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Blu-ray playback comes to OS X

Apple has shied away from supporting Blu-ray playback in OS X, but there is a new media player available that allows for native Blu-ray playback.

The ability to play Blu-ray movies in OS X has been a bit of a sore spot for Mac users. When Blu-ray was being developed, Apple's presence as a supporter of the technology spurred much speculation and rumor that Mac users would be seeing native Blu-ray support in OS X. Unfortunately, to this date this has not happened, and Apple has progressively shied away from Blu-ray in support of alternative options like the iTunes store.

While Apple has claimed that the complex licensing for Blu-ray playback has been partly to blame for the lack of Blu-ray support, oddly the ability to create and burn Blu-ray movies has been readily available with tools like Final Cut Pro and Toast Titanium. It is more likely that Apple's reluctance to support Blu-ray revolves around its competition with Apple's preferred streaming media solutions.

Mac Blu Ray Player
The new Blu-ray player for OS X allows native Blu-ray disc playback, but also supports playing numerous media file types.

Despite the controversies and frustrations with Apple's support of Blu-ray, native playback is finally here. Recently, developer Macgo released a new media player aptly named Mac Blu Ray Player, which is the first to bring full Blu-ray playback support to OS X. All you need to get Blu-ray up and running is the following:

  1. A Blu-ray drive, which can either be internal (likely easier and cheaper for Mac Pro systems), or external. These can be purchased at places like Other World Computing or NewEgg

  2. Mac Blu Ray Player software, which can be downloaded from the Macgo Web site.

The player is a simple drag-and-drop install and works by managing Blu-ray licensing through the Internet, so when you insert a disc and open it with the player, the system will manage the Advanced Access Content System keys and other content management features through the Macgo servers. Unfortunately this means there are some limitations, like not being able to play the movies if you have no Internet connection, but perhaps if you are reading this article, then you have all that's needed in this regard.

The Mac Blu Ray Player comes in a trial version that offers a free 3-month playback. During this time the player will put a watermark on the screen and some features may be disabled, but with the $39.95 license for the software, you should be able to play your movies in full.

Keep in mind that this is new software in its version 1.0 release (actually version, and while it should work, it may have some issues at times. The developer has a FAQ available in which it does mention a few workarounds for crashes and errors that may pop up when using the software.

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