SGX Deprecation Prevents PC Playback Of 4K Blu-ray Discs

This week Techspot reported that DRM-laden Ultra HD Blu-ray Discs won’t play anymore on computers using the latest Intel Core processors. You may have skimmed right past it, but the table on page 51 of the latest 12th Generation Intel Core Processor data sheet (184 page PDF) informs us that the Intel Software Guard Extensions (SGX) have been deprecated. These extensions are required for DRM processing on these discs, hence the problem. The SGX extensions were introduced with the sixth generation of Intel Core Skylake processors in 2015, the same year as Ultra HD Blu-ray, aka 4K Blu-ray. But there have been numerous vulnerabilities discovered in the intervening years. Not only Intel, but AMD has had similar issues as we wrote about in October.

This problem only applies to 4K Blu-ray discs with DRM. Presumably any 4K discs without DRM will still play, and of course you can still play the DRM discs on older Intel processors. Do you have a collection of DRM 4K Blu-ray discs, and if so, do you play them via your computer or a stand-alone player?

73 thoughts on “SGX Deprecation Prevents PC Playback Of 4K Blu-ray Discs

  1. Haven’t thought of purchasing or using a Blu-ray disc in years. I have the luxury of speedy internet living in a metro area, but I imagine people in remote-ish locations with new devices might get the shaft.

        1. @Lily says: “I use MakeMKV for the ripping and playing of DVDs and Blu-rays.”

          You may want to rethink that…

          MakeMKV is free while in beta. “As stated on a [sic] main page all features of MakeMKV are free while program is in beta. The current beta key is … and is valid until end of January 2022. Please check back for updated key [sic] on this page.”[1]

          WinFF used to be the go-to GUI converter in Windows (it’s a front-end for FFmpeg), but it looks like that’s dead now.[2]

          Take a look at Wikipedia’s “Comparison of video converters” page for better alternatives.[3]

          HandBrake [4] is probably the best transcoder out there right now, it’s free and open (GPL-2.0), powerful, actively maintained, cross-platform, and it has a community forum.

          Give XMedia Recode a try: “XMedia Recode is a Freeware video and audio transcoding program for Microsoft Windows developed by Sebastian Dörfler.”[3] XMedia Recode is a fairly close drop-in replacement for WinFF.

          Both HandBrake and XMedia Recode for Windows come in installable or portable (stand-alone no-installer) versions.

          * References:

          1. MakeMKV is free while in beta.

          2. WinFF

          3. Comparison of video converters

          4. HandBrake

          5. XMedia Recode

    1. As far as Blu-ray is, there’s virtually no difference between streaming and physical disc provided your internet has the bandwidth. But with 4k, there is noticeable difference, the streaming 4k looks a bit watered down and weak compared to 4k disc. I think the issue is bandwidth, a full 4k video that matches the disc in quality would require fairly high bandwidth, not all places has that speed. And some that claims to offer very high speed throttles them frequently. *cough*Comcast*cough*

    1. It’s fine when a museum steals cultural artifacts from all over the world, but if I try to save a copy of a cancelled TV show with no home video release I’m a criminal.


      1. To the contrary, when a museum keeps care of important artefacts (which often would have been destroyed by weathering or wanton violence), and publicly displays them for everyone to enjoy, it’s the evil of all evils on Twitter.

        But companies employing technical means to protect things they’ve created is evil?

        In any case, there should be a guarantee on DRM’d technologies like Blu-ray and cloud-based purchases that they’ll be supported for a minimum of day 10 years, or you get a free swap for another format. Though in this case, old PCs will still play them happily?

          1. Hasn’t stopped companies from investing millions into anti-copying technique. Remember how Sony’s anti-copy CD were defeated by a 99 cents marker, and those same CD were known to kill some smart CD player and iMacs?

          2. And what it does do is make all of my older CD-ROM games incompatible with the latest Windows, not even allowing installation in “compatibility” modes because of the malware-like protection schemes used by the games’ installer.

        1. I think their official response is thus:

          “HA HA HA HA HA NO. Go buy it again, pleb, we need more hookers and blow.”

          typically, after I get done with the rip and compress, the content from the blu-ray disks I have will play on just about anything that can decode the video stream from the mkv it’s in.

