Doug's Q-Tips - What sources will work with QMOD's HDMI input?

November 7th, 2015 in Product Tips

Yes, with qualifications. HD Modulators cannot distribute video from HDCP-protected sources using open-access QAM encoding. However, there are many HDMI sources that can be sent over RF and IP, and there are interfaces that can bypass HDCP when it isn't relevant or applicable.

Windows 7/8 Digital Signage Players

You can feed your Win 7/8 PC or player’s HDMI directly to our HDMI inputs. Windows (unlike Apple) does not turn on HDCP when showing non-proprietary content. By the way, 1080p looks scary good on new-gen QMODs, partly because of the direct-digital connection and our advances encoder. Which is good, as Windows PCs generally all output 1080p, even if the Resolution settings show a different resolution.

The QMOD-HDSC and new-gen QMOD modulators have full scaling that accepts resolutions up to 1080p, and can zoom and shape the signage for edge-to-edge presentation (TVs crop about 5% if the image). Also remember that HDMI can follow the same VGA resolutions as VGA, so PC HDMI will need scaling as well.

Apple PCs

Apple PCs don't switch HDCP on, like Windows. However, they do this with a twist. When it connects via HDMI, Apple asks if the unit supports HDCP, and expects the source to say yes or no. If no, Apple sends the video to the source. In addition, Apple PCs only check EDID when they first turn on. If our QMOD was off at the time, the PC would send 640x480 video. Our QMODs fix the issues by answering the HDCP question correctly, and we force the Apple to reconnect when our encoder turns on. Unless you play protected content through the Apple, HDCP isn't a problem.

Just Use DVD

If you're only using SD DVDs, just get a nice DVD player, usually about $40. Use Component at 480p - the QMOD's internal scalers to a pretty nice job upscaling to 720p or 1080i.

HDMI Interfaces

For most other HDMI sources, there are many options.

  • I experienced the Transformative Engineering's HDC-11 HDMI Conditioner at CEDIA 2015, and have tested at my shop- this one looks like the best of the bunch. Solves a variety of HMDI issues, including EDID and timing. Supports ARC and HEC and all current HDMI audio formats. And the firmware can be updated - without a PC. Available to dealers only, contact Jonathan Ralston ([email protected]) for information.
  • HDMI "Splitters" many 1x2 HDMi splitters listed on Amazon also resolve HDCP issues. Looking the Reviews will generally reveal those that do. One typical unit would be the ViewHD 2x1 Splitter, usually available between $20-25.
  • HDMI to VGA interfaces. There are many interfaces listed on Amazon that convert HDMI to RGBHV, such as those by Cable Matters that I use for my HDMI PC when I'm on the road.

Linux Signage Players

Linux-based players such as Brightsign and SpinetiX do not employ HDCP. We’re researching if that’s also true with Key West, Tightrope , AMX, and others.

Satellite/Cable Receivers

You may need an HDMI Interface to employ full resolution HDMI or Component. The site is paying content providers for site-wide distrbution over RF, but HDCP is a lawyer's standard - not common sense.

  • DirecTV - Newsflash! DirecTV appears to have turned on HDCP on all (or some) channels. In a recent install, the dealer had to tune to SD programs, sending HDMI to the QMOD at 480p. We haven't heard if this has any affect for the Component output. The QMOD-HDMI does a good job of scaling the video. At this time, using the QMOD-YPB2 for Component is working the best for DirecTV units.
  • From dealer reports, Dish is protecting any channel owned by Disney, and it turns off Component for those channels as well. Have heard that NBC owned channels may be encrypted as well.
  • Cable Boxes - most encrypt all channels and newer units come with HDMI only - some units have Component turned off.

Blu-Ray Players

While HDMI applications are OK for digital signage and public viewing of cable/satellite channels, use of Blue-Ray content is murky. The HDMI’s HDCP is always locked, even for content you’ve created. See HDMI Interfaces above.

Other Open HDMI Sources

Other sources that do not have HDCP on the HDMI output are:

  • Contemporary Research 232-ATSC+1 HDTV tuners
  • HDMI Cameras
  • SDI -to-HDMI adapters

Have More Questions?

Contact us to learn more about HDCP and QMOD HDMI Modulators.

Contact Us