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How to watch Blu-rays on macOS?

miretogo

macrumors regular
Original poster
Aug 19, 2014
123
131
Hello everyone,

I bought an external USB Blu-ray drive with the aim of watching Blu-rays on my iMac. To my surprise, I couldn't just play them. I was even more surprised when I didn't find free software that could play them. Since I also use Windows on the iMac via Boot Camp, I thought I could just use Windows to watch Blu-rays. But it seems the same applies here. Both on macOS the only option to watch Blu-rays seems to be buying relatively expensive (50+ EUR) software.

So far, I tried both "Leowo Blu-ray Player" and Elmedia Player on macOS and both seemed buggy and couldn't even play several Blu-rays.

I also thought about buying the type of external Blu-ray player that people usually connect to their TVs but since the iMac has no video input, that is also no solution.

Therefore, the best option seems to be to evaluate which is the best of the 50+ EUR Blu-ray apps and buy that one.

Do you have any other ideas? How do you watch Blu-rays on your Mac?
 

miretogo

macrumors regular
Original poster
Aug 19, 2014
123
131
After researching some more, I have found the following solutions:
* Buy best "premium" Blu-ray software
* Rip Blu-rays (since I own the originals and only want to use the files myself it should be legal)
* Buy ordinary external Blu-ray player and connect it to monitor or TV (but then I couldn't use the iMac display)
* Use DVDs instead

PS: I also tried the Blu-ray app "PowerDVD" in the meantime but it demands a registration which I find dubious and won't do.
 
Last edited:

miretogo

macrumors regular
Original poster
Aug 19, 2014
123
131
I tried using VLC with the additional files but it didn't work. I read online that others had a similar experience.
 

miretogo

macrumors regular
Original poster
Aug 19, 2014
123
131
@kohlson: The problem with streaming services is that they are severely limited content-wise. Most films, especially older classics, are not available there. Fore example, Netflix has currently not one (!) film by Hitchcock or Sergio Leone in its library (at least not in Germany) - but a lot of "modern" trash. Or, as an iTunes user in Germany, I can buy or rent several Hitchcock films but, for whatever reason, not with English audio. Thus, DVD or Blu-ray seems to be the way to go, at least for me.
 

kohlson

macrumors 68020
Apr 23, 2010
2,421
723
Apple has only ever announced they would not be supporting Blu-Ray. Haven't ever seen anything that says that they would support Blu-Ray.

There's a lot that needs to happen for a platform to support Blu-Ray. DRM, copy protection, video interface controls (to prevent screen-scraping, for example), and so on. This may be way there are few, if any, apps that support Blu-Ray on Mac.
 
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ftaok

macrumors 603
Jan 23, 2002
6,222
1,251
East Coast
I've used the Leowo Bluray Player app and it worked fine. I have a 2013 MBA, so not great specs, but certainly good enough for playing BD movies.

Now a days, I just rip the BluRay using MakeMKV and play the file using VLC. It's easier ... admittedly not as easy as it really should be, but I've no interest banging my head anymore. Besides, dealing with MKV files on a NAS makes placeshifting my content so much easier.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors Core
Feb 20, 2009
20,506
7,280
Try "Free Mac Blu-Ray Player"
It runs in "free mode" and puts a -small- logo in the upper-left-hand corner.

You can pay to get rid of the logo (I don't have many BD discs, so I just run it in free mode).

You can also convert the disc into an mkv file and play that. The mkv files are huge, however, so you'll want to delete them after playing.
 
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Jar Jar Abrams

macrumors member
Feb 4, 2018
67
46
I second makeMKV, been using it for over a decade and it’s fantastic and it’s a 1:1 copy of the blu-ray lossless and wrapped in an mkv container, big file sizes though but if you’re just ripping to watch and erase afterwards then good bet, for longtime storage you’ll maybe want to encode to a snaller size want use handbrake to compress to mp4
 
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esatamacmodular

macrumors member
Nov 27, 2014
81
33
mac bluray player worked well for me in 10.10 but not in MacOS. i like the idea of makeMKV. About how long does that take? If I rip it to my server is the bandwidth too low to watch over ethernet?
 

jzuena

macrumors 65816
Feb 21, 2007
1,067
103
I got VLC with the added files to work in Mojave. Granted, my test BD is The Terminator, which is very old so its decryption key is probably well-known. I'm still glad to see VLC working, since my original tested method is the Leowo app and that is't 64-bit. When I pull the trigger on Catalina that app will be useless, so I might just delete it now.
 
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OldTXSpook

macrumors newbie
Jul 12, 2015
3
1
Hello everyone,

I bought an external USB Blu-ray drive with the aim of watching Blu-rays on my iMac. To my surprise, I couldn't just play them. I was even more surprised when I didn't find free software that could play them. Since I also use Windows on the iMac via Boot Camp, I thought I could just use Windows to watch Blu-rays. But it seems the same applies here. Both on macOS the only option to watch Blu-rays seems to be buying relatively expensive (50+ EUR) software.

