Copy protected, live TV, Netflix no longer plays

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mainertodd

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Copy protected, live TV, Netflix no longer plays

#1

Post by mainertodd » Sat Sep 11, 2021 12:15 pm

Hi all, I've had the same Windows 7 setup since 2012. I use Windows Media Center to record and watch TV and Chrome (or any other browser, really) to access things like Netflix and Amazon Prime. Everything worked fine for years. Suddenly last night, I started having serious problems: I can watch most recorded programs in WMC, but anything marked as "Copy protected" won't play (currently, that's all recorded FX programs). That's happened to me periodically before, and normally a reboot fixes the problem. Not this time. And there are bunch of other issues, which I assume are all related to Windows 7 and DRM issues:

1) Can't watch "Copy protected" recordings in WMC--audio plays, but I get either a blue or black screen
2) Ditto for live TV on WMC
3) Same for Netflix and Amazon--once I load up Netflix.com or start watching something on Amazon Prime, same error

Any ideas about what might be wrong? It doesn't look like there were any system updates recently, so I'm stumped as to what might have suddenly changed yesterday. I tried using System Restore to several points in the last month, and no change.

Edit: I also uninstalled and reinstalled my video drivers, to no effect. The screen still goes blue whenever I try to play anything copy protected in WMC, watch live TV on WMC, or try to watch anything on Netflix or Amazon. YouTube works fine, and most recordings on WMC work fine (and I can still record new shows on WMC even though live TV doesn't work). I assume it's something related to Windows 7, but I'm stumped.

stuartm

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#2

Post by stuartm » Sat Sep 11, 2021 4:42 pm

You may have this issue (although you say you rolled back your updates)
https://www.thegreenbutton.tv/forums/vi ... mc#p145881

mainertodd

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#3

Post by mainertodd » Sat Sep 11, 2021 4:56 pm

I don't think it's that, unfortunately. I don't see that listed among past updates, and I don't think I've actually gotten anything other than a definition update for Windows Security Essentials in many months.

I suspect this is something to do with DRM management, but I can't figure out what. It's so weird that Netflix and Amazon Prime are suddenly no longer working...I suspect figuring that out is the key to solving this. They work fine on my Windows 10 machine, so I assume that it's something to do with either Windows 7 or video drivers. Oddly, I found that turning off Widevine in Firefox avoided the blue screen, but then Netflix gives me an error and won't play. Sigh.

Space

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#4

Post by Space » Sat Sep 11, 2021 7:31 pm

HDMI cable or HDMI port gone bad? Try another cable and/or plug in to another HDMI port.

mainertodd

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#5

Post by mainertodd » Sat Sep 11, 2021 8:21 pm

I think you're on the right track! I've determined that it's probably an issue with the TV, not the computer. I stumbled on that conclusion by hooking my other computer up to the TV, thinking that I could watch Netflix that way, but ran into the same blue screen issue. While fiddling with that, I discovered that I could bypass the blue screen by moving the HDMI back and forth between the two HDMI ports on the TV; eventually it would "catch" and work properly. I thought it must be the cord, but I tried two different cords between the surround sound and the TV and it was the same (the computer connects first to the surround sound and then to the TV). I suppose it's possible that both cords were bad, but that seems unlikely...or it could be the cord leading from the computer to the surround sound, but I also tried hooking the whole setup to my computer screen instead of the TV and didn't have any issues, so I'm still thinking it's the TV rather than a bad cord (but I'll double-check if nothing else works). First I'm going to see if I can update the TV's software in case that helps.

mainertodd

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#6

Post by mainertodd » Sat Sep 11, 2021 9:33 pm

The plot thickens...I have three HDMI cords, and only need two of them to run from the computer to the surround sound to the TV. I tried every different combination with no difference (still having issues). I then tried each cable directly from the computer to the TV, and everything worked fine! So 1) I doubt it's a bad cable, and 2) there seems to be some issue with the surround sound. But I also know that running the signal from my computer through the surround sound to a different monitor works with no problems, so it's not as straightforward as a malfunctioning surround sound. I'm still not sure exactly what's wrong, but it's some weird combination of the surround sound and TV. It's odd because I've had both of them for 7+ years without any issues. At least I discovered that I can bypass the blue screen on Netflix and Amazon Prime more easily, simply by switching the surround sound to a different input and then back again to the computer. Watching copy protected recordings from FX and other channels is still problematic, but they work if I use just the surround sound or the TV but not both. Shrug.

