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Only commercial programs will play encrypted discs and give you full access to the menus and extras found on Blu-ray. Your choices include PowerDVD, Arcsoft TMT, WinDVD and the Nero player. The Arcsoft player is the best of these in my opinion.
If you want to play Blu-ray with a free player, you'll need to either decrypt the movies with a program like AnyDVD HD or DVDFab Passkey running in the background, or decrypt and rip them to the hard drive. You might be able to get by using DVDFab Passkey Lite, which is free, but it is not updated as quickly as the commercial version of the program.
So if you are insistent on using a free combination, use Passkey Lite combined with a program like Media Player Classic Home Cinema, or Potplayer. Even with Passkey Lite providing decryption, the free players will not let you access menus.
Another option is to rip the movie to the hard drive with MakeMKV, as either an mkv file or as a complete backup, then play the movie with one of the free media players. And again, you won't have menus going this route.
There are a number of players that play the streams that Blu-ray is made up of: AVC(h.264)/MPEG2/VC-1 video & LPCM/DD/DD+/DDTHD/DTS/DTMA audio. And there are a number that play them in the M2TS container that is how it is stored on BDs.
However, just like DVD-Video, BD isn't just a simple container Multimedia experience - there are multiple streams, menus/chapters, navigation and other features to deal with. Plus, (just like DVD-Video) and this is not a trivial thing: it is copy-protected & encrypted! And to be able to properly navigate, demux, decode & play those things in a CP/encrypted environment REQUIRES that the player be properly licensed ($$). So there will likely not be a FOSS true-BD player for a very long time.
That means only 3 true, full-featured BD software players out there (AFAIK): Cyberlink PowerDVD, Corel WinDVD, and ArcSoft TotalMediaTheater.
If you just want a file player that plays (unencrypted) M2TS, the following should be able to do it (with the possible need for additional codecs, depending):
VLC since version 2.0 has BD support. Their forum has various guides on getting it working, links to keys database (for encrypted BD's), but AnyDVD HD / DVDFab Passkey is a better bet as Kerry56 suggested
Supposedly full menu support (with BD-J) is coming in version 2.2 ...
And as Scott says, you won't get full 7.1 HD audio because there are no free / libavcodec decoders that can decode in 7.1, only 5.1 core
Yeah, I'll revise what I said, based on PDR's knowledgeable input: you won't get FULL BD experience with FOSS players, yet. But it sounds like you can get (more than) partial BD experience with something like libbluray (which is supposed to work with VLC & mplayer, but since it's OpenSource, could be included in many other setups).
thanks everyone but I'm talking about playing Blu-ray discs themselves, not HD video files ripped from Blu-ray. All these media players either cost money or they don't play Blu-ray discs themselves.
If you want to truly play BluRay discs, buy TMT from Arcsoft. Anything else is a waste or time and or money. Yes, you can try to use VLC but it doesn't support menus and we have plenty of posts from people begging for help getting it working who never got it to work. VLC is one of those things that it either works for you for BluRapy playback or it doesn't and if it doesn't, nobody knows why and nobody can help you fix it.
VLC (free) was suggested because it could have the ability to play and decrypt the M2TS file on Blu-Ray discs after installing the necessary (free) Blu-Ray decryption libraries available for it. It is true that not everyone can make it work, and it does not yet offer full menu support, but it is the closest you will come to what you want for free.
If VLC doesn't work, or isn't good enough, and you don't want to wait for improvements to be made, then yes, you have to pay to play commercial Blu-Ray discs on a PC.
[Edit] Microsoft is probably never going add the ability to play Blu-Ray discs to Windows Media Player. In fact Microsoft dropped DVD playback from Windows Media Player in the standard version of Windows 8.x, on account of the licensing costs, among other things. If you want to use a Microsoft product for DVD playback, you have to buy Windows 8.1 Pro with Windows Media Center.
Last edited by usually_quiet; 15th Aug 2014 at 13:10.
Free until September 9th. Enter a bogus (or real if you like getting spammed a lot) email for a key.
I haven't tried it and I take no blame if it doesn't work: don't shoot the messenger!
- Quality lossless Blu-ray player to play Blu-ray disc, folders and ISO files.
- Lifelong free DVD player to play DVD discs, folders and ISO files.
- Totally free 1080P HD video player and audio player.
- Zero cost audio player to play audio in various formats.
- Adjust subtitles, audio tracks, video effects with full navigation.
I ran a few tests on the Leawo player, on two different occasions. I wouldn't recommend buying it, but nothing to lose with a free key, other than no updates probably.
Good review. Hopefully it has improved a bit.