The technology supposed to protect the equipments aimed at digital TV with a semi-secret protocol using techniques borrowed from the military in order to ensure that only approved devices can see the previous digital data of our movies, seems to be on its way to be broken and is already the target of very serious cryptological attacks.
I just found a couple of papers describing its detailed operation and proposing an attack mode worthy of attention since it has the capacity to break the secret quickly.
It seems that having access to the keys of 40 different devices and a little practical mathematics should allow to build from scratch a system able to fully circumvent the protections associated with HDMI and HDCP.
Of course, according toe the American law (DMCA) or the French law (DADVSI), the mere thinking about it while driving home will be prohibited (Ed.: in China where thinking is prohibited by itself, I suggest to write everything down before even thinking). But I can’t see how Hollywood producers and distributors, or device manufacturers will avoid the HDCP/HDMI system to be circumvented in the first weeks of actual widespread availability of the system.
Hardware and/or software solutions should quickly appear on the market to connect HDCP devices to non-HDCP devices in order to allow backup of high-definition movies by bringing to light the hidden/secret digital data. I believe that pro pirates will use it in a matter of minutes only, extension to the wider public being only an issue of complexity of the hardware to assemble. (if a commercial graphic card or a standard HD-DVD will be enough, everybody will have access to it; If you need to make non-standard special cable, only 10% on the worlds’ Internet users will do it, but the others will take advantage indirectly.
Food for thought in Hollywood and for content providers investing it all in DRM (Digital Rights Management) approaches.