So far, I tried both "Leowo Blu-ray Player" and Elmedia Player on macOS and both seemed buggy and couldn't even play several Blu-rays.

I also thought about buying the type of external Blu-ray player that people usually connect to their TVs but since the iMac has no video input, that is also no solution.

Therefore, the best option seems to be to evaluate which is the best of the 50+ EUR Blu-ray apps and buy that one.

Do you have any other ideas? How do you watch Blu-rays on your Mac?
There are three elements needed to successfully negotiate Blu-ray on a Mac. First, you'll need an external drive. An OWC Mercury Pro enclosure with an LG WH16NS40 Blu-ray drive is an excellent choice. Next, you need to decide if you want to place your films on a hard drive. If not, then you only need software. Blu-ray Player Pro works well, but cannot play 4K disks. DVDFab Player 5 is a better option if you want to play 4K and/or ripped disks. If you want the convenience of your Blu-rays on a hard drive, then there are multiple considerations. First, your drive is hobbled by firmware when you receive it. Instructions for flashing the drive back to it's original state can be found on the MKV Forum site. You can also send your drive to someone to have it flashed or purchase a drive from them that is already flashed. Again, all of this info is available on the MKV site. MKV is your best option for ripping your Blu-rays. They will typically take about 20-minutes and produce a 40MB MKV file. Blu-ray Player Pro will play some, but not all, ripped disks. Again, DVDFab Player 5 is the better option. So, if you're going to buck Steve Jobs' contention that the Blu-ray Disc Association is just another name for Mafia, then you're going to need to devote some time, effort and a chunk of change. Good luck!
 

loby

macrumors 65816
Jul 1, 2010
1,065
713
"bag of hurt" to Jobs was because he didn't want to pay the license fees for the technology like he charged himself...especially his desire for the itunes store, future streaming ambitions.., and his war at the time with Sony...

iDVD at the time was an awesome app. So many things it could do, but looked like a simple software on the surface. Too bad there was not a blu-ray option.... :(

Leowo blu-ray player (paid version) will convert blu-ray to a file and I have not personally had any issues with it. Issues might have to do with making sure your external blu-ray player is compatible. Play's well, just the disadvantage is that you have to install Java to have controls.

Most external blu-ray players will work with macs now, just read first to make sure whatever is compatible.

If you do not mind having physical discs to deal with, don't hassle with VLC and other ripping software, that is more of a "bag of hurt" at times figuring out how to make it work. VLC is Good software if you want to figure out all of the ins -and-outs though...but Not a need. blu-rays look great on the iMac, especially with the nice retina type screen. discs are still ok, it is really just personal preference.

The advantage at times over ripping and streaming is sometimes blu-rays audio is better and also not having to hassle with internet, providers, locating where the files are etc., but just pop in the disk and hit play on your software. Some may experience the clucking of the external drive noise.., but once the blu-ray plays the movie, the clucking should go away.

Can't always get "free" software, so pay once and enjoy playing your blu-rays for years to come!
 

phrehdd

macrumors 68040
Oct 25, 2008
3,370
762
MKV can operate in a few ways - I really suggest you venture over to that site and check the forums. I believe there is a way with that software and possibly VLC to watch it without creating any file (I recall that from awhile ago though never tried it). Some people make an MKV file of the movie and some prefer to back up the entire movie with all of its goodies and use software that can read it all.

I have many blu ray movies that I archive. I usually just have the movie with best audio, the video and if need be a subtitle. The subtitle could be for a film that is entirely in another language and I want English subtitles or - the film is in English yet a small portion will be in another language. The latter is just a subset of en entire English subtitle and is often referred to as the "forced subtitle" as you wont play the entire subtitle but just this subset. Alternatively the "forced subtitle" might be listed as its own subtitle and separate. Again, best to look at the MKV site.

Last 2 items - blu ray and blu ray uhd (4k) discs are not that different but different enough that only specific blu ray reader or read/write units will work with them for use with MKV. The two popular models are listed over there and also the correct firmware. The other item, please make sure you own* the discs you intend to archive.
 

badawat

macrumors member
Oct 18, 2013
32
14
There are three elements needed to successfully negotiate Blu-ray on a Mac. First, you'll need an external drive. An OWC Mercury Pro enclosure with an LG WH16NS40 Blu-ray drive is an excellent choice. Next, you need to decide if you want to place your films on a hard drive. If not, then you only need software. Blu-ray Player Pro works well, but cannot play 4K disks. DVDFab Player 5 is a better option if you want to play 4K and/or ripped disks. If you want the convenience of your Blu-rays on a hard drive, then there are multiple considerations. First, your drive is hobbled by firmware when you receive it. Instructions for flashing the drive back to it's original state can be found on the MKV Forum site. You can also send your drive to someone to have it flashed or purchase a drive from them that is already flashed. Again, all of this info is available on the MKV site. MKV is your best option for ripping your Blu-rays. They will typically take about 20-minutes and produce a 40MB MKV file. Blu-ray Player Pro will play some, but not all, ripped disks. Again, DVDFab Player 5 is the better option. So, if you're going to buck Steve Jobs' contention that the Blu-ray Disc Association is just another name for Mafia, then you're going to need to devote some time, effort and a chunk of change. Good luck!
OldTXSpook, when you say play 4k via DVDFab Player 5, do you mean playback from the disk to watch in realtime like an ordinary BluRay or just playing back a ripped copy on a mac? I've been searching for a way to play 4K movies on my mac without having to rip them for quite some time and can only playback HD Blurays but it would be great to play 4K Blurays too. Thanks
 

