Ready to go Blu-Ray. Anything I should be aware of?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by StephenCampbell, Aug 14, 2012.

  1. StephenCampbell macrumors 65816

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    Sep 21, 2009
    #1
    I'm sick of waiting for Apple to officially support Blu-Ray playback, so I'm going to get the Mac Blu-Ray Player application, and a Blu-Ray optical drive from OWC.

    Are there any notable differences between the Pioneer and LG drives that OWC offers?

    Anything else I should know before I go forward with this?

    Thanks!
     
  2. ibarnett macrumors regular

    ibarnett

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    Location:
    Gold Coast, Australia
    #2
    Some big hassles, particularly if added as a 2nd drive.
    Do a google search, I have done but no solutions.
    Sometimes works, sometimes not.
    I have tried both Pioneer & LG.
    Boots up with both drives showing, then after some time one or both drives "disappear". If not showing eject does not work.
    May reappear on next boot, at 1st I thought the connectors may have been loose or bumped when replacing the drive caddy.
    There have been several "fixes" suggested.
    i.e. In System Preferences, untick "put disks to sleep when possible".
    With the LG drives, they "search" for disks every few minutes (audible noise), leaving a disk in the drive cures this!
    I now have my original apple optical drive plus Pioneer BDR-207, after several boots, seems to have settled down. However never sure unless you go to"about this Mac" to see if drives are still there - or try the eject key.
    Mac Blu Ray player works OK when drive is visible.
    Good Luck!
     
  3. StephenCampbell thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #3
    Thanks. Does anyone know if an external drive is better, and if there is one that is quiet?
     
  4. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

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    #4
    I have the LG internally. It never disappears.

    I've never heard of "Mac Blu-Ray Player application", unless you mean that weird paid software that requires an Internet connection to play BDs.

    My personal method to play BDs in both Windows and OS X is to stream from MakeMKV to VLC. Both free applications.
     
  5. StephenCampbell thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #5
    Which LG do you have? There seem to be several on OWC.
     
  6. goMac macrumors 603

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    #6
    Bluray on Mac has never been very good. Is there a reason why you're specifically looking at Bluray? I've actually found iTunes 1080p content to be just as good. The surround audio isn't quite as good as Blurays, but if you're not using a surround sound system on your Mac Pro, that's not an issue.

    (For reference, I have Bluray on my home theater and have started to prefer the iTunes 1080p content, both due to portability and convenience.)
     
  7. arbroathsmokie macrumors newbie

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    Darlington
    #7
    I've upgraded my Blu-Ray drive to LG BH10LS38 since I moved to OS 10.8, I did have a Pioneer BDR-206 but it started the disappearing trick as described above after upgrading to Mountain Lion, but it did work without any issues with OS 10.7.
     
  8. StephenCampbell thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #8
    I own most of my favorite films on DVD, and now most of them are available on Blu-Ray. I want to upgrade my collection. There is a newer format and I should be able to use it and have all these films on my shelf in 1080p. Not nearly as many of them are on iTunes yet, and that would take a few terabytes of space to store them all anyway. I'm quite conservative in terms of my liking of physical medias.

    Given that I'm upgrading my machine next year, would it make more sense to just get an external drive for now? Is there an advantage to it being internal?
     
  9. scottsjack macrumors 68000

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    Arizona
    #9
    Blu-Ray has worked well on my MP 5,1. I've got a non-disappearing LG unit from OWC. BR plays fine on Windows 7 using various software.

    Some of the movies I've purchased have never been played from their discs. I use makeMKV to make an MKV version with the sound options I want and then use Handbrake to make space-friendly m4v version. Both Windows and Mac versions of makeMKV and Handbrake work equally well.

    Now if there was just a reliable OS X decoder. . .
     
  10. StephenCampbell thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #10
    Well I'm planning to just use Mac OS X and the Mac Blu-Ray Player for now, assuming that it works.

    Again, which LG drive exactly are we talking about here? There are several on OWC.

    Also, will I need to upgrade from my x1900xt video card?
     
  11. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

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    Sep 21, 2010
    #11
    I have the LG WH12LS30. It is not from OWC.

