DRM Support


DRM decoding, otherwise known as DTCP-IP, is a commonly requested feature.

Some cable users have a few or all of their channels encrypted, requiring special decryption to play them. DTCP-IP decryption isn’t just something you have to implement, it also requires a yearly paid license for the right and ability to do it. Even after purchasing a license for DTCP-IP, implementing it can be complicated as thousands of pages of specifications have be translated into working code for the Apple TV.

As part of the DTCP-IP certification process, we need to demonstrate that Channels will have adequate safeguards around protected content, so that their integrity is not compromised. Fortunately, Apple’s strong security and application sandboxing provides many of these guarantees out of the box.

The big missing piece at the moment is the requirement for HDCP enforcement. Currently, tvOS offers no APIs for applications to turn on HDCP or to check if it is enabled. Without such an API, we cannot provide a protected path for DRM playback, and thus cannot pass the DTCP-IP certification process.

What Can You Do

You can help us in a few ways.

An update on DRM support
HDHomeRun DRM Support

DRM support is very important to me. A switch from FiOS to Time Warner would net Channels useless without DRM. And that may be a future I’ll have no control over.

Submitted #25570893 via Bug Reporter.


I too am a TWC customer that is tied down with DRM. I’m very surprised that Apple doesn’t enforce HDCP to be present…

I currently own an Apple TV 3 but have no problem going right now to the store to buy a couple of Apple TV 4’s of there’s something I can help out with testing.

I currently run four HDHR Primes with Windows Media Center and could easily dedicate one to this project. I also have a Synology DS216Play with two 6TB drives mounted. If any of this could be useful in development please let me know.


Another TWC customer here. Most every channel I watch/record is subject to DRM. I’m currently using Windows Media Center with an HDHomeRun Prime tuner. I’m excited to ditch Windows Media Center and begin using Channels DVR with my Apple TV 4 once this DRM issue is resolved.


For those without an Apple Developer account, you can still submit a feature enhancement on this page: http://www.apple.com/feedback/appletv.html

Here’s a sample you can copy:

Subject: Please give tvOS developers an API for HDCP

I am one of the users of the Channels app on the Apple TV. I use the app to watch live cable television directly from the ATV (without having to switch over to a cable box) and it is one of my favorite apps on the new ATV4.

Unfortunately I cannot currently use the app to watch DRM encrypted channels, because the app is unable to implement DTCP-IP on the Apple TV 4. To do so, the developers of the app need APIs to enable and enforce HDCP- but no such APIs currently exist.

Please add public APIs for developers to interact with HDCP in the next release of tvOS! This feature request is related to the open bug report rdar://24514980


Bug Report submitted April 6


I’m not clear if this will be beneficial to me in Canada, where the only access to encrypted channels is via the cable provider’s set-top box. CableCard is not supported by the cable providers (Rogers in my case). If HDCP is turned on between Apple TV and the TV, would that provide the key to decrypt the channels?


I’m the same. In the UK the main cable/sattilite provider won’t allow use of other boxes and instead actually has a AppleTV app already called NowTV. And that has a full On Demand section too making DVR obselite. Not needed really, as Apple say, the future is apps and most of the paid for major networks are bringing out their own.


TWC customer. Didn’t know about the DRM thing and switched to HDHomerun and TWC. Once it was up and running realized that I couldn’t watch anything.


DRM support is currently only possible with the HDHomeRun PRIME, which implements the DTCP-IP specification using a CableCARD. In the US, the FCC mandates that cable companies offer cheap CableCARDs to all customers so that they have a choice of what hardware to use to view their channels.

Unfortunately other countries have no such laws, so cable companies there prefer to build walled gardens and actively disallow third-parties from playing their content.


Has there been any response from Apple on your original bug report? Any reason to be hopeful that support will come at WWDC?


Nothing yet. They had initially closed the ticket, but then re-opened it which is a good sign.

Typically there is very little communication from them on any of our bug reports… just a “it’s available now” when it’s finally done. We’re hopeful this make it into tvOS 9.3, especially if lots of our users write into Apple about it.


On Comcast it’s the movie channels that are mostly DRM and with most of them going over the top (HBO, STARZ, Cinimax) I’m not sure how beneficial it would be. I purchased HBO Now so I just use the HBO Now app.


I’m another TWC user with most every channel flagged for DRM. This feature will be the difference between making Channels a usable or unusable solution for me. I have filled out the survey and reached out to Apple as suggested.


End user feature request made to apple.

Charter Cable in SoCal (91202) currently only DRMs about 35% of the channels (Mainly Premium and specialty channels)… I am mainly interested in HBO on the ATV4 and Charter is not licensed for “HBO Go”. Charter also does not have its own app on the ATV4.


Have you considered getting HBO Now and paying for it via iTunes on the Apple TV? Then cancel HBO on Charter. The more you get outside of Charter the less of a hold they have. I get all premium content on Apple TV Apps. Also, SIRI searches them all.


I have the Prime and Cablecard from Optimum in NJ and the DRM channels don’t show up…


There is no DRM support due to licensing fees. I like most guys use the HBO Now & STARZ apps.


I notice the bug is marked High-1 - i assume thats a good sign too?


Any change for the possibility of DRM support with todays tvOS update, have the necessary API’s been added?