Intel's dropping of SGX prevents Ultra HD Blu-Ray playback on PCs

Intel removed the security feature SGX from processors of the 11ths generation and newer generations. Problem is, the feature is one of the requirements to play Ultra HD Blu-Ray discs on computer systems.

ultra hd blu-ray logo

The Ultra HD Blu-Ray format, often referred to as 4K Ultra HD or 4K Blu-Ray, supports 4K UHD playback with a pixel resolution of 3840×2160.

One of the requirements for playback of Ultra HD Blu-Ray discs on PCs is that SGX is supported by the installed processor and by the motherboard firmware. The Blu-Ray Disc Association defined DRM requirements for Ultra HD Blu-Ray disc playback. Besides SGX, playback is protected by HDCP 2.2 and AACS 2.0, with some discs using AACS 2.1.

Intel Software Guard Extensions (SGX) “allow user-level as well as operating system code to define private regions of memory, called enclaves, whose contents are protected and unable to be either read or saved by any process outside the enclave itself, including processes running at higher privilege levels” according to Wikipedia.

intel sgx deprecated

Datasheets for Intel’s 11th and 12th generation Core desktop processors list Intel Software Guard Extensions as a deprecated technology.

PC users who use devices with 11th generation or newer Intel processors can’t play Ultra HD Blu-Ray discs on these devices because of the missing requirement.

Cyberlink, producer of popular DVD and Blu-Ray playback software, published an FAQ entry on its website that confirms the issue.

The removal of the SGX feature, and its compatibility with the latest Windows OS and drivers, has caused a substantial challenge for CyberLink to continue supporting Ultra HD Blu-ray movie playback in our player software. So much so, that 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.

The company suggests that users stay on older Intel processors, Intel 7th to 10th generation processors to be precise, as these support the SGX feature and ensure that Ultra HD Blu-Ray discs can be played on the device. Cyberlink suggests further that users do not update their devices to the latest version of Windows, Windows 11, and do not update Intel drivers as these may remove the SGX feature in the driver.

It is probably better to back up the system and test driver updates to find out if Ultra HD Blu-Ray playback is still supported.

The use of Blu-Ray players, e.g. the newest consoles by Microsoft and Sony, provided that the editions with disc drives are bought, or other Blu-Ray players that support the 4K standard, may still be used to play the media.

Now You: are you affected by the change? (via Heise (German))

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