Cinavia: What Is It And Why You Should Care

by Damian on February 1, 2011 · 43 comments

in News

As I rummage through various forums I have noticed increased discussions about Cinavia. For those who don’t know Cinavia is a digital rights management system (i.e. DRM) meant to limit unauthorized use of certain movies in Blu-ray players. There are two parts to Cinavia. The first part is a watermark that is embedded in the audio track of the movie. The second part is hardware related, as the hardware must be able to detect the watermark. In the case where a movie with the Cinavia watermark is detected by a Blu-ray player and it is determined that the movie is unauthorized (i.e. example being a copied Blu-ray disc) a message will appear stating that the media is not authorized for playback. The audio will then either be muted or playback will stop altogether. This would apply to any media that contains the watermark regardless of container/format, and to date there is no way to remove the watermark (nor is it clear if it is even possible to remove the watermark without damaging the audio track). Cinavia was implemented in June 2009 and is now a requirement of all Commercial Blu-ray Players.

So How Does This Affect Me?

This is where it gets a little confusing. Ultimately if you attempt to play back “unauthorized” media containing Cinavia on a device that supports Cinavia (see bottom of post for players/movies currently confirmed to support Cinavia) your media will not play back. Playstation 3 was the first player to implement Cinavia, with more players slowly following. The big question though is will current players in  the market such as the Boxee Box, PCH A-200/C-200, and Dune be subject to Cinavia. Well, I don’t have a 100% answer to this question. Cinavia is only required for players that can act as a commercial Blu-ray player and thus require a BDA license. This means that players such as Boxee Box or the PCH A-200 should not be subject to Cinavia as they do not support an internal/external Blu-ray ROM drive, thus there is no need for a BDA license. What is left are hybrid players such as the Dune BD Prime, Dune Smart Series, and PCH C-200. Since these players support an internal/external Blu-ray ROM drive they are subject to a BDA license. Now whether or not Cinavia will be implemented on these players is unclear as I have not seen any official statements from the companies. There has been some discussion on the nmt forums that Cinavia would only apply to new players that would require a new BDA license (the thought being the C-200 already has a BDA license and thus would be exempt). Once again though there has been no official statement confirming this one way or the other. Ultimately it may be up to the SoC manufacturers such as Sigma to implement. Obviously for anyone owning a current hybrid player this is something to keep a close eye on as Cinavia implemented on these players would be devastating. My guess this is the last you will see of these hybrid players and the only  type of player that will allow you to play back your unprotected content and still have access to a Blu-ray ROM drive will be an HTPC. For now Cinavia should have zero impact on media players that don’t support the use of an internal/external drive.

One interesting thing I just read is that DVDFab has already come up with a work around for Cinavia on the PS3. As per an email I received from them:

DVDFab firstly supports Cinavia protection in the world in January, 2011. DVDFab Blu-ray Copy ( Beta) can copy any Blu-ray disc with Cinavia watermark, and create a protected disc (BDMV-REC) to disable Cinania for playback on PS3. Keep in mind that you can only accomplish this in either “Full Disc” or “Main Movie” mode using Blu-ray Copy, check “Create Protected Disc (BDMV-REC) to disable Cinavia” option, and choose output as BD 50 / BD 25.

As per the DVDFab website, here is a list of players/media that currently support Cinavia:

Blu-ray/media players that use Cinavia:

* Sony Playstation 3 (PS3) firmware 3.10 or higher
* Pioneer BDP-V6000
* Marantz UD5005
* LG BDP550 (fw: 8.31.283.C)
* Denon DBP-1611UD

Cinavia protected Blu-ray discs:

* The Losers (Warner Brothers, Jul 20, 2010) (English track only)
* The Karate Kid (Sony, Oct 5, 2010) (most of the tracks)
* The Other Guys (Sony, Dec 14, 2010) (English track only)
* Resident Evil: Afterlife 2D (Sony, Dec 28, 2010) (English track only)
* Resident Evil: Afterlife 3D (Sony, Dec 28, 2010) (English track only)
* Salt (Sony, Dec 21, 2010) (English track only)
* The Social Network (Sony, Jan 11, 2011) (English track only)
* Takers (Sony, Jan 18, 2011) (English track only)

Cinavia protected DVD discs:

Takers (Sony, Jan 18, 2011) (English track only)

Article by

Hi, my name is Damian, and I'm tech gadget addict! Although I always had some interest in technology, it wasn't until I got my EX470 and more importantly found, that my interest became an addiction. My goal, aside from world domination and to see the Mets/Broncos win another championship, is to set up the perfect digital home where all my media is available at the click of a button. When I am not writing for you can find me over at my blog at or follow me on twitter


micksh February 1, 2011 at 4:03 pm

Netgear NeoTV 550 is going to include Cinavia support. It will be introduced in Sigma 8642 SDK. So expect Cinavia to be in other players using the same chipset once they migrate to the new SDK even if they don’t support external BD drive.

