How to Play a Blu Ray on a Computer

by Marty Simmons

Blu Ray offers unparalleled visual quality for movies but you need a special optical drive to read any Blu-Ray disc. Drives are available for laptops and desktops using Sony's new format. The catch is, they come with a high price compared to ubiquitous DVD drives. Even if you have a Blu-Ray drive already, standard video players like Media Player 12 do not support playing Blu-Ray discs. You need third party software to watch your favorite Blu-Ray movies.

Purchase a Blu-Ray drive for your computer. Internal Blu-Ray drives are available for desktops and laptops. If you plan to watch Blu-Ray disks on several computers, you should purchase an external Blu Ray.

Install the required drivers for your drive. While Windows 7 and the most recent version of Mac OS X have some support for Blu-Ray devices, they may not have included drivers for your drive. The manufacturer should have included a CD containing the drivers or information about where to download them.

Buy playback software capable of decoding Blu Ray. Microsoft and Apple do not offer codecs for Blu Ray. Several companies offer video players for Blu Ray playback. PowerDVD from Cyberlink and WinDVD from Corel are the two largest makers of PC Blu-ay players. No software is available for Blu-Ray playback on Mac computers. Mac users will need to dual boot into Windows to take advantage of Blu Ray.

Warning

  • Blu Ray is not widely adopted in personal computers because of its price and low market share. Stand alone Blu-Ray players are inexpensive. Plus, the high definition of Blu-Ray video is wasted on smaller laptop screens. Until Blu Ray increases in popularity and replaces DVDs you can expect to see very few computers with native support for Blu-Ray drives and media. For Mac users, Steve Jobs has said that Apple is "waiting till things settle down and Blu Ray takes off in the marketplace."

About the Author

Marty Simmons started writing professional reports for the environmental consulting industry in 2008. His online instructional articles specialize in science and education. Simmons has a Bachelor of Arts in geology from Kent State University.

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