Corel Mandates WinDVD Update

Corel Corporation has issued a mandatory software update for its InterVideo WinDVD 8 high-def capable DVD software, requiring that customers not only download an install an application update, but also obtain updaters for their HD DVD and/or Blu-ray drives if they want to watch current or future HD titles. Corel says firmware updates must be obtained from the appropriate drive makers or PC manufacturers.

The move is in response to recent cracks in the AACC content protection system used to protect HD DVD and Blu-ray titles from non-permitted copying; attackers were apparently able to extract title and processing keys by analyzing memory utilization in WinDVD; with those keys, programmers were able to make copies of “protected” HD DVD and Blu-ray titles.

The update is required for customers to be able to view AACS-protected Blu-ray or HD DVD content—and that doesn’t apply just to newly-released titles customers may buy in the future, but also to existing discs. Corel’s mandatory update notice comes with an ominous warning: “Please be aware that failure to apply the update will result in AACS-protected HD DVD and BD playback being disabled.”

Technical information on the update is sketchy—and Corel is unlikely to release details of its methodology—but at this point WinDVD 8 customers could be justifiably concerned this may be the first installment of a continual crack-and-upgrade cycle as programmers continue to find ways to circumvent AACS copy protection.

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