Does the AppleTV HDMI output include any copy protection (e.g. HDCP)? If so, is it always present, or only when playing DRM'd content?

I'd like to use the AppleTV (with AirPlay mirroring from an iPad) as a cheap and simple way to record iPad activity (at a school, for their private use only) by simply plugging the AppleTV into a DVD recorder (no computer is available - so capture cards or other tools needing a computer are out).

If the AppleTV output is set to prevent recording, what about the output directly from the iPad via the HDMI dock connector ("Apple Digital AV Adapter")? This isn't as convenient, since it's a physical tether to the recorder, but it would be ok (and still cheap and simple).

  • BTW, by "cheap", I really mean free (we already have AppleTVs and HDMI dock connectors and can borrow a DVD recorder), and by "simple" I mean a teacher with no particular technical expertise can do it unassisted. – Tony Meyer Feb 28 '12 at 4:51
  • Wouldn't the Digital AV Adapter for iPad be a much easier, cheaper, and more reliable solution? store.apple.com/us/product/MC953 – Gerry Feb 28 '12 at 9:11
  • @Gerry That's what I'm referring to when I say the HMDI dock connector (I'll update the question to use the proper name). – Tony Meyer Feb 28 '12 at 9:23
  • I don't see how the AppleTV comes into play if you just want to record the iPad screen output on a DVD recorder? Wouldn't you just connect the iPad to the recording device directly? It would work out better to remove it from the equation. iPad mirroring is in my experience also quite lag-ish. – Gerry Feb 28 '12 at 9:27
  • @Gerry I address this in the final sentence of the question: it's less convenient because there is a physical tether (the HDMI cable) between the iPad and the recorder, rather than a wireless box and the recorder. It's very slightly less simple, because it involves plugging something in rather than just turning on mirroring, which everyone already knows how to do. IME iPad mirroring has no noticeable lag, but lag isn't important for recording anyway (buffering or lost connections would be, but IME are also rare). Most importantly: I don't know if that output has HDCP either. – Tony Meyer Feb 28 '12 at 9:52

No - Apple TV (currently) engages HDCP only when needed to protect content that requires HDCP. This is called out in the specifications page as a footnote in teeny tiny grey text:

  • Requires HDCP when playing protected content.

You should be able to use whatever HDMI recorder you please as long as the software doesn't detect protected content being played. You can be sure the engineers have considered that they need to pass the HDCP status from say Hulu or rented movies on iOS to the Apple TV when playing protected content. So if you want to record a demo of your normal app usage, this will work well, but not so much for bypassing HDCP by indirection.

If you can gat a computer, a much more robust recording solution is offered in XAleXOwnZX's answer.


There is a more elegant solution: Reflector

Unfortunately, it is a $15 app, but it serves a perfect function for your case. You can use your computer as an AirPlay receiver, and screen record the screen via ordinary computer screen capture software. No need for an Apple TV nor any cords, just a $15 app and a WiFi lan.

  • That's in a comment on the question. However, it does require a computer - so it doesn't really answer this question, although it is a reasonable alternative in many cases. – Tony Meyer Sep 23 '12 at 23:38
  • 1
    Even though I edited the main question to make more clear the OP wishes a PC-free solution, for the vast majority of people that come to the site asking how to record iOS (but not Apple TV's HDMI) this answer is far better than solutions that try to record HDMI which may be protected with HDCP. I'd upvote this ten times if it were allowable. – bmike Sep 28 '12 at 13:38

Apparently you can record the HDMI output of the iPad. As mentioned in this answer and shown in this video.

And you may find the other answers to How do I record a screen cap video of the iPad? useful.


I am a business owner that uses iPad for some of the software we sell and support. If you have a Mac or a PC with XP or higher, there is an app that will allow you to mirror your iPad to the Mac (same process as Apple TV) and the app also records. It is called Reflector, you can download a 10 minute free trial to see if you can get it to work. I found it here https://reflectorapp.com. It has solved my problem for less than $20.

  • That's in a comment on the question. However, it does require a computer - so it doesn't really answer this question, although it is a reasonable alternative in many cases. – Tony Meyer Sep 23 '12 at 23:38

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