Damian February 1, 2011 at 4:15 pm

Thanks for pointing out. That would pretty much kill the NeoTV. I guess the question though is will it be a blanket SDK for all 8642 chips. For example, Cinavia is specifically required only if a BDA license (i.e. BR Rom drive) is present, so I don’t see how this can be pushed on players that don’t require a BDA license (can the Cinavia feature in the SDK be shut on/off depending on the player?). No one knows for sure, and it is frustrating that you are hearing nothing from Syabas, HDI, etc… regarding as this has a direct impact on their customers.

Damian February 1, 2011 at 6:00 pm

Also, to add to this if Cinavia is applied to every 8642 SDK then a simple solution would be to not update your FW as many of the players in question don’t force updates. Also, I believe it is up to the company to decide if they go with the new SDK from Sigma or go on their own (as I believe HDI Dune did at one point)

Cubanblood February 1, 2011 at 4:48 pm

So what does this means for current player? If all the movies will sooner or later include this Cinavia encryption the players that cant decode it will not play right? Anyway there will always be a work around. I have been using dvdfab since day one and has never failed to update its decoder when new encryptions come out.

Damian February 1, 2011 at 5:58 pm

Correct. If a player has Cinavia any movies that you back up that have Cinavia as well will not play. The big question is whether this will only apply to players that require a BDA license (which is how it should be) or if Cinavia tries to get pushed on all players. DVDFab has a work around specific to the PS3. For now it looks like work arounds if available will only work for BR Folder structures (i.e. mkvs may be left in the dust, at least based on the DVDFab work around). The other option is simply not update your FW if your player includes Cinavia

Comp1962 February 1, 2011 at 6:44 pm

I only have 1 Blu-RAY drive in a computer and its sole purpose is to rip the movies I purchase so I can stream them at will. I also like the point of using the disk one time and placing it back in the container and leaving it on the shelf protected. Prior to that I used 400 Disc Players both for CD and DVD’s and putting my collection on the server is just more convient and cost effective with the price of drives dropping. I do understand the need to protect ones investment but to be honest for every copy protection scheme developed a way to get around it is also developed.

I guess I will have to wait and see how this impacts me if at all. All I know is everything on my server I have a purchased copy as I do not condone piracy which is why copy protection schemes are developed in the first place.

Damian February 1, 2011 at 7:56 pm

It is like typical DRM. The pirates will find a way around it and the honest consumer is the one who pays the price. I remember when Avatar first came out on BluRay. It had a new DRM scheme that many of the Blu-ray players could not handle. The DRM scheme was cracked within a day of release, but it took days/weeks for the Blu-ray player manufacturers to update the fw of their players so that people who actually purchased/owned the disk could actually play back.

Mike February 11, 2011 at 11:37 am

i have played the following supposedly protected Blu rays on my home network with no problems:
The Losers
Resident Evil Afterlife 2D

all ripped to storage as ISO files via AnyDVD and IMGBurn. and then sent across my network to a Dell ZinoHD410 output via HDMI to a Sony STR-DN1000 receiver and then to a Sony 46″ Bravia LCD.

No problems at all.

Mike February 11, 2011 at 11:39 am

I should add, I’m utilizing Arcsoft’s TotalMedia Theater3 Platinum as my player software.

Damian February 11, 2011 at 1:04 pm


The disc itself is only part of the equation. Even if the disc is protected you will have no problems playing back if the hardware you are playing on does not support CInavia. Right now TMT3 does not support cinavia which is why you don’t have any problems. However, if you tried to play one of those movies on the PS3, Cinavia would kick in.

Schatzman February 14, 2011 at 5:17 pm

Just for my clarification. This is only if you copy a bluray disc to ISO or another bluray disc correct? I’m assuming this doesn’t apply to rips to MKV or your container of choice or is that not right?

Damian February 14, 2011 at 5:47 pm

Unfortunately Cinavia will apply to mkvs as well. It actually doesn’t matter what container you use. The Cinavia watermark is embedded in the audio track, so even if you create an mkv the audio track in the mkv will have the watermark. This means you will be unable to play back the mkv on Cinavia enabled players.

schatzman February 15, 2011 at 10:37 pm

suck … I wonder if it will apply to players without the bluray drive. Like the Dune HD Smart D1 … since they won’t “have” to purchase a BDA license … now I think I may buy now rather than wait for the new sigma chip … just in case…

Damian February 16, 2011 at 6:59 am

Well, actually the D1 does have a BDA license. The reason being with those new modules announced to go along with the Smart Series you could connect the BluRay module to the D1. This is the gray area right now.

Schatzman February 16, 2011 at 9:36 am

Crap … Wasn’t there some ruling to allow a legal copy of a Blu-ray disc not to long ago … this seems to be in conflict with that.

