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Doug’s Q-Tips – What sources will work with QMOD’s HDMI input?
Posted on Thursday, August 14, 2014
Yes, with qualifications. HD Modulators such as our QMOD series 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. The QMOD does supply EDID so you can select the right resolution.

Generally, the advanced scaling option isn’t needed if you supply content at 720p/1080p 60 Hz, and you have about 10% safe area on the edges. If you need edge-to-edge presentation or the content is more like 16:10 format, you’ll need scaling to prepare the video for encoding and presentation..Also remember that HDMI can follow the same VGA resolutions as VGA, so some PC HDMI will need scaling as well.

Apple Digital Signage Players
The Apple OS keeps HDCP on, regardless of the type of content. We recommend using the Kramer PT-1C for use with Apple HDMI. Generally, the first three switches on the interface would be off, the fourth (Disable HDCP) needs to be on. The unit appears to focus on the Apple problem, the HDCP Off function does not work with Blu-Ray and other sources I’ve tested.

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

Satellite/Cable Boxes
Historically, DirecTV does not turn on HDCP, especially for commercial content. The content is distributed under a Public Viewing contract that allows the site to distribute the content over RF. Content providers are receiving income, and you can see the content you paid for. Makes sense to me!

Cable receivers do turn on HDCP, and possibly Dish Network as well (that fact has not been confirmed). Plan on using the Component outputs to feed other QMODs with those input options.  Also, interfaces such as the Kanex ATV Pro can convert HDMI to RGBHV. As noted above, the content is provided via a public viewing contract, this is not a usage issue, just technical.

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. The Kramer PT-1C will not pass Blu-Ray content if the HDCP is turned off, while interfaces similar to the Kanex that convert HDMI to RGBHV will work. We leave those issues up to the end user.

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
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