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CableCARD recordings and Blu-ray play at full resolution over analog outputs

Ben Drawbaugh
February 1, 2009
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Yes we know this is not news, but you'd think it was based on the various stories around the web like this one from Yahoo Tech. We don't mean to pick on this one specifically because honestly it is a very common mistake -- although this particular article is way off as the newer Macs do support HDCP -- but as draconian as CableLabs and the AACS can be, the analog hole is still open. Now that doesn't mean these DRM requirements aren't crazy or that this protected path we always hear about is a joking matter, but it is all for naught when the HD signal hits the analog outputs -- the digital outputs do require HDCP though. This means you can watch any Blu-ray Disc or digital cable program recorded with an ATI Digital Cable Tuner at full 1080i via VGA or component -- Blu-ray Discs can be played back at 1080p via VGA but component doesn't support it. Now we're not trying to say this will always be the case, as both technologies support down-rezzing via analog outputs, but as it stands now these bits have never turned on. Now to the main point of this particular article, which is why Macs don't have a CableCARD option. Our best guess would be that Elgato doesn't want to pony up the $200k for the CableLabs certification process and honestly we don't blame 'em.

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