Best free/cheap Blu-Ray player software

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Best free/cheap Blu-Ray player software

Postposted on Thu Jul 04, 2013 9:12 pm

In my next build, I am considering a Blu-Ray drive that can also play DVDs. I was wondering what is the best software to play Blu-Ray and DVDs in Windows 7 or 8. If it is free, that would be even better.
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Re: Best free/cheap Blu-Ray player software

Postposted on Thu Jul 04, 2013 10:38 pm

VLC can play them after a little bit of manual work... Google it, you will find how.
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Re: Best free/cheap Blu-Ray player software

Postposted on Thu Jul 04, 2013 10:51 pm

As a reminder, anything that plays commercial BR movies for free inherently violates Rule #1. Links, or sufficient info to derive a link, will be toasted.

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Re: Best free/cheap Blu-Ray player software

Postposted on Thu Jul 04, 2013 11:00 pm

Steve Jobs was absolutely correct when he described Bluray as a bag of hurt. Assuming you can find software to pull the movie into a form that free software can play, you still have the different codecs to contend with; one of them - interlaced VC-1 - is very poorly supported in the free/open source software arena. It's improving, but still isn't anywhere near watchable yet.

H.262 (aka MPEG2), H.264 (aka MPEG4), and non-interlaced VC-1 are all fine, though.

Most of the interlaced VC-1 titles I've run across have been BBC releases (including Doctor Who), just FYI.
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Re: Best free/cheap Blu-Ray player software

Postposted on Thu Jul 04, 2013 11:18 pm

This has been discussed before. Anything that's fully functional (and legal) isn't going to be free, because the DRM tech needs to be licensed and that costs the software vendor money.
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Re: Best free/cheap Blu-Ray player software

Postposted on Fri Jul 05, 2013 12:12 am

Well, then it's cheaper to just buy a hardware stand-alone BluRay player (you can find plenty of used models on eBay) than the new BluRay drive and a software for it. You may run into compatibility issues with certain movie disks BUT large companies like Panasonic are usually good at releasing firmware updates to resolve such issues (as long as you won't buy a really outdated model).


sjl wrote:Steve Jobs was absolutely correct when he described Bluray as a bag of hurt

Apple's own "solution" of streaming/downloading movies from iTunes is NOT really better, at least for people who value the quality of video/audio. I use both the latest model of AppleTV and stand-alone BluRay player and I still prefer to buy BluRay disks for movies (for TV series the visual/audio quality of iTunes content is acceptable enough).
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Re: Best free/cheap Blu-Ray player software

Postposted on Fri Jul 05, 2013 2:07 am

JohnC wrote:
sjl wrote:Steve Jobs was absolutely correct when he described Bluray as a bag of hurt

Apple's own "solution" of streaming/downloading movies from iTunes is NOT really better, at least for people who value the quality of video/audio.
I never said it was. Matter of fact, content in Australia (where I live) is overpriced, if it's available at all, on iTunes (never mind our appallingly bad broadband situation.) I'd rather buy the physical disks from Big River Co (UK); it's a far better deal that way. My comments were purely about the licensing and DRM issues surrounding BD.

I do concur that a standalone player will be substantially easier - and likely cheaper, given the vague rumblings I've heard about some commercial software options - than trying to make it happen on a PC. It comes down to how much effort you want to put into finding a setup that works for you.
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Re: Best free/cheap Blu-Ray player software

Postposted on Fri Jul 05, 2013 3:19 am

PowerDVD is the 'best' paid option. It's a pile of trash that works when it wants too, as slow as it wants to. I've tried paying for their stuff, and all they'll do for you is change something just enough so you have to pay them again.

Even the cheapest stand-alone unit will play the discs, and likely with a higher success rate than any software solution, and with far, far less frustration on your part. Try and do this stuff in software and you'll be happy to rewire every time you want to watch something instead :).
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Re: Best free/cheap Blu-Ray player software

Postposted on Fri Jul 05, 2013 7:45 am

I find it's best to do a "backup" of the disk to my WMC extender "server" and play them using my 360 WMC Extender and boxee. If you want more details hit me up in a PM.

I almost built a media center PC a few years ago... until I learned that to integrate with WMC the only option was PowerDVD and the ~$100 (If I wanted all of the features like DTS and what not) and another ~$100 for Windows ate almost 50% of my budget. Thank God M$ gives students a break or I wouldn't even have the Windows system I use now!
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Re: Best free/cheap Blu-Ray player software

Postposted on Fri Jul 05, 2013 8:44 am

Thanks for your advice. I suspected that Blu-Ray was not really worth it on a PC, so you guys have verified my suspicions. I will probably ditch that for a DVD burner instead.
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Re: Best free/cheap Blu-Ray player software

Postposted on Fri Jul 05, 2013 9:09 am

riviera74 wrote:Thanks for your advice. I suspected that Blu-Ray was not really worth it on a PC, so you guys have verified my suspicions. I will probably ditch that for a DVD burner instead.