    The method I use in both Windows and OS X has worked for every BD I've tried. It is a bit clunky to get things started, but it is reliable. Most people think MakeMKV is only for ripping, but you can actually play discs too.

    Install MakeMKV and VLC software. MakeMKV is free while it is in beta. VLC is free.

    Open the disc in MakeMKV. Select the largest chapter; that is the movie. Click the stream button. MakeMKV will give you a URL.

    In VLC, use "open a network stream" or something like that. Enter the URL.

    Voila, movie plays and you have full controls.

    It's a pretty slow process the first couple of times but once you are used to it, it only takes a minute. As a bonus it skips all the commercials and whatnot, so it's actually faster to start the movie than a set top BD player.

    You can also skip having VLC and the steps involving copy/paste of the URL. If you click directly on the link that MakeMKV offers, Safari will open and play the movie. Go into full screen mode. The only drawback is lack of controls.
     
  12. StephenCampbell thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #12
    If Mac Blu-Ray Player works, I see no reason not to use that. I'm looking for the solution that will most closely emulate native Mac support... not the cheapest solution.

    Any more feedback would be greatly appreciated! I want to get the best drive possible.
     
  13. edoates macrumors 6502

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    May 22, 2006
    #13
    I have the LG HL-DT-ST BD-RE WH14NS40 (from my Mac Pro system report) from MacSales (OWC), aka
    Quantity: 1 LGEWH14NS40, $97.99 each
    LG 14X Blu-ray Burner + Super-MultiDrive DVD/DVD DL/CDRW Reader & Writer

    It works fine in ML, does not "disappear," nor click every few minutes as some have reported. I had purchased a Pioneer BDR-207, but it would hang my OSX 10.7 system when it went to sleep, after I used Toast, etc. I don't recommend that one.

    I got the demo BluRay player: MacGo Mac Blu-Ray Player (www.macblurayplayer.com), and it works well enough, though the decoding of commercial BRD is a bit blocky (maybe interlacing artifacts, who knows, but the same BRDs work great in my Pioneer BDP-05FD and Playstation 3. But what you don't get is all the clever BluRay menus, pop ups, etc. Not even the chapter names. So it's OK to see if what you've burned in Toast look adequate, but it is NOT a regulation BluRay player that you might expect. I don't think such a beast exists for Mac.
     
  14. StephenCampbell thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #14
    What do you mean decoding is blocky? What does that look like? If this doesn't work then I can't invest all this money in it...
     
  15. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

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    Sep 21, 2010
    #15
    Fair enough, but MakeMKV/VLC are very reliable. The review I've read for Mac Blu-Ray Player is terrible:

    "The video itself looked fine when it played properly, but it stopped and started constantly, and often displayed with huge, ugly artifacts. And at times, the app would freeze completely and require a force quit."

    Strangely, it also requires an Internet connection to play local media on a local computer. Ok, the Mac Pro isn't portable so you probably always have Internet, but will that company be around next year to ensure ongoing service? Next month? Tomorrow?

    I just want to warn you. Do whatever you want.
     
  16. Nermal Moderator

    Nermal

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    #16
    I haven't run into any "blockiness" with it. I've come across one title that doesn't play (Dollhouse S1) and have raised this with the developers (just last week so they haven't had a chance to fix it yet, but they've been helpful).

    Edit: The review linked above is more than a year old. I tried it when it first came out and it was pretty bad then, but it's improved by leaps and bounds since.
     
  17. StephenCampbell, Aug 14, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2012

    StephenCampbell thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #17
    Okay, I mean, I like VLC.. so I guess that sounds like a viable option as well.

    I just tried doing the MakeMKV -> VLC stream thing as you described with a DVD, and it did not work at all...

    edit: Doesn't VLC play Blu-Ray directly now?
     
  18. goMac macrumors 603

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    #18
    Apple currently lets you store them or stream, which means you don't have to worry about downloading them.

    If this were a home theater we're talking about, it would be one thing, but Mac Bluray support is still pretty abysmal. I'm don't think any Mac Bluray players even support menus yet. You're still going to have a subpar experience.

    Any reason you're trying to watch these on a Mac Pro instead of a TV?