Damian February 16, 2011 at 10:26 am

Yeah, I think it is something like a managed copy, but I am sure once again required some sort of hardware check which only turns it back in to DRM. I have to believe that folks over at HDI Dune or elsewhere know that Cinavia would basically kill any of their products if implemented, so at a minimum I would expect a work around (for example in the case of the D1 the user should be able to elect to have the BR Rom connectivity disabled)

Schatzman February 16, 2011 at 10:26 am

Post hog here. But I just found this post from Slysoft, hopefully it isn’t as big of a deal as we are making.

Damian February 16, 2011 at 10:31 am

If Slysoft could find a way to kill it that would be great. The potential issue I have read is that currently there is no way to remove the watermark without damaging the audio track. The folks at Slysoft, DVDFab, etc… sure seem to be a heck of a lot smarter then the DRM folks, so anything is possible :-)

marron glace April 25, 2011 at 9:16 am

Hey Damian

I am a PS3 user and I download a lot of movies (torrents)
There is a movie called Battle Los Angeles 2011
I have downloaded several copies but when I try to watch it
on PS3 I get a message saying that this file is cinavia protected !
It seems that this copy all over the torrent websites has been
uploaded many times in different up-loader name I guess ,
So how to really fix this in order to watch this movie in PS3 ?

Thanks a lot

Damian April 25, 2011 at 9:19 am

To my knowledge the only workaround is provided by DVDFab, and it only works if you have the actual disc. Maybe you could try running the file through Clown_BD to create a BluRay structure, and then see if DVDFab can work with that BluRay structure (the final file must stay in a BluRay structure). Otherwise, your only other option would be to use a different media streamer for playback.

marron glace April 25, 2011 at 3:10 pm

Thank you so much Damian for your great helpful thoughts .
Have nice day

JohnnyQ April 25, 2011 at 9:30 am

@marron glace

Please don’t post questions on how to play illegal copies of movies in this forum. Saying things like “I download a lot of movies (torrents)” is not necessary. Damian was kind enough to answer your question but often times questions with blatant posts advertising illegal activity go on unanswered. Keep in mind, whatever you post has a record, and a signature of your IP address … which can be tracked to your HOME. It would be really easy for a Fed to get that information and break down your door … or worse … shut down this site! So … play nice … and keep your illegal activities to yourself. :)

pro346 November 2, 2011 at 9:24 pm

Yeah im sure the feds are going to bust down his door… He never sad they were elegal some torrents are actually legal you are aware of this aren’t you?

i just wanted to say February 20, 2012 at 4:25 am

That was a pretty whiney post, because nobody cares except u

Cubanblood April 29, 2011 at 4:30 pm

I use DVDFab to rip my movies to my server. The other day i purchased The Tourist and ripped it. I did not get the blu-ray but i still get the error on my ps3. Thankfully i can still play it on my htpc.

Winstone May 22, 2011 at 5:08 pm

I’m certainly feeling the creep creep creep of the authoritarian police state coming on! As a precaution i’ll tape up my webcams eye just in case the dvdpolice are watching me!

Impulse May 23, 2011 at 4:47 pm

Ok so I get that cinavia is an audi watermark, and I get that theres no workaround for getting rid of it. Question is WHY does it work. For instance I rented a BD copy of “the green hornet”(not knowing cinavia existed) and It played fine. Meaning the ps3 saw the watermark, realized the dvd was legit and played as it should right? So why is it if a computer can make a perfect copy of the source material, it would not match and cinavia mutes the volume and gives you a little on screen notice? Shouldnt an exact copy be seen the same as the source?

Damian May 23, 2011 at 6:04 pm

By virtue of ripping t your pc you are breaking the encryption so you no longer have a 1 to 1 copy. That is what cinavia detects

Dan November 8, 2011 at 9:56 am

This is the first time I’ve ever posted to any sort of blog/internet discussion format, so please allow me to apologize in advance if I violate a protocol or convention. I’m hoping to find a person with a legal background in media/copyright. I appreciated reading all the posts and learning about the supposed protection, encryption, etc. surrounding Cinavia. However, has anyone considered the larger implications of Cinavia? I have a PS3 and I have the legal rights to a certain movie which will no longer play (audio) due to the dreaded Cinavia protection. It seems to me this amounts to an illegal search of my home. In real life, if there is a suspected crime occurring in one’s home, an enforcement agency requires permission, a search warrant or probable cause to legally enter the premises. I have provided no one with permission to monitor the PS3 in my home, and I have not seen a search warrant. Further, since I am doing nothing untoward there should be no probable cause. Instead of biting my lip and performing a “work around” (which might actually be illegal), isn’t there a legal solution to this? Can Cinavia be charged with illegally searching inside my home? I’m not a nut-job (LOL) but I was raised by lawyers, all of whom will not help me (fortunately, I was found early enough and freed from the lawyers thereby sparing my immortal soul). Thanks for any help anyone may offer.