If you plan to use the optical drive for data backups the Blu-Ray may still be worthwhile. Otherwise, yeah... just go for a DVD drive.
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Re: Best free/cheap Blu-Ray player software

Postposted on Fri Jul 05, 2013 5:47 pm

Blu-ray works just fine on the PC... after you've installed Cyberlink's PowerDVD. I usually make a point of buying the versions of optical drives that include the OEM version of Cyberlink's software for less than $10 more than the cost of bare drives that lack any software at all.
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Re: Best free/cheap Blu-Ray player software

Postposted on Fri Jul 05, 2013 7:41 pm

JustAnEngineer wrote:Blu-ray works just fine on the PC... after you've installed Cyberlink's PowerDVD. I usually make a point of buying the versions of optical drives that include the OEM version of Cyberlink's software for less than $10 more than the cost of bare drives that lack any software at all.

There are enough complaints on various forums for all software players, including PowerDVD. We are sort of lucky now that Windows 8 is kind of early stage, so the program should function on the current base OS for a few more years. However, I read that speed and image quality the standalone players are still better. Some of them have additional features too. For example, my Sony BDP-S590 allows me to stream free a bunch of movies and animes (in addition to all the paid services). I spent lots of hours watching Crackle already, so those were unexpected bonus.
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Re: Best free/cheap Blu-Ray player software

Postposted on Fri Jul 05, 2013 9:20 pm

Flying Fox wrote: However, I read that speed and image quality the standalone players are still better. Some of them have additional features too.
Sure, my Oppo disc player is better. It's also more expensive, even when on sale.
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Re: Best free/cheap Blu-Ray player software

Postposted on Sat Jul 06, 2013 8:18 am

This has been discussed before on this site and others. There is no free software for Blue ray that is not a hack or can play all commercial disks.

This is why HTPC is dead/dying. No offense to people that have built them, and the hardware exists, but without blu ray support and ROBUST cable card support, HTPC is dead in the water. It's not technical, purely $$$. Why should big content companies allow people a universal way to stream (and save and possibly share and not pay for) all their content? HTPC is a cool idea from a pc enthus standpoint but it's not a winner from a producers standpoint. He who has the gold makes the rules...

Xbox One maybe a neat "all-in-one" box though it'll probably be locked down enough for only the hardcore hackers to break. And any hacking or custom rom/mods will probably void the warranty. By until we can legally (and thefore easily) get the newest content through pc's, HTPC will remain on the sidelines for most.
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Re: Best free/cheap Blu-Ray player software

Postposted on Sat Jul 06, 2013 9:27 am

I'm probably going to take another stab at an HTPC soon, but Blu-ray will be out of it.

Thing is, my TV can stream Netflix, Amazon Video, Pandora, Youtube, and probably others just fine. The interface sucks, but such is life; it will do the streaming, and it looks and sounds great. I don't need Windows for that.

But I do want an HTPC; I just don't really see the point. My limited Blu-ray collection, having been artificially trimmed through a couple of moves (my fault, not that I can place it), still just does not see enough action to warrant an expensive datastore of 'backed-up' movies that can be readily streamed, especially since the $79 Philips Blu-ray player does such a good job on it's own (and it can stream Netflix too!).

With a decent HDMI receiver in the mix, I'm not totally satisfied with the setup and the controls, can't get Uverse to come on and set everything else properly (the receiver listens to the TV through HDMI return instead of the Uverse input), but I can get it all working with the push of two buttons for Uverse and one button for the Blu-ray player, and that's good enough.
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Re: Best free/cheap Blu-Ray player software

Postposted on Sat Jul 06, 2013 3:10 pm

there is no decent software Blu-ray player for the PC especially the free kind. ive tried so many different ones on my HTPC and found nothing worth paying for or really even using. Some of the cheaper or free software either lag on playback or cant bit-stream HD audio tracks to home theatre receivers. If I had to say which was the best of the bunch, it would be Arcsoft Total Media Theatre. It has all the features you would want in Blu-ray playback software. It is also $100 which when you can buy a stand alone Blu-ray player for $60+, is not worth it at all. This is how I watch Blu-rays on my HTPC. I use REMOVED - SEE FORUM RULE #1 to dump the Blu-ray to the hard drive. I then use Windows Media Player Classic Home Cinema Edition (which is totally free) to playback the movie as you just open up the Blu-ray folder. You even get HD audio playback (again bit-streaming) if you do some tinkering with LavSplitter. Been using that setup for almost 2 years now. Of course I also have 3 Blu-ray players so its not like I actually use the HTPC to watch many blu-rays.
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Re: Best free/cheap Blu-Ray player software

Postposted on Mon Jul 08, 2013 7:42 pm

I use VLC Media Player for everything and am very happy with it.
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Re: Best free/cheap Blu-Ray player software

Postposted on Mon Jul 08, 2013 9:06 pm

Like everyone says it's simply not possible to be free.

Best option, find a bluray drive combo deal that includes a free copy of PowerDVD from Cyberlink. I use this in conjunction with REMOVED - Rule #1. I have not had a single issue with any bluray I've ever put in and beleive me.... that's been A LOT.

So simply put, it's a bit of an investment, but it's wonderful. Especially if you're like me and have a tendency to lose or break discs and having a backup available on your hard drive is invaluable!
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Re: Best free/cheap Blu-Ray player software

Postposted on Fri Oct 11, 2013 6:50 am

If you buy burning software, Nero plays Blu-Ray.
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Re: Best free/cheap Blu-Ray player software

Postposted on Fri Oct 11, 2013 10:07 am

PowerDVD now has a 'Live' version that's $45/year; given that they require upgrades and what-not, that comes out to be about the same price over time as just buying the latest version. AND, the latest version seems pretty snappy.
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