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New Intel chips join AMD's Ryzen in being unable* to play encrypted 4K Blu-ray discs (*without questionable workarounds)

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Summary

 

Playing an encrypted 4K (UHD) Blu-ray on a computer in a legally unambiguous way seems to require a hardware-level DRM scheme, which in practice means Intel's SGX (Software Guard Extensions). But SGX is not included in 11th- and 12th-gen Intel processors (as well as all AMD processors). From Intel's Alder Lake SDP page (⭕ added) :

 

Quote

image.png.4a66fc34896810c3bf8db46f089d2a2d.png

 

This has caused Cyberlink to clarify in PowerDVD's FAQ that:

Quote

It has been determined that it is no longer feasible for CyberLink to support the Ultra HD Blu-ray playback on newer CPUs and the latest Windows platforms.

 

Cyberlink even goes so far as to caution against upgrading your OS and drivers!

Quote

For users who use an older compatible platform and want to keep the Ultra HD Blu-ray playback compatibility on the PC and with PowerDVD, we suggest you continue using the 7th - 10th generation Core i series of Intel CPUs and motherboards that support the Intel SGX feature. You should also consider not updating the OS (e.g., upgrading to Windows 11) and related Intel drivers to the latest versions in order to keep the Intel SGX feature from being removed from your PC.

 

The article in Bleeping Computer notes that SGX was deprecated because of all its security vulnerabilities:

Quote

As a secure enclave technology, SGX was commonly targeted by security researchers who discovered numerous vulnerabilities and attack methods 

Examples of attacks targeting Intel SGX include:

  • the Prime+Probe attack discovered in 2017,
  • a Spectre-like attack disclosed in 2018,
  • an Enclave attack discovered by researchers in 2019,
  • a MicroScope replay attack,
  • the so-called "Plundervolt" injection attack,
  • a Load Value Injection (LVI), and
  • the SGAxe attack on the CPU cache resulting in the leak of the enclave's content.

In summary, Intel had more to gain from SGX's deprecation from the perspective of security.

 

Internet commenter Beammeup5 persuasively clarifies that while PowerDVD is "one of the very few officially authorized software vendors for encrypted UHD disc playback," it's still possible to play an encrypted UHD Blu-ray disc on PC, if you use a decryption solution that's presumably not officially authorized (emphasis mine) :

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Intel SGX is not a requirement for playback in the UHD Blu-ray spec. PowerDVD just happens to make use of Intel SGX for their decryption implementation / HDCP handshake enforcement. Other software players that don’t make use of Intel SGX can play UHD discs just fine, so AMD CPU owners need not worry.

 

Just use MPC-HC or JRiver Media Center, etc. Of course, you may need to use “alternate” decryption options like AnyDVD or DVDFab, and naturally you also need a UHD capable disc drive with compatible firmware. like the Asus BC-12D2HT. Many sellers will flash the stock firmware with UHD-capable firmware for drives sold as “UHD ready”.

 

My thoughts

Narrowly, this whole debacle shows that Linus is right to rip his Blu-rays to hard disc: If computers can't play modern Blu-rays without gray-market solutions, then why not just use a gray-market solution to rip them to a more convenient, future-proof format?

 

More broadly, I have to imagine that this augers poorly for the future of Blu-ray specifically, and physical media generally. Media companies' inability to work with tech companies to preserve compatibility comes off as a huge vote-of-no-confidence in their own ecosystem.

