Blu-ray Player for Laptop

Technically-oriented discussion of classic films on everything from 35mm to Blu-Ray
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Jim Roots
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Blu-ray Player for Laptop

Unread post by Jim Roots » Thu Dec 31, 2015 6:39 pm

I know we already have several threads dedicated to finding Blu-ray players, but maybe this one has its own special little twist.

I have been trying to find a Blu-ray player that will work on a laptop computer. Best Buy told me they had one but it is out of stock and I would do better to order it from them online. Unfortunately, their online catalogue seems to list only (1) the kind of player that hooks up to your TV, and (2) Blu-ray writers, not players.

I did some searching on amazon and a couple of other sites. Same kind of results.

I do not want a player that hooks up to my TV. I want one that hooks up to my laptop (Toshiba Satellite S50D-A with AMD Radeon HD 8610G and 8500M Dual Graphics ... whatever that means ... and Windows 8.1).

Can anybody point me to one?

Also, I noticed that all reviews of Blu-ray players, whether they're computer external drives or TV boxes, say you have to purchase the actual software separately from the player. My response: "?????"

Thanks for any and all help/advice.

Jim

fwtep
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Re: Blu-ray Player for Laptop

Unread post by fwtep » Thu Dec 31, 2015 9:17 pm

I see TONS of them on Amazon. Writers *are* players-- they do both.

jazzbo
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Re: Blu-ray Player for Laptop

Unread post by jazzbo » Sat Jan 02, 2016 9:37 am

Jim Roots wrote: Also, I noticed that all reviews of Blu-ray players, whether they're computer external drives or TV boxes, say you have to purchase the actual software separately from the player. My response: "?????"
When you buy a blu-ray player/writer for a computer, they are mostly intended as data drives, for example backing up your computer. That is why so many are writers too. So yes, buying a player by itself is usually not enough unless it comes with with software that can decrypt and play the movie stored on the disc.

In short, the studios don't want you to play blu-ray on your computer and the copy protection on the discs was designed to make it intentionally difficult.

That being said, some people use software like AnyDVD HD to play blu-ray on their computer, other people use PowerDVD. I haven't used any of these as I normally rip (and decrypt) my blu-ray movies down with MakeMKV and play the files locally rather than play from the actual discs (note, this can take a LOT of disk space and not something I would recommend for those who aren't very technical.)

Note that whatever software you get, if it doesn't get updated often you may find yourself out of luck with newer discs as encryption standards change until your software updates.

A couple articles on playing blu-ray:
http://lifehacker.com/5806252/how-can-i ... y-computer" target="_blank
http://www.extremetech.com/computing/14 ... -windows-8" target="_blank

Note that in both articles, the easiest solution for playing blu-ray in Windows, is yes, buying some type of software.

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milefilms
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Re: Blu-ray Player for Laptop

Unread post by milefilms » Sat Jan 02, 2016 4:09 pm

Funny thing, I just got another one -- my third -- this morning, but I do a lot of burning for the business and with the latest version, I plan on using M-discs (up to 100GB) to preserve some projects. So I have some experience with these.

It's not that the studios don't want you to play discs on the laptop, it's that Apple (and perhaps some of the others) wants you to stream from Itunes. And of course, almost everybody who is young and watches on the computer has Netflix. So Apple ditched the superdrive on their laptops and that would also make them lighter and slimmer.

All the portable Blu-ray players for the computer are also burners. I just bought mine from OWC MacSales (http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/optical- ... perdrives/) but they only have their version for $64 and they don't carry Samsung or LG (the two better-known companies) so Amazon, B&H or any of the others are fine too.

If you buy a portable Blu-ray, there is VLC that's free to download and a very good program to play Blu-rays on your laptop. But since that had problems with Mac El Capitan, I also have Aiseesoft Mac Blu-ray Player which is fairly cheap and does the job.
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Nick_M
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Re: Blu-ray Player for Laptop

Unread post by Nick_M » Sat Jan 02, 2016 8:03 pm

Should you get a BD-RE drive that's bundled with a software BD player, like PowerDVD, there's a good chance it'll be expired by the time you install it. Software players, unlike set-top boxes, expire, triggering DRM barriers. I recommend getting something like DVD Fab Passkey, which runs in the background to decrypt discs and allows you to use the software you bought.

