Bye Bye Blu-Ray

Intel is cutting Blu-Ray support from next-gen processors

Blu-Ray isn't obsolete, exactly, but it's not worth the trouble of playing them for Intel.

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Intel’s new 11th-generation and 12th-generation processors will not support Blu-ray playback on PCs, as the company has decided to cut Software Guard Extension (SGX) support from future chipsets. SGX is the only way in which Intel-based computers can read DRM-protected Blu-Ray discs — which is to say any media purchased through legal means.

Datasheets for the new 11th and 12th generation Intel processors lists SGX as a deprecated technology, Bleeping Computer reports. A few other proprietary technologies, including Intel’s Memory Protection Extensions (MPX), are also being sunset with the previous generation of chips.

SGX has been pivotal in allowing Intel-powered machines to read DRM-protected media — but the technology has also opened up Intel PCs to various attacks since its introduction. And the number of people actually buying Blu-Ray discs — never mind playing them on their PCs — is dwindling by the day.

Flaws left and right — Since its first introduction in 2015, SGX has allowed PCs to play Blu-Ray discs without any encryption issues. But the technology isn’t without its problems. It has so many issues, in fact, that the SGX Wikipedia page has an entire section dedicated to “Attacks.”

The list of holes in the SGX architecture is extensive; all essentially allow an attacker to get around the extension’s security measures. A Spectre-esque vulnerability can bypass SGX’s secure enclave, for example. Load value injection — a common attack on Intel processors — can spoof SGX data to similar effect. Some researchers have even been able to run malicious code from the secure enclave itself.

Just buy a PlayStation — Will Intel’s lack of support spell the end for Blu-Ray discs? Not really. Any PCs using older CPUs will still be able to play Blu-Ray data, for one thing. Intel’s SGX processors are easy enough to come by.

How many people are regularly playing Blu-Rays on their computers, anyway? So many other compatible devices are better at playing them. Just buy a dedicated Blu-Ray player. Or a used PlayStation 3 or 4.

Streaming media and digital rentals grow more popular by the day, leaving physical media in the dust. No single title sold a million Blu-Ray discs in 2021; just a decade ago nearly 20 movies sold more than a million. They’re certainly not obsolete, but the trend is pointing downward for sure.

Intel has more to worry about than whether or not PC users can play Blu-Rays at home. GPU innovation has become an all-out war. The company has invested in two new Arizona factories to supply silicon to companies like Apple. And, uh, robotaxis.