    Edit: Man, does Mac Bluray Player look risky. Their page seems like a barely readable automated English translation.
     
  19. StephenCampbell thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #19
    I don't have a TV, I have no use for one. I love my Apple Cinema Display and my Logitech Z-2300 speakers.

    Most of my films have been upgraded to a new format at six times the resolution, and I want to upgrade. This is really simple. The technology is supposed to be there to serve us. This is actually quite frustrating.

    I may not go with Mac Blu-Ray Player. If this MakeMKV/VLC thing works, I'll probably end up going with that.

    And, even if there isn't a workable solution right now, I am still going to upgrade my collection, because at Some point I am going to be able to play Blu-Rays.
     
  20. ibarnett macrumors regular

    ibarnett

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    Gold Coast, Australia
    #20
    Further info in response to PM:
    Yes, I have tried both bays.
    Initially I had 2 LG's (BH10LS30) as drive A & B.
    Worked OK - but annoying seek sound every few minutes. Leaving a disc in each drive stopped that, but inconvenient.
    Then I pulled the Pioneer from a PC & tried that as the B drive. I had the trouble I wrote of, but now has settled down OK. Resumed from sleep this morning with all drives OK. I do have the "put HDD's to sleep when able" unticked in energy saver, system preferences.
    I had tried 2 Pioneers but had the "drive disappear" problem plus the Mac Pro wouldn't sleep.
    So I will leave as is for a while to see how it goes.
    BTW I have had the "unable to sleep" problem for some time, but troubleshooted it to a USB plugged in from my UPS, once that was removed it would sleep OK.
    I have had the machine now for 3 weeks, have 2 512gb M4's plus 2 2TB HDDs.
    The only unresolved issue I have now is the shutdown time, over 1 minute. Being the 1st Mac Pro I have owned, I am not sure if that is normal? (Using sleep allays that problem).
    Probably an overkill, but have 24gb of Crucial ram (was a good deal at the time). I bought as a runout, even with the original ram shutdown is still slow.
    I'm comparing that to my previous, an iMac with SSD.
    Hope that all helps, do you have any input on the shutdown time??

    Blu-Ray player has been OK for me:
    http://www.macblurayplayer.com/index.htm
     
  21. goMac macrumors 603

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    #21
    Sure, but what I'm saying is it doesn't sound like you have the technology to take advantage of Bluray. You don't have a large TV, and you don't have surround speakers. At least for sound, a Bluray is going to sound exactly the same as a DVD because you're going to end up with the exact same 2.1 mix-down.

    But to each their own. I'm just saying, this seems like an awful lot of work for not much gain. Blurays are really targeted for 40 inch or larger displays, with 5.1 sound. Not stereo speakers.
     
  22. StephenCampbell thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #22
    Blu-Ray looks significantly clearer on my Cinema Display than DVD. 1080p is becoming the standard film resolution size, and I want my film collection to be part of that.

    I just called OWC, and the guy told me that Toast 11 can play Blu-Ray movies very well... is this true?
     
  23. Nermal Moderator

    Nermal

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    #23
    I don't see it mentioned on the Toast site and haven't heard anyone else say that.
     
  24. ActionableMango macrumors 604

    ActionableMango

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    #24
    It works perfectly for me with every BD I've ever tried. Picture and sound are great, no blocking or artifacts. Did you follow the steps I laid out? Did any of them not work or seem out of place? Did you pick the largest title to play? You can Google for MakeMKV blu-ray streaming to find instructions with screen shots.

    I've never tried DVD because I'd just use Apple's DVD Player.

    I've never heard of that either. I would really surprised if it played commercial BDs. OS X doesn't have the protected media path that makes all the DRM people happy with Windows BD playback.
     
  25. StephenCampbell, Aug 14, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2012

    StephenCampbell thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #25
    Can you give me a link to such instructions with screenshots? I've googled all over the place and can't find any.

    I brought up the disk in MakeMKV, and there were three titles that were all 6.6GB each, so I just selected the first of them, and clicked stream.. and it gave me a weird URL thing, which I put into VLC under "open network" and nothing happened... the url just sat there in a playlist in VLC and no video window came up.

    Edit: Nevermind, I found an instruction page.
     

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