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

by Michael on June 13, 2013 · 5 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.


{ 5 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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