Developers debate iPad 2 video mirroring copyright issues | iLounge News

Developers debate iPad 2 video mirroring copyright issues

Tips from a reader indicate that the iPad 2’s new screen mirroring feature may not be as broadly supported as users might hope, due to certain third-party developers’ copyright concerns. Introduced by Apple at this week’s media event in San Francisco, iPad 2 screen mirroring enables an iPad 2 to display all of its screen contents on an HDMI port-equipped HDTV, duplicating whatever is being shown on the device’s 9.7” touchscreen. This feature was initially said to depend upon Apple’s new Digital AV Adapter accessory, which will sell for $39. In introducing the Adapter, Apple CEO Steve Jobs said that “it works with all apps, so anything you can see on the iPad screen, you see on HDMI.” Apple’s web site notes that the Adapter can also display movies “at up to 720p” and other content “in up to 1080p HD.”

According to our reader, Apple has turned screen mirroring on by default on the iPad 2, unlike AirPlay wireless video streaming, which is disabled by default and therefore only implemented by developers who want to support the feature. Though Apple has included a screen mirroring toggle to let third-party applications send different content through the Adapter, some developers plan to use it to “opt out” of screen mirroring altogether, citing potential copyright issues with displaying some or all of their video content through a connected TV. If implemented in this fashion, iPad 2 video mirroring using the Digital AV Adapter could have significant limitations, similar to Apple’s iPad Dock Connector to VGA Adapter, which was released without a conspicuous disclosure that some iTunes-purchased videos would refuse to play through the Adapter for unspecified contractual reasons, leading to widespread user complaints.

On the rare occasions that it has discussed the issue, Apple has maintained that Hollywood studios are to blame for the iPad’s video output limitations, and Jobs has publicly thrown up his hands in apparent frustration with contracts that have limited the device’s output capabilities. While it is unclear whether the Digital AV Adapter will handle iTunes-protected content better than the VGA Adapter did, particularly in light of a new claim on Apple’s web site that the VGA Adapter will also support iPad 2 video mirroring and 1080p video out, it is likely that the Digital AV Adapter includes support for high-bandwidth digital content protection (HDCP), an anti-piracy technology that would satisfy studios’ contractual requirements.

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I’d wait until the thing is actually available to be tested before panicing. If the HDMI output on the AV Adapter supported HDCP - which it will most likely have to to be compatible with a lot of HDTVs - then the output will be identical to that on a BluRay player, which doesn’t seem to give anyone in the industry issues.

Many laptops already have HDMI output ports on them that support video mirroring and that hasn’t caused anyone to run around waving their arms in the air quite yet. Nor the HDMI port on the Mac Mini, or Apple TV (both models…)

What I’m more curious to know is exactly what compatibility the AV Adapter has with their other devices - on Apple’s website it’s described as being comatible with iPad (rather than just iPad 2), iPhone 4 and latest gen iPod Touch..

Posted by Jonathan White in East Amherst, NY, USA on March 4, 2011 at 2:18 PM (CST)


@Jonathan White:
Well, sadly for media companies a PC (desktop/laptop) is not the same as a non-PC and they also separate the non-PCs into mobile and non-mobile and even further. E.g. just because you can/are allowed to watch something on a smartphone doesn’t mean that you are also allowed to watch it on a tablet or output or transfer it on any other device. You practically need a separate license for every device, every screen and every delivery form.

Posted by Mike11 in East Amherst, NY, USA on March 4, 2011 at 2:38 PM (CST)


I’m sorry… ummm, what??

Why on earth is a video out a problem again?

Imagine if you couldn’t run a program or game because you had a 22 inch video monitor hooked up to your Macbook.

Sound ridiculous?


Posted by Fuzzle in East Amherst, NY, USA on March 4, 2011 at 3:48 PM (CST)


The people in charge of these media companies are obviously compensating for some shortcomings ;)

Posted by Code Monkey in East Amherst, NY, USA on March 4, 2011 at 5:14 PM (CST)


I’m completely missing the problem here.

You can already pump out video content to a TV via any video-capable iPod, regardless of whether it was purchased on the iTunes store or not. How is it a problem now that it can pump out ANY video to an external display? Theoretically, content on that iPad is already being displayed, you’re just scaling it up on an external monitor.

I guess I’m just not seeing the difficulty here. I mean, if Apple isn’t going to stop us from watching Toy Story 3 via video out, why would an app store developer have a problem with their content showing on a big screen?

Posted by Daniel S. in East Amherst, NY, USA on March 5, 2011 at 4:17 PM (CST)


@Daniel S.:
There is a difference. Right now an app has to specifically allow and support TV-out.

Posted by Mike11 in East Amherst, NY, USA on March 6, 2011 at 9:37 AM (CST)


Those of you who have questions on this are obviously unaware of what HDCP is. The best way to find out is to take your computer and buy a movie through iTunes. Try to play it on your TV using anything except an HDMI or DVI cable. It will tell you that your device is not HDCP compatible. All of your new televisions are HDCP compatible, but the only way to send copywrited content to it is over an HDMI cable, not a VGA or Component cable.  Mirroring will be supported over the VGA adapter for non-copywrited content. Anything copywrited, ie, movies, netflix, etc, will not work over the VGA because Apple would be violating the HDCP laws.

Posted by Dave in East Amherst, NY, USA on March 9, 2011 at 1:28 PM (CST)


I bought the first ipad to display apps via the cable for my maths classroom to be a bit creative and have students work interactively. (I didn’t see it as a copyright issue but rather a free advertisement for apps to students.) Aah not so, not being techo I didn’t pick up its inabiity till I bought it. Did contemplate the new one if it had the mirroring feature but now it seems the apps I want to use may not be able to be mirrored. And they advertise it for education! Well not for apps in the classroom obviously. Major disappointment!

Posted by Jennifer in East Amherst, NY, USA on March 14, 2011 at 12:44 AM (CDT)

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