          1. MKV? You don’t code it to MP4? Granted, there are some losses, but it is easier to stream and find devices that play it. And in most cases, you wont even notice the loss.

      2. I would argue that it is actually fine, because distributing the artifacts helps to protect them from natural disasters and outbreaks of memetic disease that sometimes cause their deliberate destruction. However, there is a serious imbalance in which museums have ended up from artifacts in other places, and rather than “repatriating” the artifacts Western museums have, some important Western artifacts should be sent to other important museums in the world outside the West. (Exception — things like human remains, and items with real, current religious significance, to communities that have a substantially uninterrupted tradition of valuing and preserving similar objects.)

      1. And yet you can usually find things on pirate sites that you can’t find offered from any legal sources. Do you want the option of having the history that regular people have curated or do you only want commercial garbage rammed down your throat by a profit seeking corporation? Museums are usually curated by people, not corporations, so…

        1. Not only that, if you are on the right sites, you can trade “bounty points” for that elusive bit of media that you just cannot find but is sat in someone’s personal collection in the world.

          Look at all the TV shows having lost episodes which have been found on old video tapes. etc.

  2. Yet again, DRM punishes users who try to be legit and doesn’t impact pirates (or those of us who do the “personal backups only” thing) at all.

    This change does not negatively impact MakeMKV.

    1. But when you “backup” a BD movie with MakeMKV (burned to a BD-RE or stored on a server), is the DTS MA sound decoded correctly to PCM and saved or is it transcoded to a lossy audio format?

      1. Depends on how it’s been ripped- I usually rip the BD as full lossless and full audio, knowing full well it’s going to suck down 25-50+ GB of space. Then I wash it through Handbrake for the actual compression and audio re-code if any. I’ve not seen any problems with it from the last time I did it, at least…

      2. MakeMKV doesn’t do transcodes of any kind. It’s strictly a decrypt and remux tool, which is what makes it so great in my mind. I prefer greater control over my transcodes than what a GUI typically provides, so I do that via ffmpeg myself if I’m doing it at all.

  3. I’m a big collector of BD movies, largely vintage stuff, well restored and mastered by Criterion Collection, Twilight Time, Kino Lorber, et al. They’re all 1080p, though the top 2022 model Sony OLED I’m waiting for should do a bang up job upscaling them to near 4K quality. My Oppo 95 and Pioneer LX500 players are great but my plan is to play then on JRiver for Windows, decrypt them with running in the background, output the video via HDMI to the TV and the decoded DTS MA via USB to this multichannel DAC. But though AnyDVD HD will decrypt the BD will the OLED TV’s HDMI input be expecting an HDCP handshake it may not then get (such as from my Oppo BD player) and therefore reject the video signal?

    1. > … will the OLED TV’s HDMI input be expecting an HDCP handshake it may not then get … and therefore reject the video signal?

      That’s an interesting question. My knee-jerk thought was “of course it must work, HDMI video and BD/DVD media don’t HAVE to be encrypted”. But your question got me thinking, does the current eco-system require the media player be HDCP-capable? I would think not, but you quote an example where it does. I would have thought that if the OLED TV cannot negotiate the HDCP handshake with the player, it simply means that encrypted media can’t be played. Interesting.

  4. It does amuse me that SGX is a complete failure. I do mean complete failure because it’s been a safe haven for malware for quite a while. I doubt this is the last we’ve heard of this technology because SGX isn’t the first of it’s kind in Intel chips.

  5. Can’t help but wonder if this Marks the death of play back in future gaming console’s as well.
    If Intel and AMD are Deprecating the use of these DRM’s on future CPU’s what does that mean for other markets that are using these cpu’s as well?

    1. I suspect that it won’t. Thelogic behind requiring SGX is that (in theory, in practice SGX turned out to be a mess) SGX is supposed to be able to set up enclaves that cannot be observed by the owner of the computer, even if they have full permissions at the OS level; which would preserve the secrecy of the blu-ray decryption process even on a general purpose operating system where the adversary can be reasonably expected to have full control, ability to load kernel drivers, etc.

