Unable to play UHD (4K) Blu-ray on PC with Alder Lake processor

Written by Guillaume
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This article is an automatic translation

This is not just a problem with 12th generation Intel processors, but also with Tiger Lake and some AMD Ryzen processors.

Considering the number of PCs that are no longer sold without optical playback, we can deduce that fewer and fewer people are using their machines to play Blu-ray, especially UHD Blu-ray containing 4K movies. So it's not too surprising that the news is only now getting out, nearly four months after Intel released its first salvo of Alder Lake processors. TechPowerUp is relaying information published by the customer service department of CyberLink, the publisher of PowerDVD software.

The good old Blu-ray player still seems to be the best way to avoid bad surprises

According to this information, if some users are no longer able to play UHD Blu-ray with said software, it's not CyberLink's fault. It's not a problem with the operating system either - which means Microsoft - but with Intel and its latest processors. Indeed, the American manufacturer has decided to do without SGX extensions with its new hybrid Alder Lake architecture. This removal of SGX extensions is not a surprise since these extensions were already absent from the Rocket Lake and Tiger Lake CPU generations.

Although they are no longer really useful for the proper functioning of a PC, these extensions are used by the digital lock (DRM) used by the Blu-ray Disc Association, which is the basis for the entire Blu-ray standard and, in this case, for UHD Blu-ray. Only UHD Blu-ray seems to be a problem today, and 1080p playback works flawlessly. Some clever people have already found ways around the Blu-ray Disc Association's DRM and are able to play their UHD Blu-ray, but for the average user, it's impossible.

More embarrassingly, there seems to be no plans to release any patches. CyberLink is blaming the problem on a hardware/DRM issue and neither Intel nor the Blu-ray Disc Association have commented. Knowing that the problem isn't just Intel's - AMD's latest CPUs aren't compatible with UHD Blu-ray either - it's doubtful that a solution will ever be forthcoming.