I would like to make several hundreds of a device with video out. It seems every video connector involves huge fees for licensing - is there anyway around this?

  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't DP royalty-free? \$\endgroup\$
    – Hearth
    Aug 21, 2019 at 16:01
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ VGA is as well, but that might be a little less modern than you want. \$\endgroup\$
    – Hearth
    Aug 21, 2019 at 16:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Hearth free as in "just buy the connectors" and use them free? \$\endgroup\$
    – user733606
    Aug 21, 2019 at 16:07
  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ As far as I'm aware, as long as you're not using HDCP (which you shouldn't be anyway (I have strong feelings about the ethicality of DRM, namely that it isn't)) you can use it free of charge, just buy the physical connectors. \$\endgroup\$
    – Hearth
    Aug 21, 2019 at 16:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ I thought you had to license the codecs \$\endgroup\$
    – Voltage Spike
    Aug 21, 2019 at 16:14

2 Answers 2


For devices and endpoints the contemporary digital interconnects have an ensnarement with HDCP. This includes both HDMI and DisplayPort, which can support driving HDMI with an ‘active cable’ adapter.

Besides HDCP, HDMI has a ‘Logo License’ that costs serious money. DP doesn’t, though MPEG LA wants to charge a (disputed) $0.20 per unit royalty fee.

DVI doesn’t have an HDCP requirement, it’s optional, and it has no fees. This might be a reasonable choice that’s still supported in the marketplace, and it’s supported as a legacy mode in HDMI with a passive adapter. (Yes I’m aware of TMDS patents. As a practical matter those are rolled up in the source/sink device, not the connector itself.)

An HDMI source however can choose not to send DRM-enforced content over DVI, or it can down-res it to 480p. This applies to any device that it can’t identify as HDCP compliant, including DisplayPort that isn’t HDCP enabled.

Where would this come up? Pretty much any playback of copyrighted material, including streaming and packaged media.

DRM sucks. And I say that as someone whose signature is on an HDCP license.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Really? I always thought DP was completly free from this licencing stuff. \$\endgroup\$
    – jusaca
    Aug 21, 2019 at 16:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ It depends on the material you want to send. If it has DRM enforcement then you need HDCP. DVI, being a legacy format, has no explicit restriction, though a source could refuse to send a DRM-protected source, or down-res it to 480p. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 21, 2019 at 17:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ But yes, there’s no license required for DP. There is a small royalty of $0.20/unit payable to MPEG LA. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 21, 2019 at 17:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ The MPEG LA claim on DP is under dispute by the way. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 21, 2019 at 17:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ @hacktastical The "content" to be transmitted is video games from the source device. There is no option for any other content. Source resolution is also low, 640 x 480. Assuming I don't use any logos and such - DP is the only option for digital video it seems? \$\endgroup\$
    – user733606
    Aug 21, 2019 at 18:12

HDMI is out of question then, you need to pay member fees to legally manufacture devices with HDMI interface. Even worse if you need HDCP protection, but you don't need HDCP if your device is a camera or similar which is not meant to play NetFlix or Blu-Ray discs. That said, you can buy HDMI and DVI encoder chips, and you can use DVI protocol with DVI connectors. DVI connector can be used for analog video as well. Displayport should be doable as well.


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