In the plethora of copy protection schemes, the most recent
one that has come to light is the Image Constraint Token, which exists to
penalize viewers who use component or composite signals rather than truly
The Image Constraint Token (ICT) was the solution to upcoming copy protection
woes. The token would force video players that do not support HDCP over
DVI-HDCP, HDMI, UDI
or DisplayPort to down-grade the signal.
Currently, analog technologies allow a viewer to place a device between the
image source and display, and essentially record the signal. HDCP
attempts to block that by forcing the source and the display to authenticate
each other -- eliminating the man-in-the-middle approach. ICT goes one
step further, by handicapping the signal at a lower resolution. With ICT,
even if the user manages to record the analog signal, the resolution is
According to Spiegel Online, movie studios have secretly agreed to not implement such an analog resolution
downgrade until after 2010 (English).
If an analog HD interface is used, such as HD component, users will still be
able to watch their HD movies in full high resolution. This agreement
completely bypasses the requirement of HDCP enabled devices for a few more years.
Spiegel reports the deal exists to help the industry transition to HDMI, though
it seems clear the PC industry leaders have already agreed on the royalty-free DisplayPort
alternative. HDMI actually has quite a bit of support for the
home theater market, but due to the royalties involved there have been
virtually no video card nor PC display manufacturers anxious enough to adopt
HDMI either -- although Abit
recently announced a motherboard with integrated HDMI and ATI does have the upcoming RS690 chipset
with native HDMI support as well.