How to watch HDCP protected movies on a data projector in iTunes


iTunes has copy protection on their movies called HDCP which will not allow you to play iTunes rentals or purchases on some older data projectors.   Thankfully there is a simple solution. You just need to watch an SD version  of the movie and it does not have the HDCP protection.  This is not mentioned on Apple’s support webpage but I was able to find out about it when I rang Apple iTunes support.  Read on for how to do this step-by-step.

 If you try to play an iTunes rental or purchased movie on an older style data projector you will see an error like this:

HDCP error

This happened to me.   The suggestions in the window are not helpful.  Sure, you can move the movie to your laptop window but then you can’t watch it on the data projector!  Turning mirroring on or off does not help either. I rang Apple iTunes support, and thankfully there is a simple way around the problem.  You just need to download the movie in a standard definition (SD) version.  SD iTunes movies do not have HDCP.

To do this, open up the iTunes application on your computer, select the’ iTunes Store’ tab, click on ‘Purchased’, select ‘Movies’ up the top, and down the bottom right underneath all your movies there should be a little checkbox that says ‘ Download HD When Available’.

Un-check this box and your videos will download in SD.

Unselect the option for HD movies and you will get an SD movie that can play on older projectors.

SD versions of iTunes movies do not cause the HDCP error.  You can watch them on a projector no worries.


Where to find the ‘Download HD checkbox

Some people in the comments below are saying that it is hard to find the checkbox. I agree!

Here’s how to find the checkbox.

  1. Firstly select ‘Movies’  in the drop-down box on the left hand side of your iTunes window just under the play button,  then select the tab called ‘Store’  which is over the right under the Apple logo.

2.  Now go over to the right hand of the store screen and under ‘Movies’  there will be a little place where you can select ‘Purchased’.

3. After you click ‘Purchased’  then this option should appear on the bottom right hand side of your iTunes window:

If this is selected the movies will download as HD and will not play on older projectors.  If you deselect this then the SD version of the movie will download automatically which you can play on projectors.


22 responses to “How to watch HDCP protected movies on a data projector in iTunes”


    My Apple computer rechecks the HD box after I uncheck it. Please let me know how to fix this.

  2. That’s strange. You could try going into iTunes preferences, then downloads, then uncheck the HD box there and see if that makes a difference.

    1. If that doesn’t work I’d try buying a movie from Google Play store and get the SD version.

  3. Audrey

    My apple computer doesn’t have a checkbox to uncheck? Any ideas where it might be hidden?

    1. I have the updated the article for you Audrey with some instructions on where to find the checkbox.

  4. Mark M

    I explicitly purchased the non-HD version. When I connect to a projector, I get the message saying I’m not authorized to show it on that device.

    1. That’s odd, and different to my experience. Are you sure the movie is SD? If you option-click on the movie from iTunes, then select ‘Show in Finder’ how big is the movie file? If you open the movie in Quicktime, and select ‘Show Movie Inspector’ from the ‘Window’ Menu, what does it was under ‘Movie Properties’?
      If it is definitely SD, it would be good to give Apple support a ring and see what they say.

  5. Kendra

    Do I have to delete the HD versions that downloaded and re-download in SD?

    1. Good question. I can’t remember – I wrote that post a few years ago and since then I only rent SD movies!

  6. ANke

    It works!! Thank you much for the additional help finding the checkbox.

  7. sharon

    That is abnormal. You could have a go at going into iTunes inclinations, at that point downloads, at that point uncheck the HD box there and check whether that has any kind of effect.

  8. neil

    Thanks so much for your excellent advice. I have been able to download i tunes movies in SD and watch them on my “older” data projector.

  9. Judy

    Thank you! This worked perfectly.

  10. Phil

    If you have Apple TV (and even though it might be a pain in the a** to unlplug from your TV) you can plug it directly into your projector to watch in HD without it being “blacked out” from iTunes copyright protection

  11. David

    Worked for me and allowed sections of a foreign language movie on my iMac to be used in a teaching environment. Thanks.

    1. Kylee

      I tried this and it didn’t work. A friend suggested it might be my “j5create” adaptor causing the problems.

  12. hi this is greate it works for me thank u very much

  13. Matt

    I have a related issue. I currently have a projector (newer model) connected via HDMI and Apple AV adapter to an iPad (12.4 OS and 1673 model) where I am trying to play movies via iPad native TV app. All my personal content works fine and most TV shows. However, when I try to watch movies, most work for picture, but no sound. Most of these movies are Disney, but I don’t see any restrictions on the content and I don’t get the error message noted above. Just no sound. Hoping to get feedback. Thanks!

    1. I reckon that would be worth a free call to Apple support. Be sure to let us know here if they suggest a fix.

  14. Stacy

    I tried this multiple times, but even with the box deselected it seems like I am downloading really large files. IN any case, they do not play, still.

  15. Viv

    After many hours of trying different solutions, I tried hooking my projector up to my Apple TV with its HDMI cable. Now I can see all movies and anything on Apple TV without restrictions! The Perfect Solution.

  16. Not an Apple Fan

    After trying for too long to get content I paid for on Apple TV to work on various projectors, I found an easy solution: purchase the content through Amazon Video. Yes, I had to pay for the same content a second time, and that was frustrating, but no where near as frustrating as the AppleTV experience.

    Paid for content is not piracy. Apple: stop making it hard for real customers to watch content through projectors. You’re hurting customers with this, not stopping profit loss. Pirates can get the content 1000 ways, and do: paid content should remove DRM or HDCP- require sign in to watch it so you can track use, but stop making it impossible to do what we want with content we purchased.


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