Importing Blu-ray discs and playing

MrSmith

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Nov 27, 2003
3,038
13
I live in Japan (NTSC, Blu-ray Region A) and want to buy Blu-ray discs from England (PAL, Blu-ray Region B). I know I wouldn’t be able to play them in my standalone here, but can I buy a (any?) USB BR disc drive here, plug it into my Mac, and play those Blu-ray discs in the drive on my HDTV via AppleTV? Would the NTSC/PAL format mean anything? If I can, would there be any stutter with my 2012 Macbook Pro and AppleTV3? Thanks to anyone with experience who can advise.
 

salohcin

macrumors member
Jun 5, 2008
91
21
I don't know much about playing Blu-rays from other regions (I don't have Blu-ray playing software on my Mac), but I have converted them into MKVs before. I used MakeMKV to convert Region B Blu-rays, and once they were MKVs they played just fine.

I then would encode them with Handbrake to reduce the size and turn them into an iTunes friendly format and stream them to my Apple TV 3. I'm not sure if this helps you at all since it can be a tedious process compared to just popping a disc in and playing it right away.
 

Julien

macrumors G4
Jun 30, 2007
11,140
3,829
Atlanta
I live in Japan (NTSC, Blu-ray Region A) and want to buy Blu-ray discs from England (PAL, Blu-ray Region B). I know I wouldn’t be able to play them in my standalone here, but can I buy a (any?) USB BR disc drive here, plug it into my Mac, and play those Blu-ray discs in the drive on my HDTV via AppleTV? Would the NTSC/PAL format mean anything? If I can, would there be any stutter with my 2012 Macbook Pro and AppleTV3? Thanks to anyone with experience who can advise.
BD region coding is about copy protection. PAL/NTSC are SD (standard video/DVD) terms and don't apply to a BD.
 

QWERTYMac7

macrumors regular
Nov 20, 2012
157
11
I don't know much about playing Blu-rays from other regions (I don't have Blu-ray playing software on my Mac), but I have converted them into MKVs before. I used MakeMKV to convert Region B Blu-rays, and once they were MKVs they played just fine.

I then would encode them with Handbrake to reduce the size and turn them into an iTunes friendly format and stream them to my Apple TV 3. I'm not sure if this helps you at all since it can be a tedious process compared to just popping a disc in and playing it right away.
+1 - This is what I do with DVD's from Europe. Works great!
 

AFEPPL

macrumors 68030
Sep 30, 2014
2,646
1,564
England
Why not just use something like Leawoo BR ripper - its a simple one step process then rather than a rip to remove copy protection and a recoding with handbrake?

I'd used it for all my BRs and DVD and works fine.
I did use a two step process for my old HDDVD library - but that was because Leawoo ripper doesnt support HDDVD.
 

westrock2000

macrumors 6502a
Oct 18, 2013
524
22
If you are on Windows, we have Slysoft's AnyDVD HD which decrypts the disk in the optical bay. This allows you to either watch it as a fully unlocked disc, or you can use Handbrake or other programs to rip the moving directly from the optical drive.

It's a great piece of software. I used it in "trial mode" for a couple years, but it has brought so much joy to my hobby that I finally decided to pay the money for the updates. Between this and MetaX, these are 2 of the most used pieces of software I have ever bought.

Also, they are very good about the Bluray updates. With the paid "subscription", I have been able to rip movies the day they come out (ones I by from the store).
 

MrSmith

macrumors 68040
Original poster
Nov 27, 2003
3,038
13
I don't know much about playing Blu-rays from other regions (I don't have Blu-ray playing software on my Mac), but I have converted them into MKVs before. I used MakeMKV to convert Region B Blu-rays, and once they were MKVs they played just fine.

I then would encode them with Handbrake to reduce the size and turn them into an iTunes friendly format and stream them to my Apple TV 3. I'm not sure if this helps you at all since it can be a tedious process compared to just popping a disc in and playing it right away.
By reducing the size you're reducing the quality. But isn't that the point of Blu-rays?
 