Space

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#7

Post by Space » Sat Sep 11, 2021 11:44 pm

Can't say I have much experience with additional devices. I just have a single HDMI cable between the computer and the TV. But if it used to work and now does not, I would think something changed in that chain. I don't think doing firmware upgrades or stuff like that would be a good idea since it was working fine before and you don't want to throw extra complications in to it.

You say it works OK if you just go from computer to TV without the surround sound device in the middle, and you tried it with all three cables in this way with no problem. That would seem to rule out a cable issue, but you may want to run in this configuration for a while to make sure. I know that a flaky cable can work for a while and then just stop working, having to jiggle it a bit or disconnect and reconnect to get it working again.

Also, a bad cable can work fine with non-copy-protected content, but not with copy-protected content. I believe it has to do with a HDCP "handshake" that needs to take place in order for copy-protection to work, this "handshake" is not needed if you are playing non-copy-protected content.

It does seem that your "surround sound" device may be causing issues, but I can't explain why it works OK with a different monitor (although it could just be "chance" that a flaky cable worked on one but not another and further testing would see a problem with both TVs/monitors).

Hopefully others that may use additional hardware may have some additional suggestions for you. I know that some people bought a hardware device that maintains the HDCP "handshake" which solved some problems, but again, if it worked before, there must be a reason it is not working now and buying stuff like this to get it working again might be overkill (or not work).

One other thing you can check is that you only have it set up in a single monitor configuration (Win-P hotkey). I think you can have issues if it is configured for multi-monitor. But I am just throwing things out there now, I don't really know much about this and don't want to send you on wild goose chases with a lot of suggestions...

mainertodd

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#8

Post by mainertodd » Sun Sep 12, 2021 11:40 pm

Thanks! I didn't realize that an HDMI cord could malfunction for just copy-protected content. I suppose that's possibly the issue, although I've cycled four different cords in now without any difference. One other thing I tried was to hook my Blu-Ray player up directly to the TV (bypassing the surround sound), and the screen remained blank, which suggests that the TV might actually be the issue, though it's still far from clear. (The Blu-Ray player worked fine when hooked up to my computer monitor.)

Anyway, I'll have to drag my old TV up from the basement at some point and see if everything works fine with it.

mainertodd

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#9

Post by mainertodd » Mon Sep 13, 2021 10:44 pm

I hope I don't jinx myself, but I think I figured it out. Space, you were right that it was a bad cord! I thought I had tried just about every combination of the three cords I had, but apparently not. After things got significantly worse yesterday evening and my troubleshooting led me to think first that it was definitely the computer, then the TV, and then the surround sound, it dawned on me that 1) they can't all be problematic, and 2) the only common theme was the cords. So I grabbed another cord from the basement, swapped it out with the one that I suspected was the problem, and voila! Everything's good, at least for now. If it starts happening again, I'll know where to start!

Space

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#10

Post by Space » Tue Sep 14, 2021 2:33 am

Hopefully that's it. I had problems similar to yours and it turned out to be a bad/loose HDMI port. I went through a whole host of things before I finally determined the reason (I actually posted my whole ordeal here in the forms back then).

mainertodd

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#11

Post by mainertodd » Sat Sep 18, 2021 1:11 pm

Everything's worked normally all week, so it was indeed the cord. Phew!

Space

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#12

Post by Space » Sat Sep 18, 2021 7:23 pm

Nice!

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