Nvidia said to be readying HDCP-native GPU updates
GeForce 7900 GT, GTX to support copy protection system as standard
Nvidia will soon ship versions of its GeForce 7900 GT and GTX GPUs with integrated HDCP support, it has been claimed. If true, the move will position the company's chips as a cheaper option than adding a separate chip to add-in boards with HDMI ports.
Nvidia's plan was highlighted by Taiwanese card-manufacturer moles cited by DigiTimes. They claim the parts will ship later this month or by mid-August at the latest.
HDCP (High-bandwidth Digital Copy Protection) ensures both sides of an HDMI high-definition audio/video connection are secure. The technology isn't mandatory for HDMI, but content providers can choose to downgrade HD material to sub-standard definition across links that can't be trusted. In other words, if you want to guarantee you get HD content, you need to ensure your equipment supports HDCP.
Right now, content providers are unlikely to require HDCP support, but as next-generation optical disc formats HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc take hold, it seems certain they will mandate its use. So far, almost all graphics cards with HD output don't support HDCP, partly because it's not entirely necessary but mostly because it requires an extra chip on the board. That's going to change, and building HDCP into the GPU ensures the technology will be present no matter what and should reduce a board's manufacturing cost.
ATI's upcoming Radeon Xpress 1250 integrated chipset - aka RS600 - is said to support HDCP. ®