Little did I know, this is apparently a typical story. I bought my first TV episode from iTunes to play on my 11" MacBook Air, connected to my 20" Cinema Display, and received this message when I attempted to play the video:
The selected movie won't play on your display.
This movie can be played only on displays that support HDCP (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection).
I looked into it:
- OK, what does this mean? (from http://support.apple.com/kb/HT3382#8):
7. What is HDCP?
HDCP (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection) is a form of digital copy protection that requires compatibility between a source—such as your computer and video adapter if present—and a receiver, such as a high-definition television. If any of these devices or cabling do not support HDCP, your content may not play, may present a warning message, or may play back at a lower resolution than expected. An example of content that supports HDCP is an HD movie on the iTunes Store. Note: For information about whether your cabling, receiver, or television supports HDCP, refer to the manufacturer of the device.
- The above doesn't tell me anything definitive ("such as" is not an exclusive term; see "adapter" below).
- Educated guess: Wrong adapter? (from http://support.apple.com/kb/HT3382#8):
8. Does the Apple Mini DisplayPort adapter support HDCP?
Apple Mini DisplayPort adapters that offer digital connections—such as the Apple Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI adapter and the Apple Mini DisplayPort to DVI adapter—support HDCP content. Apple Mini DisplayPort adapters that offer analog connections—such as the Apple Mini DisplayPort to VGA adapter—do not support HDCP content.
- Ok, that's not the problem; I have an Apple Mini DisplayPort to DVI adapter, it supports HDCP content, and such adapters are for connecting monitors, not TVs.
- Two versions of the movie were downloaded, an .m4v and an (HD).m4v. Neither plays in iTunes (same message).
- I opened both with QuickTime. The non-HD movie played on my 20" but the HD did not.
- That doesn't sound like content protection to me, at least for the non-HD movie.
- Nothing during my purchase indicated system requirements for playing HDCP vids (if there is somewhere in the bowels of the iTunes store, it is not apparent, nor did I dig for it; I just bought a TV show);
My issues / questions:
- Only after digging on the forums did I find out that my Cinema Display would not play HDCP vids.
- There is nothing at all in the above Apple support article to indicate that HDCP vids cannot be played on a 20" Cinema Display. In fact, by any reasonable interpretation, Question No. 8 would indicate that all is hunky dory with HDCP and you're good to go. Question No. 7 is ambiguous, but only in retrospect (after perusing the forum).
- Is a non-HD .m4v an HDCP vid?
- Why does QuickTime play the non-HD movie, but iTunes doesn't?
- Where in the iTunes store (pre-purchase) are there system requirements for playing HDCP videos?
- This irritates the living kwap out of me – I bought a new Mac so I could play HD videos. Yes, I now know that this has been an issue on-and-off on the forum since 2004, but until an hour ago it news to me. What this means to me is that Apple has had since 2004 to figure out either how to allow their monitors to play HDCP content, or has had since the iTunes Store offered video content to clearly inform potential purchasers that if they don't have an HDCP-compatible device (and how to tell), the video won't play. Oh, and the above support article was last modified on March 15, 2011 (yes, I sent feedback to Apple).
If you're inclined to offer an answer to the 3 questions above, I'd be grateful. Don't worry about responding to my venting, that's just frustration.