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Copy protection proposed for digital displays
PALM SPRINGS, Calif.—At the Intel Developer Forum here, Intel Corp. unveiled a copy protection scheme that will add a layer of encryption between the system and the digital display.

The High-bandwidth Digital Copy Protection (HDCP) approach encrypts each pixel as it moves from a personal computer or set-top box to digital displays, such as digital flat panels and high-definition televisions.

HDCP is an Intel-developed specification that will complement the work developed with the Digital Display Working Group (DDWG), said Mark Waring, an Intel technology initiatives manager who is the DDWG secretary.

While the Digital Transmission Content Protection approach provides encryption for digital content as it moves over a 1394 interface, the HDCP is complementary.

"HDCP encrypts the final link, from the device to the display, that has been the missing link" in the various copy protection schemes developed thus far, said Waring, who earlier worked as a display engineer at Sharp Corp.

Intel will release a draft version of the license agreement by Monday, Feb. 21, at the Digital Content Protection web site. Also, individuals can go to the site to request a copy of the specification.

At IDF's product demo pavilion, Silicon Image, Inc. (Sunnyvale, Calif.) demonstrated what it said was the first implementation of HDCP on its digital video interface (DVI) silicon. Transmitter and receiver silicon performed the HDCP authentication, encryption, and decryption functions, while supporting the DVI digital transmission rate of 5 G-bits/sec between the host and display.

HDCP uses a 56-bit key, with individual keys distributed to the various vendors. A violated key could be tracked down and revoked over a satellite broadcast network, for example. Waring said he expects the major silicon vendors to have HDCP-compliant silicon ready by the July-August time frame.

By David Lammers - EE Times - (02/17/00, 7:02 p.m. EST)

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