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When I connect my set-top box to my TV with HDMI connections, I can't stream video at all using any version of SlingPlayer. Why?

If you have video equipment that connects to your TV using an HDMI cable and you try to stream, you may get extremely poor or no video using Watch on, SlingPlayer for Windows or SlingPlayer for Mac. Here's the reason and a way to fix it.

What you want to see
What you actually see
may look something like this

What may be going on:

Some devices, like DVD players and digital set-top boxes, have copy protection built in to their hardware. One copy-protection system that’s commonly used is HDCP (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection, also known as HD Content Protection). There may not be a label on the outside of the device that says that it has HDCP inside, so you may not be able to tell if it has it. Some movies and videos that you buy or rent have encoding that triggers HDCP to turn on. Each device may also implement HDCP differently, so that they each may do something different when HDCP is triggered.

Additionally, if you try to play a file that includes HDCP triggering on a device without HDCP built in to it (like an LCD computer monitor or a computer with a video card that isn't HDCP-compliant), you may have problems viewing it.

What does HDCP do?

HDCP first detects that digital information is going through a digital connection, like HDMI. Then it interferes with information going through any other audio or video connection to any other device. It may prevent any clear video signals from going from the set-top box to anywhere else besides the digital TV. It may seriously reduce the picture quality, prevent video altogether, or cause other problems. Even though everything is connected properly, no matter what you do, clear video can’t be sent to your Slingbox and then to SlingPlayer. HDCP interferes with it.

HDCP also interferes with signals when it senses digital information going through other types of digital connections besides HDMI, such as:
  • DisplayPort
  • DVI (Digital Video Interface). Often used to connect digital computer monitors.
  • GVIF (Gigabit Video Interface)
  • UDI (Unified Display Interface)
As stated earlier, HDCP can be triggered by signals encoded in some files, as well.

What can you do about it?

Connect your video gear with component cables. This includes your digital set-top box (or any other digital device) and your digital TV. These cables are the red, blue, and green ones. Sometimes they're called YPbPr connections.


They have the best quality HD-capable connection but they carry no sound. You’ll also need to connect a set of red and white cables to the audio ports. If you have digital audio (usually an orange cable), you can connect it instead of the red and white audio cables.

With component connections, HDCP is unlikely to interfere with video sent to your Slingbox.

Related Information

Your Slingbox works fine until you turn on your TV. Then suddenly, there's no video in SlingPlayer.

You've got your Slingbox hooked up to your set-top box and everything else is connected. All is well until you turn on your TV. SlingPlayer then stops showing video for no apparent reason.

Cable and Connector Glossary

Confused by all of the ports and cables on the back of your TV or Slingbox? Here's an illustrated glossary.

When I watch using Watch on or SlingPlayer, the colors are all wrong. Sometimes, the picture is mostly green. What should I do?

Here's what you need to do to fix this. It's very simple.

Frame skip warning and other system performance messages in SlingPlayer 2.0 for Windows

Starting with version 2.0.2, SlingPlayer monitors your computer for performance and overall capability to run SlingPlayer smoothly and successfully, and displays messages if it finds a problem. The "frame skip" message is explained here.

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