jmerrilljr

macrumors newbie
Nov 25, 2012
19
1
Download MakeMkv. Google it. 30 days free. External BR drives on a Mac can READ the discs but not play them. This software will rip the discs into .mkv files. They are large, 25 gig or so but can be compressed in Handbrake. Works very well.
 
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Malarkey

macrumors member
Aug 17, 2007
45
27
It's astonishing and annoying how difficult and confusing Blu-ray software is to find for the Mac. A few years ago I purchased an LG WH16NS40 Blu-ray read/write drive from OWC.

It took me a long time to find software that worked, but I finally settled on the following:

For watching Blu-rays, Macgo Blu-ray Player Pro by Aurora.
http://www.bluray-player-software.com/features.htm

This was previously/alternately branded as Aurora Blue Ray Player, and at some point became Macgo. That’s the confusing thing about a lot of this Blu-ray software—the brand names and software sellers often change the names of the product. And/or the same software might be licensed under different brands.

It cost me $55 for a supposedly lifetime registration. We’ll see how that works out. It’s either that much or you have to pay a yearly fee.

I tried a few other applications and they were all either poorly designed or the licensing was too convoluted.

For converting Blu-ray discs, I use Tipard Blu-ray Converter.
https://www.tipard.com/purchase/blu-ray-converter-for-mac.html

About the same thing with the pricing. I’d rather bite the bullet and forget about it.

The Tipard software allows me to rip the discs and convert to a wide variety of formats, including 3D. My goal has been to convert 3D Blu-rays for use on the Oculus Go or the Nintendo 3DS (that’s a work in progress). I tried a few other similar applications, but they all looked like they were designed in about 2003.

And then for writing my own Blu-rays for storage or movies, I was using Toast Titanium 11. I had to buy their Blu-ray plug-in add-on for that (I think it was less than $10 at the time). Not super-easy or convenient, but it did the trick. Toast has come out with many versions since then, and I don’t know what it’s up to now, or what the newer features are. Toast 11 still works for me in Mojave.

I have a feeling all this would break in Catalina. Sticking with Mojave for as long as I can hold out!

And then I use HandBrake as well for some things. Mostly converting big movies files to iPad-compatible files.
 
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loby

macrumors 65816
Jul 1, 2010
1,065
713
Not a big market for player or ripping software for Mac Anymore, so we will get older looking interfaces with software just updated (hopefully) to work with the new OS. Bluray still has a market (though apple and others try still to kill it). Still a market in players (non computers) to hook up to TV etc.

Toast (Corel) has come out with barely anything concerning their DVD-Bluray software over the last years and they are to date up to version 18 (I have). Version 17 and 18 is buggy as they attempted to go with all 64-bit and a slightly new interface. I still go back to Toast 11 to do most of my work. Toast 11 is solid with literally no issues. Use it on OS X Yosemite and El Capitan still. I guess technically it should work with Mojave being it is the last to house 32-bit code (though not all 32-bit apps work).

I have been very disappointed with Corel (was a heavy user way back...), as it use to be one of the go-to companies for Graphics back in the day...but with all of the owner and employee turn-overs, they do nothing but put out the same software with minor or really no program Upgrades (just barely adjustments for compatibility) and sell the same offering. Even the interface of their software still looks like the early 90’s. Probably any coders who know the apps are gone, so whomever is their coder now probably does not know what they are looking at and just adjust or add coding for compatibility and sell the same app over and over....

They had great programs in the day...but dropped the ball years ago. Going to the subscription model put the nail in the coffin for many, especially with pathetic upgrades...and the high costs for their suite (combined) apps is a joke now. Don’t care for Adobe anymore as they have chanced too over the years. Other apps out their are good, but Adobe got the industry some years ago, so sometimes a must to play.
 

Canubis

macrumors 6502
Oct 22, 2008
254
220
Vienna, Austria
I've been using Macgo's Mac Blu-ray Player to watch Blu-rays for several years with my classic Mac Pro. Just popped in an LG Blu-ray burner/reader and all worked very nicely.

In the beginning (i.e. many years ago) Macgo's software had only rudimentary (and super buggy) support for Blu-ray menus but all the main movies played fine. Nowadays even complex menus worked pretty smoothly for me. So can fully recommend this.

You can also get it from the App Store, but would suggest to give the free trial from their website a try:
https://www.macblurayplayer.com/index.htm
https://apps.apple.com/us/app/macgo-blu-ray-player-pro/id1403952861?mt=12
 
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