How to watch Blu-rays on macOS?

miretogo

macrumors member
Original poster
Aug 19, 2014
69
12
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 member
Original poster
Aug 19, 2014
69
12
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:

larrylaffer

macrumors 6502a
Aug 1, 2009
549
533
Los Angeles
VLC can play Blu-Ray discs if you get some additional files to decrypt them. I won't share any links here, but Googling "VLC blu-ray playback" should get you the results you want.
 
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miretogo

macrumors member
Original poster
Aug 19, 2014
69
12
I tried using VLC with the additional files but it didn't work. I read online that others had a similar experience.
 

miretogo

macrumors member
Original poster
Aug 19, 2014
69
12
@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
2,029
548
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.
 
Last edited:

ftaok

macrumors 603
Jan 23, 2002
6,146
1,165
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.
 
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Erehy Dobon

macrumors regular
Feb 16, 2018
206
147
Like ftaok, I rip the Blu-ray disc and play the resultant file instead.

After using third-party Blu-ray player software successfully, I decided that I no longer wanted to hear my cheap external Blu-ray drive's rattling, coughing, and wheezing through a 2-hour movie playback. It's not a good experience.

The standalone Blu-ray player connected to my TV is far quieter, I'm still okay with that one.

These days, I will transcode the MKV to something that is more compatible with the devices I take with me when I travel (e.g., iPad). I really don't want to haul around 30 GB files.

Steve was 100% right when he called Blu-ray a "big bag of hurt."
 

Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
17,425
5,647
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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phrehdd

macrumors 68040
Oct 25, 2008
3,268
725
I suggest you go to MakeMKV forums and request info in their MacOS threads.
 

Jar Jar Abrams

macrumors member
Feb 4, 2018
33
12
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
 

esatamacmodular

macrumors member
Nov 27, 2014
72
27
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
1,012
43
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
2
0
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 6502a
Jul 1, 2010
853
608
"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!
 
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phrehdd

macrumors 68040
Oct 25, 2008
3,268
725
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.