 

Oh, and — at the risk of stating the obvious — don't follow Cyberlink's advice to avoid upgrading your OS and drivers, unless your computer is air-gapped from the Internet! 😆

 

Sources

News article: https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/new-intel-chips-wont-play-blu-ray-disks-due-to-sgx-deprecation/

PowerDVD FAQ page: https://www.cyberlink.com/support/faq-content.do?id=26690

Intel page confirming SGX deprecation in Alder Lake: https://edc.intel.com/content/www/us/en/design/ipla/software-development-platforms/client/platforms/alder-lake-desktop/12th-generation-intel-core-processors-datasheet-volume-1-of-2/004/deprecated-technologies/

There was already no PowerDVD compatibility with AMD processors: https://forum.cyberlink.com/forum/posts/list/62724.page

Commenter Beammeup5's clarifications: https://www.ghacks.net/2022/01/14/intels-dropping-of-sgx-prevents-ultra-hd-blu-ray-playback-on-pcs/#comment-4512746

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3 minutes ago, leadeater said:

Well PlayStation's are the best Blu-Ray Players, added bonus is that it's also a PlayStation.

Playstation hasn't been the best Bluray player in about a decade.  Dedicated players vastly surpassed it in loading speed and picture quality due to being hardware based rather than software.

I've confirmed this myself comparing side by side against my Panasonic UHD Bluray player and all games consoles produce a really soft image in comparison.  Plus hardware players produce a much more event frame-rate, software players have a nasty habit of having frame-pacing issues.  You might not notice, but I'm one of those rare people who LIKES frame interpolation and that breaks if the frame pacing is uneven.

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I feel sorry for the handful of people that have this issue. My condolences.

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12 minutes ago, dizmo said:

I feel sorry for the handful of people that have this issue. My condolences.

You will be when were left with only streaming and the show/movie you want is unavailable on any service. 😕

Although admittedly, few will bother with playback on a computer, seeing as PowerDVD costs as much as a dedicated player.

I love the convenience of streaming as much as the next person, but physical copies are night/day better in picture and sound quality.  Except when they deliberately don't release something in 4K but do on streaming, or only release DVDs when streaming is 1080p.

In Europe we have already suffered another drawback of this, since the start of the pandemic Netflix and Amazon have restricted their bitrates so you get clearly visible macroblocking in fast motion.

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3 minutes ago, Alex Atkin UK said:

You will be when were left with only streaming and the show/movie you want is unavailable on any service. 😕

Although admittedly, few will bother with playback on a computer, seeing as PowerDVD costs as much as a dedicated player.

I love the convenience of streaming as much as the next person, but physical copies are night/day better in picture and sound quality.  Except when they deliberately don't release something in 4K but do on streaming, or only release DVDs when streaming is 1080p.

No, I won't. I haven't watched a DVD in over a decade.

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22 minutes ago, dizmo said:

I feel sorry for the handful of people that have this issue. My condolences.

Yeah there are probably 5 people in the world that are playing 4K blu-rays on a PC.

 

I consider myself both a home theater and PC enthusiast. I have a very nice home theater and tons of 4K discs. I have a gaming PC in the same theater.

 

Do I play 4K discs on the PC? Nope.

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36 minutes ago, Alex Atkin UK said:

Playstation hasn't been the best Bluray player in about a decade.  Dedicated players vastly surpassed it in loading speed and picture quality due to being hardware based rather than software.

I have an Oppo 105D Blu-Ray player and picture quality wise playing it through my PS4 and inputting in to the Oppo is exactly the same as directly on the Oppo. Not that I do this regularly because why would I when the Oppo can play them. This however is not UHD so that could make the difference due to the much higher bitrates.

 

36 minutes ago, Alex Atkin UK said:

You might not notice, but I'm one of those rare people who LIKES frame interpolation and that breaks if the frame pacing is uneven.

I have a Panasonic PT AT5000E projector on a 96" screen, I can assure you if there were problems I would notice.

 

Edit:

Also yes I do not use MCFI etc, whether that is actually rare or not either way doesn't matter to me, if you like it then that's the best for you. Tastes are subjective after all.

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Good job AMD and Intel. Encrypted discs need to die off

Awareness is key. Never enough, even in the face of futility. Speak the truth as if you may never get to say it again. This world is full of ugly. Change it they say. The only way is to reveal the ugly. To change the truth you must first acknowledge it. Never pretend it isn't there. Never bend the knee.

