August 31, 2015
Pirates have reportedly found a workaround for 4K copy protection on Netflix, as an Ultra HD copy of the first episode of “Breaking Bad” is making the rounds on torrent sites. While 4K content for television and PCs may still be in its early stages, some analysts anticipate increased leaks in the future. Netflix and Amazon are among the first streaming services to offer 4K content, although most consumers do not own 4K TVs yet. Streaming has strong protection, and until the recent leak, High-Bandwidth Digital Copy Protection (HDCP) was generally believed to be unbreakable.
Distribution of 4K content is slowly growing. “Thus far the offerings have been limited to adult content and a handful of mainstream productions,” reports TorrentFreak. “However, with the adoption of a Blu-ray standard for Ultra High Definition video more releases will follow soon.”
The leaked episode of “Breaking Bad” (a 2160p video file, 17.73GB in size with a bit rate of 41.3Mbps) was first released by reputable group iON. It is not yet known whether the group broke HDCP or found another option to capture the stream.
“Leaked drafts of the 4K copy protection agreement between Sony and Netflix reveals that the streams are generally well-protected,” notes TorrentFreak. “They also include a watermark so that leaks can be traced back to the source.” However, many pirates have found ways around watermarks.
Netflix is looking into the issue. “Piracy is a global problem,” said a Netflix spokesperson. “We, like others content providers, are actively working on ways to protect content featured on our site.”