How To: Avoid an HDCP Nightmare on the HP Mini 311 when Using HDMI Out

A little background before we begin. HDCP stands for High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection, and it is a protocol that was designed by some evil people in an evil lair for the sole purpose of frustrating the crap out of you. Actually, I suppose I should clarify. HDCP is a protocol designed by a subsidiary of Intel, and it’s purpose is to prevent piracy. However, as with most anti-piracy system, it generally makes things extremely complicated and painful for the legitimate user, while the content-pirates find their way around it anyway.

So you’ve got an HP Mini 311 and you want to use the HDMI port to output an HDCP protected video source to your HDTV? This is what I attempted to do last night and was hit with a frustrating error message: Your System is not compatible with HDCP, BD playback is disabled”. This sort of error message really makes me mad because I know that most average users wouldn’t have any idea where to go from that point. To be clear, HDMI output from the HP Mini 311 to an HDTV as a monitor works with no problem. It’s only when you attempt to play HDCP protected content, such as a Blu-ray disc to the display, that problems arise.

There are unfortunately a lot of things that need to be in line for HDCP protected content to play back on your HDTV. Luckily, with the Mini 311, most of those things should be taken care of out of the box, such as a certified video card and a driver that supports HDCP. You also need a proper software player among other things. The hard part is when you get an error and you don’t know which of these several factors is to blame. I spent a while last night troubleshooting until I finally stumbled upon the solution. It wasn’t the driver, it wasn’t the video card, it was simply a strange quirk with the HDCP protocol.

Apparently HDCP content can’t be output if you have your display set to clone, instead of extend. Yeah… instead of the numerous other things that could have gone awry with the HDCP chain, it was the simple fact that I was cloning the display to the output rather than using the extend option. And I think we all know that if you have the display cloned, then you are obviously pirating the content (sarcasm).

Anyway, here’s what you can do on the HP Mini 311 to ensure that this doesn’t happen:

  1. Open the Nvidia Control Panelhdcp 1
  2. Click the View HDCP Status item in the list under Display. You’ll be able to see that the system currently is not HDCP compatible because the external display is cloned. Click on Set up multiple displays under Display. (note: you must currently have your external display plugged in via HDMI in order for this option to appear in the list)hdcp status
  3. Right-click on the monitor diagram and select Extend desktop on this display.hdcp 3
  4. Return to the View HDCP Status page under Display, and verify that your setup is now HDCP compatible.hdcp 4

If you are still having HDCP issues, you should continue to consult the HDCP status section of the Nvidia control panel. If you are running a different setup other than the Mini 311 and are having HDCP problems, but don’t know where to turn, you can give the BD Advisor from CyberLink a try. It is a small and free download which will check out stuff like your display, video card, drivers, and more in an attempt to help you figure out what your HDCP compliance issue is. Unfortunately HDCP is pretty complex so the advisor may or may not be able to pinpoint your issue (for example, it didn’t spot the display clone issue that was described above) but at least it’s a starting point, which is more than an error such as Your System is not compatible with HDCP, BD playback is disabled” can say.

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