      Consoles, x86 based or not, generally try to keep the user away from privileged access to the OS entirely; which reduces the need for process-level secrecy. The modern ones also support virtualization to the same extent as normal x86 systems; so even if the blu-ray people decide that a console OS has too much attack surface they can presumably move playback into a separate VM and only need to treat the hypervisor as a trusted component.

      1. “enclaves that cannot be observed by the owner of the computer” Great, they made a perfect hiding hole for malware that can’t be touched by anti-malware software.

  6. Someone once said, I hope this is the last technological upgrade needed.
    VHS was the hot new thing, floppy disks were all the rage, and installing
    Windows 95 took a huge bunch of floppies. Then came CD and DVD, then streaming.
    WHat’s next, beaming the movie directly into your head so you think you’re
    actually in the movie? Would be kind of cool to experience, but for all the
    4K, 8K super ultra high definition that lets you see the hairs on the actor’s
    chin from the moon, I’ll be wondering what the next format will be.

      1. But first they have to solve the problem of making content that people want to watch. Lately we are regressing on this point. Maybe there are too many people reading hackaday and too few people who understand literature and drama and comedy.

        1. One of my instructors in High School had a huge LP collection, but he only played each record once — while recording it with a reel to reel tape deck. Subsequently would listen to the tapes. I thought that was a bit excessive at the time, but later as an adult I found myself doing the same with CDs. Not to prevent damage to the media, but for the convenience of having all my music on an iRiver 20GB MP3 player hacked to run Rockbox (remember those?)
          Good luck with that these days.

          1. Records are nice to listen to… maybe not as good quality as a CD but they get damn close… but yeah, listening to them is a ritual.

            Clean the player, clean the stylus, clean the record… repeat after playback too.

            I bought LPs years ago because in the early part of this century, they were cheaper than even used CDs, and on my unemployed uni student budget, that was a critical factor. Plus, the MP3 sites of the day didn’t really cover the music I like listening to.

            At the time there was a genuine concern of mine that I may “lose access” to these recordings when my turntable dies (an unfounded concern it seems, I’ve both still got the Kenwood P-110 I was given as a birthday present back in 2002 as well as having acquired a JVC JL-A1).

            It was also about this time that record companies were putting logic bombs in their CDs to try and catch music pirates. Copying the material doesn’t hurt the artists anywhere near as much as distribution of the copied material does. But, they continued on this for a while, so I made a point of buying the LP of albums since those were incapable of such shenanigans.

            Having it all on the computer means I can mix and match a playlist (randomly selected) which spans CDs, music DVDs, LPs and (legally purchased!) FLAC downloads… and can just play in the background without distraction, and without requiring an Internet connection.

            I’ve still got the “personal use license” to play this material in private… that was obtained with the purchase of the original media. The people involved in making each recording have got their cut.

            Physical media rules in one aspect where streaming can’t compete: you can’t bequeath your Spotify subscription in your will, but you can bequeath your CD/LP/Tape collection, and in my case, I have family members that do share my music tastes.

    1. Cool. Video on CD was a pre-Win95 thing, though! :)
      In Win 3.1 the and System 7 times (early 90s), we already had CDi, Video CD (mpg, dat) and mov/avi etc.
      There also were remote-controlled Laserdisc players..
      And they all had no DRM, gratefully.

      Obscure PC interfaces for your VCR that stored Gigabytes of data on VHS tapes alsp existed. In combination with Channel Videodat or similar, you could download massive data for little money oover the air – the wild west 90s before Win95 became ubiquitous were great! :D

      Also, from what I, remember, I was watching online videos via dial-up before I had DVDs. It started with the QuickTime (+RealPlayer) plug-in for Netscape, I recall. Also in the 90s.

      Then came Real Player (second time) and WinAmp.. The shoutcast network had obscure stations for both web radio and video. Including strange stations that streamed police radios from overseas. I fondly remember one “channel” which had old cartoons running all day/night. These were the days. :D

      1. I miss WinAmp…. I know it’s still available in its final form, but there’s been no further evolution on it. I like the UI presentation that was much superior to Windows Media Player and others.

    1. This.
      Blu-ray died fast for most people.

      Though back in the 201Xs there was a sizeable proportion of users (>70% in USA I believe) who suffered from the “10 foot gap” between their internet connected devices and their big TV. This was a big focus for the industry.

