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Play Blu-ray Discs On Your Computer Without Expensive Software

Play Blu-ray Discs On Your Computer Without Expensive Software

Sony’s new handheld gaming console, the PSP Vita, is officially unveild at E3 in Los Angeles…

Blu-ray movies offer the highest-definition for your home theater system, however many of the Blu-ray players in people’s home come in the form of a computer optical drive. Anyone who has gone out and bought a Blu-ray optical drive for their PC will know that without expensive software, you can’t actually watch these discs, even with versatile media players such as VLC.

blu-ray player

Blu-ray Player

Image Credit: Diego Correa, 2008.
Computers or laptops that come preinstalled with a Blu-ray drive should also come with the software required to play the discs, but if for some reason you’re left without, programs such as CyberLink Power DVD cost upwards of $50 to buy.

If you don’t have a stand-alone Blu-ray player, or the software required to play Blu-ray movies on your computer or laptop, here are two ways you can watch your movies without purchasing expensive software.

How Watch Blu-ray Discs On Your Computer Without Expensive Software

Rip Blu-ray Movies To .mkv Files

This first method is pretty straight forward, but it does require a 30 mins wait whilst you rip and convert the flies into .mkv files. Converting the movies into MKV files preserves the original Blu-ray quality and can played with numerous media players; free VLC media player being many people’s top choice.

To do this you’ll need to download and install a program called MakeMKV. Once you’ve installed the program, make sure you’ve got at least 50GB of space on your hard drive to handle the conversion and store the resulting file.

The program itself is straight forward. Navigate to File > Open Disc. Select the movie you want to convert and click the MakeMKV button.

After half-an-hour or so, MakeMKV will complete the conversion giving you a high-quality .mkv file that will play in VLC.

Stream Blu-ray Movies Decoded To MKV Files in Real-Time

For your one of those extreme media junkies who has successfully set up an X-Box Media Center, you can convert Blu-ray movies to an .mkv file and watch it in real-time.

xbox media center

Play Blu-Ray With Xbox Media Center

To do this you’ll still need MakeMKV as well as the Blu-ray plugin for XBMC.

Install MakeMKV and the Blu-ray addon – again you’ll need at least 50GB space on the hard drive. Then open XBMC and navigate to Videos > Video Add-Ons > BluRay Player with MakeMKV.

From here you should be able to play the Blu-ray disc. It may take a short while to buffer, but works well once it’s loaded.

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  1. Whitson Gordon: How Can I Play Blu-Ray Discs on My Computer? LifeHacker, 05/27/2011.
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