Cheapest, best way to get bluray movies playing on iMac

Discussion in 'iMac' started by jtgotsjets, May 21, 2009.

  1. jtgotsjets macrumors 6502


    May 20, 2004
    Lawrence, KS
    Ok, I know there are tons of threads on various ways to get one's iMac playing hi-def movies, but the purpose of this thread is to sort out which way is best. I'm getting an iMac soon and want to be ready.

    The way I see it, I basically have three options (only two of which I know to work for sure).

    1. Get external blu-ray drive, buy a copy of windows, buy the windows BD software (powerdvd or whatever). I think I can get a BD-ROM for like $150 or so, what is the cheapest option for purchasing windows? Powerdvd?
    Pros- plays right off disk, will have windows and all the extras that it entails (gaming, etc... I would to get down on some half-life again).
    Cons- buying all the software seems expensive, less than elegant process everytime I watch something

    2. Buy an external BD drive, rip the disks to my harddrive, play in plex.
    Pros- all native, uses plex (which I plan to use anyway), least to buy, no disks to deal with once everything is ripped
    Cons- ripping and encoding take lots of time, storage becomes an issue

    3- (don't know if this works) buy an eyetv and a blu-ray player (not drive) and use my iMac like a tv.
    Pros- get added benefits of eyetv (I am more of a tv watcher than movies), setup would work if I ever upgrade to an HDTV, as elegant as watching on a tv
    Cons- might not work? Not integrated with computer, on expensive side

    So what do you guys think, keeping in mind that I'm a tv guy, not a movie guy.
  2. jmpage2 macrumors 68040


    Sep 14, 2007
    Eye-TV won't pass 1080P resolution that I'm aware of so you will be losing resolution and quality if you go that route.

    Your best option might be to purchase a copy of Slysoft's DVD Anywhere/HD edition and rip the Blu-Ray movies to H.264 audio/video, then store them on a hard disk or network drive that is accessible to the Mac (note that you will need gigabit ethernet to reliably stream 1080P content).

    You might be able to rip the movies (not play them) under Parallels or VMWare.
  3. mstam macrumors member

    Apr 20, 2009
    x264 plays back fine on the Mac. Mac only has issues w/ HDCP protected content.
  4. Spanky Deluxe macrumors 601

    Spanky Deluxe

    Mar 17, 2005
    London, UK

    The only one that works here is option 1. As far as I know, PLEX can't play Blurays and the only way to rip Bluray disks is currently Windows only using Slysoft AnyDVD etc (look in the AppleTV forum for the guides).
    You can also use the Windows ripping technique with a PS3 although its time consuming.
  5. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Feb 12, 2007
    Neander Valley, Germany; just outside Duesseldorf
    It seems that OP stated "rip" the BR disc in (2) that's implying AnyDVD HD (since it's the only one out there). Those rips, of course, will play in Plex just fine (usually).
  6. Spanky Deluxe macrumors 601

    Spanky Deluxe

    Mar 17, 2005
    London, UK
    I don't think he realises that he has to use Windows to do that though, since he lists the ripping method as an alternative to the expensive method of buying Windows and playing software. Its not really cheaper if you still have to buy Windows and AnyDVD.

    BTW thanks for your guide Cave Man, I used my PS3 to rip a Bluray disk just last week and then used your guide in the conversion. Handbrake didn't encode the file right but I was trying for 1080p and think I messed it up somehow, will go back and try it again soon. Truth be told, my main reason for ripping the bluray was just to get some screen grabs for use as backgrounds (film was Star Trek and yes, I'm a geek - high definition stills of the Enterprise were what I was after).

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