Times are changing and tightened security has been causing complications for physical disc media. Cyberlink (the software developer behind popular applications like PowerDVD) has warned users that the future that both Microsoft and Intel have been moving toward will prove to be excruciating for playback of certain Blu-ray material. By that, you may no longer be able to.
The reason behind this is that Intel Software Guard Extensions (Intel SGX) are required for the playback of digital right management (DRM) content. Something that both companies are moving toward getting rid of completely in exchange for tightened security. In fact, some processors are already nixing SGE support from their design.
Cyberlink– “The Intel SGX feature has been removed from Intel 11th generation (or newer) CPUs, and support for SGX may be removed at some point on the new versions of Intel drivers or utility programs (e.g., the Intel SGX and Intel Management Engine driver and firmware). These changes could make these platforms lose support for Ultra HD Blu-ray movie disc playback.”
Cyberlink has actually been advising users of older hardware to refrain from upgrading if they plan on being able to have access to their discs.
Cyberlink– “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.”
Clearly, this isn’t the best course of action to take if you plan on riding the recent wave of security enhancements that are meant to protect users from the ever-growing online criminal community. A community that has been laying the hurt down on so many people these last few years. Some of which using some pretty sophisticated attacks using malware and ransomware to infect large networks to create downtime or even closures.
What do you do in a situation like this though? Keep one system updated while keeping an older system offline for disc playback? Advising users not to upgrade can create a lot of risk. So the best bet may be to invest in a stand-alone Blu-ray player for all of your physical disc needs. Then again, what do you do about writable media if you prefer to back your data to disc?
If Blu-ray support falls to the wayside, this would be a big win for the world of non-tangible digital content. Content that you typically never truly own but instead are paying for the “rights” to be able to watch it (until a company decides you no longer can have access to it and it is gone forever).
Meanwhile, this has been causing pains for companies like CyberLink all the same. Since it has to somehow respond to a very large customer-base of users that own its software and either let them know the software may no longer work, or find a way around it. The latter of which, likely wouldn’t be possible due to legal restrictions (that’s the whole point about “DRM”).
So once again, obsessed layers of copyright protection, put into place by major corporations, are working hard to ruin the future of a specific technology or service. No surprise there. Although, it isn’t even the complete fault of these corporations since they are doing this in order to defend themselves from various pirate activities that seek to copy their content. It’s just that its the normal innocent users that always get damaged in the end it seems. Either by constant annoyances, bugs, failures, or deprecations caused by these desperate attempts to protect intellectual properties.