WaveLogic

macrumors newbie
Mar 1, 2015
1
0
Hi As others already advised the best option is MakeMKV.
This will allow you to strip the copy protection and repack the Video and Audio stream into an MKV container. Make MKV can leave the original bitrate intact but check as many users have reported issues with bitrates over 22Mbps. As Apple TV cannot play MKV natively you will need to either use Handbrake to convert it to an MP4 or use an paid app like Beamer to play it on your apple TV. And just a Note how weird it might sound but it is actually illegal to make copies of Blu Ray for personal use. Other than with DVD and CD the MPAA has a different license structure inlace that does not allow to make backup copies for personal use even if you own the disc. This is a pain in the ass and only companies like kaleidescape have found workarrounds for this. Many newer BD's feature the option to download a UltraViolet copy, what may be an option in your case.
 

westrock2000

macrumors 6502a
Oct 18, 2013
524
22
By reducing the size you're reducing the quality. But isn't that the point of Blu-rays?
Perceptible quality. That's the important part. There is a point where more quality does nothing for the eyes, and only satisfies the mind.

My recommendation, and this is for anyone, would be to make a couple versions of a movie. And then have someone give them unique names and keep it a secret. Then try and watch (or listen) and see if you can tell which one is "superior".

I used to be hugely against MP3 compression until I did this, and I was shocked at the findings. This changed my opinion to being open about compression. Apparently those guys that study mathematics for a living know more about this stuff then *I thought* I do :eek:
 

Harrychoen

macrumors newbie
Dec 24, 2014
2
0
Undoubtedly, it's very possible to lose the quality of sounds and pics stored in the Blu-ray Disc if you choose to convert, so the best solution is to play directly. As for the software tool, you can check some players on Macupdate.
 

cynics

macrumors G4
Jan 8, 2012
11,306
1,696
By reducing the size you're reducing the quality. But isn't that the point of Blu-rays?
Too an extent. Firstly you can reduce the size by dropping the extra weight. Multiple languages, multiple subtitles, extras, commentary, etc.

Secondly, don't confuse compression with a noticeable lose in quality. Its there but depending on how its encoded there is a high chance you could not tell even side by side. Are you happy with streaming/downloadable content (iTunes etc)? If so you can do at least as well as that if not much better.

Third, how much quality do you need before the file size has diminishing returns? Are you displaying the media on a 150" screen or a 55" HDTV. Your average size HDTV is a lot more forgiving when it comes to quality.

Also depends on the media you are encoding. Do you need the same quality for some goofy slap stick comedy as you want for some beautiful movie filled with special fx?

There are the purest out there that want every bit of quality possible but for your average/enthusiast movie watcher its not required.

I'll catch some flak for this but I encode at 720p without enough of a quality lose to be noticeable to an average viewer. I end up with very manageable mp4's ranging from 2-6gb. You'll need to play with Handbrake (or similar program) for a while to find what works best for you.
 

JAT

macrumors 603
Dec 31, 2001
6,451
122
Mpls, MN
This is all quite a bit of work when you can just buy a region-free player, or a 2nd player. Unless ripping is your plan, anyway.
 

westrock2000

macrumors 6502a
Oct 18, 2013
524
22
This is all quite a bit of work when you can just buy a region-free player, or a 2nd player. Unless ripping is your plan, anyway.
No doubt, it is some work. But every time I play a movie "from disc" I am reminded how much I like having every thing cleaned up and centralized :cool:
 

rhett7660

macrumors G5
Jan 9, 2008
12,229
2,248
Sunny, Southern California
This is all quite a bit of work when you can just buy a region-free player, or a 2nd player. Unless ripping is your plan, anyway.
No doubt, it is some work. But every time I play a movie "from disc" I am reminded how much I like having every thing cleaned up and centralized :cool:
You and me both, being able to switch from movie to movie without changing a disc or waiting for the disc to load!

Very convenient!