devices.

HDCP needs DVI and HDMI connections, which guarantees HD video capability. The new Windows Vista supports HDCP and if you don't have the correct video card, and monitor that supports HDCP, you will lose some functionality. So you want to make sure that you have a video card and monitor that supports it, if you plan to watch HD content on your PC.

You obviously need a fast machine to be able to decode the compressed HD video from the source. In general, you'll need a drive that supports AACS. You'll also need player software that supports AACS, H.264, MPEG2 HD, and VC-1 codecs. And if that weren't enough, lastly you'll need a video card that supports HDCP.

For a complete list of compatible HDCP hardware and software, try visiting http://www.homefunsystems.com Here you'll find the latest home theater systems , as well as plenty of tips on seating design, and wireless .

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