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Re: Blu-ray Player for Laptop

Unread post by jazzbo » Sat Jan 02, 2016 11:38 pm

milefilms wrote: If you buy a portable Blu-ray, there is VLC that's free to download and a very good program to play Blu-rays on your laptop. But since that had problems with Mac El Capitan, I also have Aiseesoft Mac Blu-ray Player which is fairly cheap and does the job.
This is a little bit of an over simplification; VLC as shipped doesn't play encrypted blu-ray. You have to acquire from elsewhere and then install the decryption keys, which I thought might be beyond what this user wants to do.

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Jim Roots
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Re: Blu-ray Player for Laptop

Unread post by Jim Roots » Sun Jan 03, 2016 1:17 pm

Wow, this sounds every bit as, er, "challenging" as I had feared!

I'm not a tech guy by any means. The more sophisticated setups would be beyond my patience to attempt to install. So if you're saying there is a downloadable software program that could run a Blu-ray disc off my laptop's built-in DVD player, then that's the thing for me!

Jim

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milefilms
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Re: Blu-ray Player for Laptop

Unread post by milefilms » Mon Jan 04, 2016 5:41 pm

Jazzbo was correct -- that when I tried other Blu-ray discs, they didn't work with VLC. (I just realized that I never play other people's Blu-rays on my computer.)

However, Aiseesoft Mac Blu-ray software opened Selma, To Be or Not to Be and Star Trek when I just tested it. It's at http://www.aiseesoft.com/mac-blu-ray-player/ for $25. I assume there are other software programs out there that do the same if not better.
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Jim Roots
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Re: Blu-ray Player for Laptop

Unread post by Jim Roots » Mon Jan 04, 2016 6:25 pm

milefilms wrote:Jazzbo was correct -- that when I tried other Blu-ray discs, they didn't work with VLC. (I just realized that I never play other people's Blu-rays on my computer.)

However, Aiseesoft Mac Blu-ray software opened Selma, To Be or Not to Be and Star Trek when I just tested it. It's at http://www.aiseesoft.com/mac-blu-ray-player/ for $25. I assume there are other software programs out there that do the same if not better.
Okay, but guys, please re-read the specifications I gave about my laptop. It's not a Mac.

Jim

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Re: Blu-ray Player for Laptop

Unread post by Nick_M » Mon Jan 04, 2016 6:41 pm

Jim Roots wrote:Wow, this sounds every bit as, er, "challenging" as I had feared!

I'm not a tech guy by any means. The more sophisticated setups would be beyond my patience to attempt to install. So if you're saying there is a downloadable software program that could run a Blu-ray disc off my laptop's built-in DVD player, then that's the thing for me!

Jim
Just follow these steps:
1. Buy a BD-RE drive. Amazon, Newegg, anywhere. A DVD-ROM drive cannot play BDs.
2. Get BD player software. One could be bundled with the drive. If not, do a Google search, such as "bd player software". Any decent program should have a fully functional trial period.
3. (Optional) When the software in the future begins to bark at you, demanding that you buy the new version, get something like DVDFab Passkey. Or feed the monster...

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Re: Blu-ray Player for Laptop

Unread post by ColemanShedman » Tue Jan 05, 2016 10:02 am

I can't imagine you'd notice a difference, what with the screen size and resolution. Blu-ray seems like overkill but the drives are easy enough to find.

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Jim Roots
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Re: Blu-ray Player for Laptop

Unread post by Jim Roots » Fri Jan 08, 2016 7:08 am

Nick_M wrote:
Jim Roots wrote:Wow, this sounds every bit as, er, "challenging" as I had feared!

I'm not a tech guy by any means. The more sophisticated setups would be beyond my patience to attempt to install. So if you're saying there is a downloadable software program that could run a Blu-ray disc off my laptop's built-in DVD player, then that's the thing for me!

Jim
Just follow these steps:
1. Buy a BD-RE drive. Amazon, Newegg, anywhere. A DVD-ROM drive cannot play BDs.
2. Get BD player software. One could be bundled with the drive. If not, do a Google search, such as "bd player software". Any decent program should have a fully functional trial period.
3. (Optional) When the software in the future begins to bark at you, demanding that you buy the new version, get something like DVDFab Passkey. Or feed the monster...
Now that's the kind of straightforward help I like to get! Thank you!

Jim

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Great Hierophant
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Re: Blu-ray Player for Laptop

Unread post by Great Hierophant » Sun Jan 17, 2016 8:11 pm

My advice is similar and consists of three steps :

1. Get a drive that will read Blu-ray discs.
2. Download VLC
3. Use MakeMKV, which is usually free to use, to rip your movies losslessly to your hard drive. Then play the result of #3 with #2.

Maybe that is four steps, but its cheap.

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