There is no greater acknowledgement that we have moved on from physical media than Intel dropping support for them from their latest processors.
The first laptops without DVD drives were being released around 10 years ago, but until the 12th generation of Intel’s processors, the company still included support for the SGX (software guard extension) DRM technology needed to decrypt the discs.
This is no longer the case, as Intel confirmed in the spec sheet for the 12th Generation processor.
Cyberlink has warned users of their software against upgrading to the latest hardware due to this, and also not to upgrade their drivers and even OS.
The Intel Software Guard Extensions (Intel SGX) feature is a requirement on the CPU and motherboard firmware to play the DRM (digital right management) content on Ultra HD Blu-ray movie discs on a Windows platform.
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.
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.
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.
One of the reasons Intel may have dropped Software Guard Extensions is that the technology has been thoroughly defeated by hackers on many occasions, and actually exposes the other content of Intel’s secure enclave, meaning Intel had more to gain than lose from removing the flawed feature.
The knock-on effect of deprecating physical media means that users will have difficulty keeping permanent copies of movies, especially since movies tend to come and go on streaming platforms. The episode however illustrates that even physical media is temporary in the end.