The 'master key' which unlocks the encryption for HD content has been posted on the web and is legitimate, according to Intel.

High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection, which is the DRM used to make sure high-definition content is protected and can't be copied illegally, has been made public and a number of websites have published the code.

While this doesn't mean that anyone can start playing HD content on non-licensed devices, it does mean that the potential is there for chipped products to enter the market which can play non-protected material.

Speaking to Fox News, Tom Waldrop, a spokesman for Intel said: "It does appear to be a master key.

"What we have confirmed through testing is that you can derive keys for devices from this published material that do work with the keys produced by our security technology.

"This circumvention does appear to work."

Chips shopped

HDCP is used in most HD products, from Blu-rays to set-top boxes to videogames, so the announcement that the code is now in the hands of hackers is a worrying one for the entertainment industry.

However, Intel believes that mass market piracy isn't on the cards, with Waldrop noting: "For someone to use this information to unlock anything, they would have to implement it in silicon – make a computer chip.

"It would be a lot of work and a lot of expense to do that."

Even though HDCP has found not to be hacker proof Intel – a partner in the technology – is adamant the encryption tech is still the best around.

"HDCP remains an effective component for protecting digital entertainment," he explained.

"It relies on these licensing agreements to ensure that implementations are done appropriately, and there are legal enforcement methods available for cases where it is done inappropriately."

This story and its headline has been updated (thanks Si_Smith).

Via the Register