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

by Michael on June 13, 2013 · 49 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.

{ 49 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?


Strat Rider January 25, 2015 at 4:29 pm

at my 2nd source (not the main unit)(the Genie I presume) – I just unplugged it and the other small box next to it for about 20 seconds and all was fixed. It seems there was a glitch and this reboot has the system notice that my TV is again compliant.


Enrique Reveles May 23, 2014 at 12:19 am

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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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…


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.


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?


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.


Dan December 23, 2014 at 5:50 am

This just happened to my TV connected via a Genie mini which was installed over a year ago. I do not subscribe to the premium channels. The recommended solution of temporarily unplugging the HDMI cable between the TV and mini is thus far working for me. Thank you!


Sharp March 14, 2015 at 3:09 pm

Worked for me. Thanks for the quick fix!


William yates March 25, 2015 at 7:34 pm

i tried everything above with no luck. As it turned out my problem turned out to be a hdmi switcher I was using to auto switch between the genie,xbox,Playstation you get the idea, it viewed it as a recording device. I ran the cable direct and was fine.


BIll Fox March 30, 2015 at 1:32 am

I am getting the same error- I have replaced the HDMI Cable, reset the box and unplugged the connection and after 10 sec I continue to get the error message and do not get a picture – fruterating


Sully April 4, 2015 at 11:42 pm

i never agreed to this change and my “service” has been impacted so it seems to me a breach of contract lawsuit is in order – anyone?


Josie April 19, 2015 at 12:16 am

I reversed my HDMI connection from 1 to 2 and it worked


Tracey April 22, 2015 at 9:00 am

None of this has worked. PLEASE HELP!!!!!


Rick May 7, 2015 at 7:47 pm

Thanks unplugging the HDMI and plugging them back in worked perfectly! I appreciate this info!


Greg May 11, 2015 at 10:23 pm

I tried connecting multiple HDMI cables between my Onkyo surround sound system and the DirectTV receiver. None of them worked. I then removed all HDMI and connected component cables between Onkyo receiver and DirectTV receiver and all previously restricted channels were viewable again. Thanks.


Alex garcia May 25, 2015 at 1:50 am

I just got got a new genie and when the direct TV guy left I was watching tv for about an hour on hbo. it shut off and it said exactly what you said and I just blew it off and thought it was going through a test. I went and played some Xbox and left it alone. I got home later that night and turned on my TV and it was still there…I didn’t know what happened so I unplugged the hdmi cord and plugged it back in. It didn’t work. I look on this thing but than I thought about what I would do on my Nintendo 64 games. I WOULD BLOW ON IT. So I plugged the HDMI cord out and blew on it and made sure I plugged it in good, and I heard sound from the TV and now it fine.


Brian Hobbs May 28, 2016 at 11:58 pm

I’m in on suite direct tv sux going back to dish network 100 times better


TomldTX June 14, 2016 at 10:33 am

I had this pop up this week out of the blue. Watching regular TV and all of a sudden , Bingo! The message pops up and TV watching is over. Can still watch just out BR discs but get the periodic “Your TV does not support this program’s content protection” Have read a lot about what could be causing it. Most likely its the HDMI cable from DVR to TV but this is just a prelude to problems with HDCP 2.2. New protection standard that can out 2 years ago. Soon all devices will have to be compatible with the standard or no watchy TV. So 4k TV owners, check if your set is compatible, oh and no backward compatibility. If its not HDCP2.2 compliant you will soon have an expensive brick. The Harmon Kardon AV3700 I bought last fall? Not compatible. So if I buy a new compatible 4k TV I will also be shelling out for new AV receiver. Planned obsolescence in the name of copy write protection. The burden of protection has shifted from the producers to the consumers.


juice July 9, 2016 at 11:27 pm

I unplugged it just like you said waited about 10 sec and it started working again , thanks


Glaiza July 26, 2016 at 10:30 am

I am hoping it will work for me. Thanks for the guide, and I am doing the support later. Will give a feedback if it works or not.


dave August 19, 2016 at 5:13 am

WORKED- Also after 3 yrs, with 3 yr SHARP AQUOS and Genie mini the issue popped up! Read this, turned mini off, and issue gone. WIll replace HDMI as a proactive step.


Jana August 30, 2016 at 10:28 am

I tried unplugging the hdmi cord and plugging it back in, still wasn’t getting my hd channels. So I pushed the red restart button on my Dtv receiver and it worked. So far still working.


