Following Intel’s decision to remove Software Protection Extension (SGX) compatibility for 12th Gen Alder Lake processors, the company’s latest chips will no longer be able to play 4K Blu-ray discs.
Like spotted by Bleeping Computer, Intel’s updated datasheets now state that SGX is a deprecated technology. Therefore, those who buy or build a PC with the latest Intel processors will not be able to play Blu-ray movies in 4K resolution on their systems.
In addition to removing support for Alder Lake silicon, Intel also removed the ability to play Blu-ray discs for its 11th generation processors.
Bleeping Computer points out that the inability to play Blu-ray content is associated with such discs requiring digital rights management (DRM), which uses SGX to operate. Intel initially included support for protected Blu-ray discs through the Skylake chip generation in 2016.
Despite Intel describing SGX as a technology that “helps protect against many known and active threats” by incorporating an additional layer of defense, it has been exploited many times by researchers who have successfully uncovered various security vulnerabilities. Bleeping Computer has highlighted several such incidents, including the 2017 Prime+Probe attack, a load value injection (LVI), and an attack targeting the CPU cache that caused enclave content to leak .
In recent years, Blu-ray discs have lost popularity as digital technology continues to evolve. For example, the release of digital-only console models and the continued success of Xbox Game Pass have shown a strong appetite for digital content. Additionally, with streaming services offering thousands of movies in 4K quality for a monthly fee, PC enthusiasts and the mainstream market have seen the need for a physical Blu-ray player diminish.
Blu-ray players are simply no longer a priority compared to the importance given to other components such as ports with the latest USB standards.
Blu-ray discs offer some distinct advantages over streaming. Users don’t need to rely on an internet connection and disks aren’t subject to lag. Additionally, some movies are removed from streaming services when rights expire, while a physical disc ensures guaranteed playback.
With that in mind, those looking to use Blu-ray discs on an Intel-based system will need a 7000, 8000, 9000, or 10000 series processor. The Skylake 6000 series supports SGX, but without inclusion of HDCP 2.2, users will likely encounter HDMI 2.0 compatibility issues.
Elsewhere, Intel recently fixed DRM-related issues that caused video games played on a PC with an Alder Lake CPU to crash or fail to load.
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