DirecTV Error: Your TV Does Not Support This Program’s Content Protection

by Michael on June 13, 2013 · 10 comments

I just ran into an annoying but easily solved problem with our DirecTV system. I went to turn on the TV this morning and got an error message advising me that our TV doesn’t support the program’s content protection. On every channel.


Not only that, but… Everything’s been working fine on this particular TV ever since we had DirecTV installed (about a week ago) and it was still working fine on every other TV in the house while this TV was glitching out.

The error message read:

“Your TV does not support this program’s content protection. Replacing the TV’s HDMI cable with component cables will allow you to view the program.”

What the what? Replace the HDMI cable with component cables? But just on this one TV? Why? Because it’s a Thursday morning? Confused, I dug deeper.

Apparently — and no, I’m not sure that I have the details 100% correct, but I’m close — there’s some sort of content protection associated with certain premium channels (e.g., HBO, which we have as a free trial). These channels require an HDMI connection which allows them to use a copy-protection protocol called HDCP.

So… Whenever the DirecTV system detects an HDMI connection, it sends a test signal to your TV and waits for the reply. If your TV supports HDCP, you’re all good (unless it glitches on the response). If not, then you can’t use HDMI.

Unfortunately, it seems that this system can glitch out, resulting in your TV being inadvertently blocked. That’s what happened to us. The good news is that the fix is simple. Just unplug the HDMI cable from your DirecTV box and plug it back in.

For the record, this is the latest Genie whole house DVR system (HR44) with Genie Minis (C41) attached to three other TVs, though I suspect that the same solution would work on other hardware. Please share your experiences in the comments.

The tl;dr version

Sometimes your signal gets blocked by an errant copy protection protocol. To fix it, simply unplug/replug the HDMI cable from the back of the DirecTV box.


{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Val March 31, 2014 at 9:07 pm

I just tried this, and the picture and sound came back for like 10 seconds, and then the message reappeared. :( Is there anything else I can do?

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Enrique Reveles May 23, 2014 at 12:19 am

Did a run through Xbox One with HDMI, solved the problem.

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Matt B July 4, 2014 at 7:18 pm

Didn’t work for me. I have the Genie with 4 minis and I tried unplugging the HDMI & when I plug it in it the error just returns.

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Jeff July 12, 2014 at 12:50 pm

Had DirecTV installed this morning with a Genie and 3 minis. On two older televisions that had worked with DirecTV in the past, I got the “tv does not support” error message. I had the same experience, unplug/replug fixed the problem for 10 seconds but then it came back.

I tried using different HDMI cables and that fixed the problem. After testing the other cables, I replugged in the original cables. Everything worked.

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Chris C. July 24, 2014 at 8:51 pm

This is pissing me off. I JUST got this message. I’ve had my xbox one hooked up via HDMI to this thing for MONTHS……and I’ve been able to watch channels like MTV etc. with no problem until now. This is ridiculous. Should I blame my TV? or is it DirectTV? MTV wouldn’t be a premium channel, I would think.

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Anthony A. July 31, 2014 at 12:49 am

I am having the same issue on every channel. Had my DirectTV ran through my One since Christmas with no issues until now. I am going to post on the Xbox forums…maybe they can create an update that makes the DirectTV box stop triggering this.

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Brandon T. August 5, 2014 at 11:18 am

I have the same problem with the Genia running through my Xbox One. I have 2 Genie minis also on two other TVs. A manager at DirecTV told me to get a new HDMI cable. I have never had this issue until I upgraded to the Genie and we’ve been with them for 8 years, and had the same equipment for the last 2 years, including the TVs. I emailed my TV installer to see if the cables used back then were HDCP compliant and which version to ensure v2.2 compliancy in my home. Hopefully this won’t be the case and this won’t happen again. By the way, unplugging from the HDMI cable from the DirecTV box seems to be working for me. We’ll see for how long…

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Anthony A. August 5, 2014 at 6:45 pm

I think that it what we have. Anyways I had started a chat with Xbox support right after I posted and they had said it was happening to a lot of Xbox owners. They said it was a bug and it should be fixed in about an hour. Haven’t had any trouble with it since.

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krislyn August 6, 2014 at 8:36 pm

I have this problem today but I suspect it has been going on for over a week becuase I have two recordings from hbo channels that just recorded black screens. I have had directv for a few years now on the same tv and this problem happened about a year ago then went away and I dont remember how I fixed it. My primary tv is the one with the message and the directv receiver is connected to a sound system which is also connected to the tv both vua hdmi. When I left for vacation two weeks ago it worked fine and now the message. Have not changed anything for months. Dont know why this suddenly happened. Any input?

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Nate August 14, 2014 at 5:29 pm

I just turned my Direct TV receiver off for about ten seconds and now I get the premium channels back again.

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