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My legally purchased copy of PowerDVD is refusing to play Bluray discs made after a certain date:

You must update CyberLink PowerDVD to continue playback of this content.

Astonishingly, this is "standard practice" for all versions of PowerDVD.

In my case, this means that many Blurays produced after May 2011 no longer work with my player. I can't watch Star Wars, I can't watch Indiana Jones, I can't watch Prometheus, I can't watch the new Criterion remaster of Seven Samurai... Even though I've legally bought a Bluray player!

Cyberlink's solution is to simply buy the latest version of their software.

CyberLink customer service reply

Having already spent the cost of a hardware Bluray player ($100+) for their software equivalent, you can imagine I'm pretty reticent about being forced to it again. What's worse is that I purchased PowerDVD in November 2009, meaning I had less than 18 months of trouble free use(!).

Their latest version of PowerDVD is $125, and Lord knows how long that would function for...!

Seeing how I legally own a Bluray player, and genuine Bluray discs, is there not any way I can manually update the AACS keys for PowerDVD myself??

This seems like yet another occasion where the pirates get a better deal than those of us who pay their money to do things legitimately :(

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If the official way to update the keys is to pay for them (via buying the newer version), and doing it any other way constitutes piracy, this is probably not the best place to ask such a question. –  Karan Oct 21 '12 at 21:19
I would say: 1) Do not buy proprietary software 2) Do not buy Blurays while the AACS has not been cracked –  Guillaume Brunerie Oct 21 '12 at 21:24
@Karan How does this constitute piracy exactly? The keys are not owned by Cyberlink, they're just deliberately not updating their player in order to force users to buy the latest version. –  Django Reinhardt Oct 21 '12 at 21:28
@JohnnyW Perhaps you can try with VLC 2.0.4. You will have to install separately the AACS decoding library and keys (because it’s illegal) but if you’re lucky your disks might be encrypted with one of the known keys. Of course I can’t give a link here but you will easily find the keys in Google. –  Guillaume Brunerie Oct 22 '12 at 0:24
Agh, this is so frustrating. If I wanted to resort to breaking the law, I wouldn't have purchased the player software. Imagine buying a CD player that refused to play CDs after a certain date. It's unbelievable :( –  Django Reinhardt Oct 23 '12 at 23:26

1 Answer 1

up vote 2 down vote accepted

I've been in touch with CyberLink as well as the UK's consumer advice service, and it appears there's nothing I can do. Cyberlink are knowingly selling software which will become useless after two years of use, but technically they can claim that two years is a long enough time for their software to work properly.

In my case, I only had 17 months worth of use from it, but that still doesn't change anything -- as unreasonable as their behaviour is, it's not illegal. It seems incredibly unfair, like buying a CD player that refuses to play CDs after a certain date. Or, more accurately, buying a Hardware Bluray player that only works for 18 months, and then requires you to purchase an entire new unit just to play the latest movies.

Rather than give CyberLink more of my money for the latest version of their software, when I actually only want the AACS security keys to be updated, I've purchased SlySoft's AnyDVD HD. This removes the need to AACS checks and allows me to play my legitimately bought Blurays with my legitimately bought Bluray player software.

If this doesn't take your fancy, I'd suggest putting your money towards a hardware Bluray player like a PlayStation 3. Sony (and other hardware manufacturers) will update their AACS keys for you for free -- you don't need to keep buying a new PlayStation 3 every 18 months!

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