 

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1 hour ago, JCHelios said:

he article in Bleeping Computer notes that SGX was deprecated because of all its security vulnerabilities:

doesn't this sound like saying "our immune system is always under attack, therefore we should remove it from our bodies"? Either it's not communicated correctly or they are out of their minds.

 

1 hour ago, Alex Atkin UK said:

You will be when were left with only streaming and the show/movie you want is unavailable on any service. 😕

I doubt finding specific old DVDs in the thrift store is any better. Torrenting would be the best answer if availability is the only thing you have in mind (and I know all that copyright and malicious trouble that sets it on fire)

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1 hour ago, leadeater said:

Well PlayStation's are the best Blu-Ray Players, added bonus is that it's also a PlayStation.

Honestly I tried to do 4k on my computer and even though it's supposed to be supported by my Intel cpu it is way to convoluted process to get it to work. Much more worth it to just have a console they can run 4k content as its just works without having to fiddle with stuff. 

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1 hour ago, JCHelios said:

 

 

 

 

More broadly, I have to imagine that this augers poorly for the future of Blu-ray specifically, and physical media generally. Media companies' inability to work with tech companies to preserve compatibility comes off as a huge vote-of-no-confidence in their own ecosystem.

 

 

On the contrary, in my opinion. Future physical formats can omit any PC compatibility at all, which can make disc ripping much more difficult. It seems there’s very little motive for studios to support the PC platform. Tech companies had to go through pretty extreme measures to get 4K Blu Ray support at all, telling me that there’s no hurry in making it accessible for PC. 

My eyes see the past…

My camera lens sees the present…

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2 hours ago, leadeater said:

Well PlayStation's are the best Blu-Ray Players, added bonus is that it's also a PlayStation.

The PS5 is just the same as the PS3 in that regard. Its a good BD player that happens to also play games. Price though is more of an issue this time (PS3 cost a lot less than most if not all BD players when new, and has been supported far longer than them).


At least this problem doesn't affect standard BD. Not that its a problem with my 3700X...or my Dell/HP 8x BD RE drive. Or VLC for that matter (as long as I have the decryption key for the BD).

Edit: Yeah...it is very easy to see why BD is technically a failed format.

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2 hours ago, Alex Atkin UK said:

You will be when were left with only streaming

NOPE
Not even streaming. There is no subscription based video platform that I am aware of that allows 4k streaming on all computers. Still mad at Netflix for allowing me to pay extra for the 4k tier without warning me that I couldn't actually play 4k content on my device.

2 hours ago, dilpickle said:

Yeah there are probably 5 people in the world that are playing 4K blu-rays on a PC.

But that is because of this DRM stuff. I would be playing 4k blu-rays if not for the complexity of it.

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I've been ripping BR movies from my BR collection to store in my 24TB Probox and 20TB WD My Book for quite a while now, utterly crazy the hoops one has to jump thru to watch BR directly on my computers. Hence I have a Sony UBP-X700 for my 1080P and 4K BR movies, not the best but does its intended job with aplomb.

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52 minutes ago, Dabombinable said:


Or VLC for that matter (as long as I have the decryption key for the BD).

 

Wonder how much longer it will be before we no longer need to continually update decryption keys to decode og Blu Ray, and can brute force it instead? CSS (DVD content protection) didn’t survive half a decade, but 16 years into Blu Ray’s life, and we still need to rely on side-channel attacks to decode AACS. 

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5 hours ago, leadeater said:

Well PlayStation's are the best Blu-Ray Players, added bonus is that it's also a PlayStation.

But I don't want a PlayStation...

One day I will be able to play Monster Hunter Frontier in French/Italian/English on my PC, it's just a matter of time... 4 5 6 7 8 9 years later: It's finally coming!!!

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1 hour ago, suicidalfranco said:

But I don't want a PlayStation...