Michelle September 7, 2016 at 3:41 pm

Oh my gosh help this is getting on my nerves


Shelley October 12, 2016 at 12:40 am

Been going through hell with all of this and I can’t take it anymore! We’ve tried the really expensive HDMI cords with no luck, returned the TV, got another one made Directv put in a new box… it still sucks! Returning this 4K TV, making Directv get me out of this stupid 4K service and buying a regular 1080p TV because this shit sucks!!! The picture constantly is grainy and flashes, it’s been beyond ridiculous! Done!


Caroline November 7, 2016 at 11:47 am

Direct TV is suggesting that I go back to analog cables. That I can no longer use my HDMI. My TV is a couple of years old. It’s HD quality. I will have to check but don’t you pay for HD quality for Direct? If so why would I have bought a High quality TV, to use analog cables to receive digital communication? I have had Direct TV for at least 13 years. I got a Genie at least 5 years ago with one mini box to sling to. This just started happening in the past couple of months. My TV is mounted to the wall with wiring run through the walls into a lower credenza. All thought the TV is easy to “unhook” the credenza is not. My husband says it’s a push by the television companies for us to purchase a new TV that has the signal built in that it’s looking for. This is crap! I am really thinking about getting rid of the Dish and looking for internet alternatives.


Jeff November 27, 2016 at 11:21 pm

Unplugging my AppleTV’s HDMI fixed it for me. So if recommend unplugging any other HDMI cables to see if that’s causing a conflict


Kevin December 1, 2016 at 10:41 pm

Had to trash my awesome plasma because of this bs and buy a new tv, terrible


Gissel December 13, 2016 at 6:16 pm

Thank you, thank you


Sam January 10, 2017 at 11:55 pm

My Bedroom TV was doing this for a week. I called directv and they said they would send me some new component cables. Meanwhile, as I waited for the cable to arrive I was messing with the settings , switching HDMI inputs, tried new HDMI cable and none of that worked. After directv sent me the wrong cable a week later, I called back and spoke with a customer service rep, long story short , he asked me if my TV was on? and I said it was on but no picture, only the “content not supported” at the bottom of the screen.. he said, “let’s try something, can you unplug the power cord to the tv while the tv is still on”? I pulled the cord, waited 30 seconds to plug back in, and whataya know?? It worked! A week later and still working with no problem. I didn’t need to use any crappy component cables, lol. The guy that helped me said that the TV’s somehow communicate with the DTV box so that it knows that it is not connected to some sort of computer, or other device for pirating/bootlegging directv content. Just thought I’d share with you all….


Leanne January 14, 2017 at 10:15 am

Thank you thank you thank you!!!! This worked for us and we can now see tv and quit swearing at the box on the wall.


Diane January 11, 2017 at 11:57 pm

Just read Sam’s post from yesterday. I get the same issue, mostly when the tv is on and then I want to watch a recorded show (it was a Dr Phil show and not a show from HBO or Directv cinema). I called Directv and I was not givien much of an explanation except they were overnighting me some new component cables. I think the representative on the phone was new and had to ask other representatives what to do, or she was cussing me out because I was getting irritated that her explanations did not make sense because she would put her end on mute after each question I asked. I kept asking why I would need component cables after all this time and it doesn’t happen on any other Tv’s in the house. I had called about 2 weeks ago about the same issue and was told I needed a new HDMI cable. I swapped out 3 different cables because of the frequency of the message. The represenative I spoke with tonight kept skirting the question and now I have new cables coming. Before I do the new cables I will try what Sam’s representative suggested. This message has been popping up more frequently, but I’m thinking at least once a week. I usually just unplugged HDMI cable and plugged it back in and it would be fine till the next time the message would pop up. I hope the unplugging of the tv while still on was not just any easy way to pacify us customers who pay a chunk of money for satellite tv. Thanks Sam for sharing!


Mark January 26, 2017 at 7:24 pm

I have a newer Samsung 65ks8000 and am having the same issue. This isn’t an old tv and was purchased because cnet gave it a big thumbs up so not a pile of garbage. Samsung says it’s DirectTV, Direct TV says it’s Samsung
I will say DirectTV is a 1000x more helpful than Samsung though.


