DRM and HDCP

Content on our app has protection against unauthorized use or copying. Two of the technologies used for this type of protection are Digital Rights Management (DRM) and High-Bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP)

While our goal is always to distribute content as far and wide as possible on any device, when these technologies are used, it can limit who can watch certain content and on what devices. Read on for general information and troubleshooting steps.

DRM

DRM on The CW App uses a combination of the following technologies in our apps and experiences:

  • Apple Fairplay on iOS, TVOS devices, and Safari browsers
  • Google Widevine L3 + HDCP v 1 on Android, Android TV devices (including Fire TV), Roku, and Chrome browsers
  • Microsoft PlayReady on Microsoft Edge browser

When you download our app, whether it’s for Android, iOS, Roku, Fire TV, or others, it's most likely going to be compatible with DRM. The current versions of all major browsers, including Chrome and Firefox, should also be supported. However, DRM support is different from device to device, and across versions and operating systems. Given the wide range of devices out there, we’re unable to provide a definitive list of compatibility.

Known incompatibilities (as of May 3, 2022)

DRM is currently not yet implemented on The CW app on LG, VIZIO, UWP/Xbox, Safari web browser, or Chromecast devices. 

DRM-protected content will not work on the following:

  • Desktop browsers: Chrome 74 and older and Firefox 57 and older
  • Chromebooks
  • Amazon Fire TV Gen 1. However, newer models may still encounter HDCP incompatibility issues (more below)
  • Linux systems
  • Mirroring or viewing via an HDMI cable from one device to another. 

If you’d like to double-check your system’s compatibility, you can look into your device’s support for the DRM standards above. Many device manufacturers publish these specifications for their devices along with relevant help documentation.

But I can watch content on other sites and apps?

Many sites and apps have different content protection requirements and implement DRM solutions in a variety of different ways. Because of this, it’s likely that behaviors will be different across our content and theirs. However, if you’re using a supported browser or app and still having trouble, it might be due to HDCP protection.

HDCP

This technology is specific to protecting content as it travels across connections from a computer or streaming device to a TV or monitor. Older TVs, VGA cables, and some older DVI or HDMI cables are more likely to lack support for HDCP (or, if HDCP is supported, it's only in a limited capacity).

“Cannot play video - this device does not support secure video playback” or "This device does not support secure video playback"

If you’re getting one of these errors, it’s because something in your setup is not HDCP-compatible. In some cases, it may just be an out-of-date video driver or a loose cable connection making your setup appear as if it isn't HDCP compliant, so be sure to check your drivers, connections, and cables first (as applicable).

If you still get errors, try playing a video after each of the steps below:

  1. Close and re-launch the app or show page.
  2. If applicable, reverse the ends of your HDMI cable or try a different cable.
  3. Remove any splitters or receivers that may be plugged in between your device and the TV/monitor.

What if I’m getting that error and I’m not using a TV or Monitor?

Troubleshooting can get tricky with HDCP, as the issue can stem from anything in your cables, TV, drivers, operating system, and even the ports on your devices. For instance, while it is generally supported on Chrome browsers, your operating system or hardware might be incompatible. If you’re still unable to access your videos, we recommend updating your operating system (if possible), updating your browser, disabling any add-ons such as ad blockers, or trying different browsers entirely.

 

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