LG Blu-ray burner firmware update closes AACS 2.0 loophole and can’t be downgraded

Posted 22 December 2017 23:14 CET by Jan Willem Aldershoff

The latest firmware for the popular LG BH16NS40, WH16NS40 and  BE16NU50 Blu-ray writers should improve Ultra HD Blu-ray disc compatibility. In reality however, the firmware update appears to close the loophole in AACS 2.0 that allows the drives to rip Ultra HD Blu-ray movies. LG has made it impossible to downgrade to an earlier firmware, but users on the internet are working on ways to solve that.

The LG BH16NS40, WH16NS40 and BE16NU50 Blu-ray writers are all so-called Ultra HD Blu-ray ‘friendly’ drives. Those drives are a type of Blu-ray drive category introduced by Russian software company Arusoft, developers of the popular Ultra HD Blu-ray ripping software, DeUHD.

The ‘Ultra HD Blu-ray friendly’ category has been adopted by insiders and consists of only Asus and LG drives (and some Asus drives are actually rebranded/rebadged/OEM LG drives).

These drives don’t fully support the AACS 2.0 Ultra HD Blu-ray copy protection and therefore don’t work with officially certified Ultra HD Blu-ray software like PowerDVD. However, for some reason, non-certified software is able to read the filesystem of Ultra HD Blu-ray discs with these ‘friendly’ drives. And when supplied with the correct keys (such as the recently leaked AACS 2.0 Volume Keys), a combination of the Ultra HD Blu-ray friendly drives and the correct software, makes it possible to rip Ultra HD Blu-ray movies. This is a major loophole in the AACS 2.0 copy protection with unintended effects.

It seems LG has tried to close the loophole, by releasing new firmwares (v1.03) for all mentioned drives. The company already released the updates in August this year, which, according to the changelog, should bring “Improved BD UHD disc compatibility”.

In reality however, users complain they are no longer able to access Ultra HD Blu-ray discs after they’ve upgraded their firmware. That also means ripping Ultra HD Blu-ray discs is no longer possible after applying the update, something users might not consider an improvement.

Users who already upgraded their drive to firmware v1.03, or users who received their drive with that firmware version, are not able to flash back to an earlier firmware. The LG firmware update tool simply doesn’t allow it.

But as always there is a group of people on the internet to solve that. The guys from CDRinfo.pl have been working (Polish) on a modified flasher that allows to downgrade the firmware. They have also been helping an user on our forum who wanted revert his LG WH16NS40 back to firmware 1.02. While the guys had success, the process doesn’t seem to work for everyone yet, but progress is made.

While they possibly continue to work further on a solution, it’s not recommended to update the firmware of your LG Blu-ray writer if you’re planning to use them for Ultra HD Blu-ray ripping.

Find more information on our LG Blu-ray Burner Forum, or our DeUHD Forum.


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