Joicelyn Springer January 28, 2017 at 5:49 pm

I unfortunately was sucked into getting this direct tv service. I had the premium channels removed since they show the same old movies over and over. After I did that now none of the channels come on and the tv says your tv dies not support this program’s content protection. Replacing the tv’s HDMI cable with component cables will allow you to view the program. Problem is this is a new tv and has 5 ports for HDMI and does not have the old time cable component connections. They tried to tell me that there was something wrong with my tv and I told them this tv is brand new. They said after I talked to Samsung then they would go in to step 2. I’m thinking why wouldn’t they do that now. I will gladly go to court with these people if they think I am going to pay for service I am not getting.


Jeff January 28, 2017 at 6:56 pm

I too unplugged my tv for 10 minutes. During that 10 minutes I also unplugged the hdmi out of the back of the DIRECTV receiver and it worked like nothing was wrong when I plugged them both back in.


Chris February 6, 2017 at 6:32 pm

I have now tried all of these steps and nothing is working. The picture and sound come on for about 5 seconds then the message shows back up. My Genie’s and tv are about 4 yrs old. This is ridiculous.


Diane February 7, 2017 at 10:12 pm

I just called Directv again because even with the “component cables” plugged in ( along with HDMI cable) I am still getting this error. Directv tells me to only use the component cables which provides a crappy picture (awful coloring) so now a “technician” is coming out tomorrow. Boy, did she let me know how fortunate I was that I pay extra every month to cover “service”, otherwise it would be a $49.99 charge. Now there is a question as to if my tv is compatible. Kinda sounds like an opportunity for ATT to round up some extra cash… as I said in an earlier post, I have had this tv for close to 2 yrs and this problem just started occurring in December. None of my other TVs in the house do this. Will update once the service person gives us his excuse


Denise February 8, 2017 at 8:06 pm

I’m seriously hating DIRECTV right now. I did everything as above. Worked for about 15 seconds. Then right back to the same. If I don’t get the service I pay for and agreed to pay for, there will be no more DIRECTV in this house.


Diane February 10, 2017 at 12:04 am

Technician came out… offered us a new box, but husband declined for the moment. Husband could also not remember what the technician said the issue may be 😖 Did find out the component cables that I was sent from Directv were not complete. Technician added the missing component cables to make the set complete. He also hit the reset button, even though we had unplugged the box previously. It’s been 2 days and I have not gotten the message so far. I did check my 4K Vizio tv manual and it is HDCP 2.2 compatible… I was waiting for the technician to lay the blame on the tv
itself, and I was ready to prove him wrong. Will update later if we find this has worked or if we switch out for a new box. If a new box still does not work, I will seriously consider switching providers. I pay a lot of money per month for crap like this to happen


Toni February 12, 2017 at 9:38 pm

Unplugged the hdmi, nope. Reset direct tv box, nope. Unplugged the tv and YAY, it worked!! Thank you everyone!!


jennifer February 15, 2017 at 6:37 am

I’m having this same issue…but didn’t have until they switched to At & T now this crap happens everyday !!! I have to unplug everything from wall ,and it will work for Lil bit but right back to same thing.I’m bout to tell them to come get it !##Called direct TV said might be my Tv…well it’s not I have the newest 75 out there and it’s smart Tv….so I know this ain’t problem….Direct TV falling off map ####


Ann A February 18, 2017 at 1:46 am

All you have to do is keep unplugging from your TV and box and leave it like that for a few minutes then plug back in. Nothing has to be changed. This happens all the time with me about every 2 months.


Will February 23, 2017 at 6:15 pm

Tried unplugging the HDMI multiple time didnt work really annoyed


Erica F March 8, 2017 at 9:47 pm

So, the most frustrating thing to see on you tv is a code and can’t find out why is isn’t working… and even more frustrating when your 2 year old is super sleepy and wanting to watch Peppa Pig!!! Well I googled the problem that everyone else was stating, and I went through and followed directions… nothing!! The code was coming on every 20 seconds!!! Not to mention, the DIRECTV tec came out this morning and replaced the HDMI cable with the component cable… but forgot to take off the HDMI cable. So I looked back there and started disconnecting and BOOM!!! I disconnected the HDMI cable with the components cable still attached and it has been working since!!! Hope this helps!!!! Best wishes


Ckerr March 12, 2017 at 11:39 am

On the DirecTV receiver go to settings and help to settings display video HDMI control turn off it will no longer check the HDMI


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