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4K Blu-ray Movies on PCs: Microsoft, Intel Ends Support in Latest Software, Hardware

Posted by: , 15:23 AEDT, Thu January 20, 2022

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Users told not to upgrade to latest CPU and version of Windows, as it will break 4K Blu-ray playback on PCs
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Users wanting to play 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray movies on their PCs have been told to not upgrade to the latest version of Windows or use the latest Intel CPUs.

FAQ posted by Cyberlink, the makers of the popular PowerDVD software for playing Blu-ray/4K Blu-ray movies on your PC, warns users that upgrading to Windows 11 or using the latest Intel 11th (Rocket Lake), 12th (Alder Lake) and newer generation of processors will break 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray playback.

The reason for this is the deprecation of support for the Intel Software Guard Extensions (Intel SGX) on these new CPUs, and in Microsoft's new OS. The removal of SGX is thought to be related to a series of security flaws discovered in the platform. SGX also forms part of 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray's copy protection system for playback on PCs, which is why the removal of this feature will render software like PowerDVD unable to play 4K Blu-ray movies.

Standard Blu-ray movies are unaffected as it does not utilize the SGX platform.

In addition to asking users wanting to play 4K Blu-ray movies on the PCs to skip the major hardware and software upgrades, Cyberlink also advises users to be careful when upgrading their Intel drivers or utility programs as "support for SGX may be removed at some point on the new versions" of these programs.

Very few people utilize their PCs to play 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray movies. This is mostly due to the requirements needed to satisfy the copy protection system used for these discs, which limits users to Intel processors and Intel Integrated Graphics chips only. And so while very few people actually managed to meet the requirements needed to play 4K Blu-ray discs on their PCs, this is still a blow for those that invested to do so or use their PCs as a media hub.

Critics say this also highlights the dangers of relying on DRM platforms, platforms that could cease to be supported one day and render people's hardware and software useless.


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