Do you want a dedicated UHD Bluray player? Going to guess not 😉

 

Edit:

Also I really did like how back in the day of PS3 tons were brought just to watch BD and were never used for play games or anything else simply because it was the only readily available BD player and also didn't cost too much compared to other options. I have the PS3 media remote as well which made the whole experience vastly better.

 

To me it seems like the perfect way for the PC elitists' to piss off everyone else, buy the consoles and refuse to use them lol. You're not scalping so it's all good.

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It is almost as if DRM is anticonsumer. Seriously fuck blurays. Sony was a dick about BDs back then, and are still a dick now. 

 

Ahoy

 

(i do not condone piracy)

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The easiest way to stop piracy is not by putting antipiracy technology to work. It's by giving those people a service that's better than what they're receiving from the pirates.

 

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I'm more bleak about SGX being deprecated, I know about the flaws, but TEEs are an interesting research field. 

 

I wonder if this (SGX being deprecated) also applies to their commercial CPUs. 

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4 hours ago, poochyena said:

NOPE
Not even streaming. There is no subscription based video platform that I am aware of that allows 4k streaming on all computers. Still mad at Netflix for allowing me to pay extra for the 4k tier without warning me that I couldn't actually play 4k content on my device.

But that is because of this DRM stuff. I would be playing 4k blu-rays if not for the complexity of it.

Yeah 4k on pc is basically impossible for most content as nobody wants to support it because it can lead to easy piracy I guess. Anyways it's one of the reasons that consoles come in handy as they can do 4k blu-ray and streaming as they have the proper drm and they are much more locked down. 

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4 hours ago, Dabombinable said:

The PS5 is just the same as the PS3 in that regard. Its a good BD player that happens to also play games. Price though is more of an issue this time (PS3 cost a lot less than most if not all BD players when new, and has been supported far longer than them).


At least this problem doesn't affect standard BD. Not that its a problem with my 3700X...or my Dell/HP 8x BD RE drive. Or VLC for that matter (as long as I have the decryption key for the BD).

Edit: Yeah...it is very easy to see why BD is technically a failed format.

Honestly the Xbox one s was a really good deal for a 4k blu-ray player as it cost like 200 bucks while the 4k blue ray players cost about the same. This was back when it came out though so idk why 4k blu-ray players go for now. Also good to note that you could do 4k streaming as well through the Xbox while I am not sure the same could be said about a normal 4k blu-ray player. 

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26 minutes ago, DukFruk said:

I wonder if this (SGX being deprecated) also applies to their commercial CPUs. 

For Xeons, thus far no but it's also actually a slightly different implementation anyway. Intel SPS, similar to ME/IME, has had similar vulnerabilities and patches rolled out but my guess is Intel is for now going to limit SGX to SPS platforms to reduce what they have to support and maybe extend this to any vPro consumer CPUs (consumer as in product line) in a later generation after Alder Lake. 

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37 minutes ago, Brooksie359 said:

Honestly the Xbox one s was a really good deal for a 4k blu-ray player as it cost like 200 bucks while the 4k blue ray players cost about the same. This was back when it came out though so idk why 4k blu-ray players go for now. Also good to note that you could do 4k streaming as well through the Xbox while I am not sure the same could be said about a normal 4k blu-ray player. 

Most UHD Bluray players have laughable streaming support.  My Panasonic supports Netflix, except for some baffling reason it has to proxy the service through Panasonic servers which makes it pretty much useless as its painfully slow and would buffer all the time when I tried.

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43 minutes ago, Brooksie359 said:

Yeah 4k on pc is basically impossible for most content as nobody wants to support it because it can lead to easy piracy I guess.

DRM and piracy is just an ongoing circles of mouse versus mousetrap evolution.  Every time they tighten up DRM they give people more reasons to pirate and every time people pirate they try to tighten up the DRM.  

 

 

Grammar and spelling is not indicative of intelligence/knowledge.  Not having the same opinion does not always mean lack of understanding.  

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