    1. It’s surprising to find so many fans of preserving antiquated technology rebuffing Blu-ray. Publishers like Kino Lorber, Shout Factory, Arrow Video, Vinegar Syndrome, etc. are improving their preservation and digitization techniques. I don’t like the consortium, but with Blu-ray we can all enjoy our collective history of film in 2K or 4K. Everyone wants to gripe about streaming services and terrible internet quality around the world, but the point is that Intel introduced technology a consortium glommed onto and then dropped it.

  7. They can just switch to a software algorithm to decode the DRM (after all, stand-alone players can decode the movie without an SGX-equipped Intel processor). There MIGHT be a performance issue, but most likely this is a business decision, not a technical one.

  8. DRM is always like this in one way or another, but people keep buying encumbered media…

    I’m glad I’m getting old and crotchety tbh. Keeping up with the times with DRM being so pervasively invasive would give me an aneurysm.

  9. DVDs bumped up perceived video quality xomparinf to its predecessor, the vhs tape. And they could cope very well with the existing TV sets. Region block was an annoyance, but we survived it without harm.
    BlueRays on the other side could not do the same leap, unless you bought a new tv set and watched close to still scenes, and had a major annoyance regarding compatibility of the devices with the standard. Regarding its use as a recordable media, it still had the same problem as the existing media: the fragility of the media, that was the worst side of CDs and DVDs. Summarizing, none of the advantages of the blu-rays have proven enough value added to attract customers, and today it is a zombie technology.

  10. You are forgetting that museums don’t only receive items from their local areas. The people who get to see exhibits are those who live near the museum, and artifacts are collected from all over the world. Museums benefit from the curious citizenry of an imperialist appropriation machine.

    1. You never travel a bit to see a museum? By the same logic, Disney World is only of interest to the people who live in Orlando, and the Grand Canyon is only visited by coyotes.

      You’re right that things get stolen, but that’s a solvable problem. A better solution might be VR museums with GOOD 3d scans.

  11. I honestly completely forgot Blu-ray was a thing. It just didn’t pan out for the tech it seemed. DVDs offered a great leap in fidelity compared to the old VHS and much like CDs proved valuable for use outside of video as many software, games and such where stored on them.

    But Bluray didn’t offer as big a leap, needed HD TVs to be worthwhile and by the time it had won from HD-DVD a lot of PC software was being distributed via digital download with cloud storage being on the rise for storing collections. Only the Playstations proved a reliable home for blu-ray to see continued success, but that also slowly started to fade as digital distribution started to take over the consoles too.

    By the time 4K was an established thing. Smart-TVs, mobile devices and streaming pretty much killed any hope for mainstream 4k-bluray adoption. Relegating it mostly to a niche of where you got and want to use 4k devices, but not the connectivity.

    1. The big deal about physical media is that it’s something you can literally (and I mean that in its original and proper definition) *own*. That’s not the case with any streaming system as it exists today.

      Don’t quibble about the DRM on video disks. As long as the DRM is broken, then you really do own it.

  12. Things like this constantly coming up every time a new technology comes out is exactly why I just gave up ever buying media.

    I haven’t bought in music or movies in years because of bull like this. To be clear- I *want* to, but there’s no point because every time I turn around there’s a new DRM attached to some idiots new medium.

    I can’t even get a guarantee I’ll be able to watch something in 10 years let alone 4. What idiot that is paying attention to how all this DRM is destroying ownership would even bother to buy anything with it attached?

    I have a huge CD collection but I stopped buying media because I couldn’t find what I wanted without jumping through 100 Hoops of having the right permissions in the right devices to actually see what I was paying for, so I just stopped caring. I stopped buying stuff. DRM has not protected anything it has just killed consumerism and the chance of me ever finding a way to watch anything. And the more they built this into every chip in every technology just makes me run away faster.

    Soon I will own no new tech at all. I just don’t need the grief DRM brings to the world.

  13. I’ve been pretty disappointed in 4k streaming options (legit, or not-legit).

    OOTH, when I’m playing 4k UHD discs people really notice the difference.

    I have a pretty small collection, its not like I’m rushing out to get everything I can on UHD.

    But I think convenience has won out over quality, much like music streaming and regular video streaming. I still hope they keep making UHD disc releases.

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