Earlier this year DailyTech reported that ATI had been making false claims about its products being HDCP-ready when in fact they were not. To recap, for a video card to be fully able to output a HDCP-DVI signal, it must contain the necessary circuitry within the GPU and it must also come with a unique key. Without a unique key, a HDCP-compliant GPU cannot output an encrypted HDCP-DVI signal. The technology is used so that high-definition content can be played back on a display without the risk of being captured (or ripped) in the middle.

Earlier this year DailyTech reported that ATI had been making false claims about its products being HDCP-ready when in fact they were not. To recap, for a video card to be fully able to output a HDCP-DVI signal, it must contain the necessary circuitry within the GPU and it must also come with a unique key. Without a unique key, a HDCP-compliant GPU cannot output an encrypted HDCP-DVI signal. The technology is used so that high-definition content can be played back on a display without the risk of being captured (or ripped) in the middle.

Two men in northern California have filed a class action lawsuit against ATI for making false claims about HDCP. The men claim that despite clear definitions in the HDCP specifications, ATI proceeded to sell video cards with claims such as “HDCP-ready” or “HDCP-compliant” when the products were not able to output a HDCP-DVI signal. For Microsoft’s upcoming Windows Vista, HDCP output is supported for high-definition play back. The claim also said that many users purchased video cards believing that they were buying Windows Vista-ready cards.

Stanley Batsalkin and Kenny Vargas filed the claim at San Jose District Court on behalf of themselves and hundreds of other ATI customers. Interestingly, some of ATI’s other board partners also used similar claims on box art as well as website information. ATI has since changed certain areas of its website. ATI responded to DailyTech earlier this year after we published our findings, saying that a full HDCP-capable video card requires a key and this feature was up to the board manufacturer to include and not ATI. Unfortunately, ATI, unlike NVIDIA, manufactures its own boards.

Despite the debacle, Sapphire previously announced that it would have a fully capable HDCP-HDMI video card ready by Q2’06. We also reported that other manufacturers were developing boards that had true HDCP support.

ATI has not released an official response to the class action.