Ghitulescu November 15, 2011 at 8:23 am

Cinavia is hard to be legally fought, because the way the laws are.
As long as you do not use copied things, cinavia won’t bother you, and the algorithms are clever enough not to interfere with your own music (ie to identify your own created music as a “copy” and to refuse to play it). Of course, without cinavia it would have been much safer and nicer.
No, I’m not working for “them”.

And for the question why the manufacturers do not make any statements, it’s because the licensing procedure forbids them to make public the implementation of cinavia into their devices. The upgrade to cinavia must be silently performed and irreversible.

Dan November 15, 2011 at 8:36 am

Thanks for your response. I’ve since learned that at some point during a PS3 upgrade, I checked a box which apparently indicated I agreed to invasive copyright procedures such as Cinavia.

Am I the only one who remembers being taught (in the 1970′s) about communism and how bad those countries were because their governments did secret things to control the populace?

Again, thank you Ghitulescu for the info.

Anders November 23, 2011 at 4:04 am

A thought… After browsing the cinavia and verance web sites, a distressing thought occured to me:
Consider the following:

I have some audio playing in the background, and something occurs that prompts me to make a short video of my grandchild.

I then create a Bluray disc of this video.

When I play this on my bluray player, is it possible that I won’t be able to view it due to the Cinavia protection?


i just wanted to say February 20, 2012 at 4:31 am

that’s good! I would love to see a family record a home video with some movie song playing in the background and then having their video not play back because of that movie song (that nobody even thought of because it was a family time in the living room). Then i’d really love to see that family take cinavia to court because they prevented them from watching their memories.

Anders November 24, 2011 at 3:16 am

and another disturbing thought:
what are the possibilities of misuse in the long run?

China playing “Professional Material” at full blast while shooting protesting civilians in the street?
Bank robbers doing the same during a robbery
non-democratic governments banning use and sale of non-cinavia recording equipment.

Cinavia compliant phones and cameras refusing to record. no more youtube recordings of uprisals etc…

phones terminating calls seemingly at random because of a Cinavia signature is present.

ie…once we go there, we are in for a surprise.

i just wanted to say February 20, 2012 at 4:32 am

that’s messed up, but totally possible!

Burned February 14, 2012 at 6:36 pm

I believe all this blu-ray ripping got started because a monitor did not support HDCP, Right? Well, get ready to buy new monitors all you people who still have old equipment. Also, Hollywood is closing the analog hole, it will be all encrypted HDMI all the way baby!! If I remember, every format that had a watermark to prevent transfers from working eventually withered and died. remember DVD-A? It had a similiar watermark. All I can say is this watermarking scheme is slick. I just hope that Hollywood doesn’t wind up destroying the format!!!!

anders February 20, 2012 at 10:34 am

Sue whom? Cinavia is not an entity that you can sue. It just is… they have even used an anonymous proxy to register the cinavia website. In order to sue, you would have to find out which soundtrack was playing, and then prove that you were unaware if the implications, and also prove malicious intent on the copyright holders behalf.
Pretty watertight, if you ask me. but not very democratic, and not very well thought through. in 5 years- forget calling 911 from a cinema.

umdesch4 May 18, 2012 at 3:28 am

Also consider this. The watermark can survive being recorded on analog tape via microphone (eg. ultra-low-tech bootlegging from a theatre). If that’s the case, how can it not introduce distortion to the source audio easily detectable by the human ear? What’s the point of having higher quality sound encoding on a bluray disc then, if you’re just going to degrade it with audible watermarking?

Reading the paragraph about this in the wikipedia article, and stripping away the jargon, you’re left with what sounds an awful lot like something insanely easy for the human ear to detect. Almost like an audio equivalent to the dreaded CAP code dots we saw all over films a few years back, and the main reason I stopped watching movies in the theatre.

I hope it’ll be easy to identify discs with Cinavia on them, so I can avoid them like the plague.

CyberSean July 22, 2012 at 11:43 am

It would appear people download a lot of videos. We dont have Netflix or any other services in my country. Wouldn’t it curb abuse if they rolled this out everywhere. I dont mind paying for a movie and watching it in my living room. I have been to a few of the latest releases and it just seems people dont have manners in the cinema anymore. I prefer to watch it at home.

Damian July 22, 2012 at 5:24 pm

The issue is that it hurts all the legal folks. For example, I purchase my movies, yet according to Cinavia I am not allowed to copy and use freely (we are not talking about downloading/stealing, just using a product that you legally purchased).

john January 17, 2013 at 7:54 am

fuck cinavia so hard.

mike March 18, 2013 at 3:29 pm

Can we get an update to this list? I would like to know specifically what players have Cinavia on them so that I can buy something else.

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