How to Connect a Blu-ray Player to Your Mac

Steve Jobs didn’t like the Blu-ray business for some reason. It’s one of those topics I think is a moot point. I haven’t bothered to hear the story behind his dismissal of Blu-ray. What matters to me is the new MacBook Pro with Retina Display.

I think it’s a great device to watch a Blu-ray on in a pinch. Naturally watching Blu-rays is better suited in your family room or man cave with a large, flat-panel, HD, plasma television set.

But if you’re using a computer for your movie-watching, and that computer has to be a notebook computer, I think the new MacBook Pro is the way to go. The screen has a much wider viewing angle than other MacBooks, and the color and contrast is more vibrant and precise.

The only problem is there still isn’t a good solution for watching Blu-rays on a Mac. As this article at 9to5Mac makes perfectly clear, the steps necessary to get the movie playable on your Mac are for the nerdy at heart:

So, the hard part is getting Blu-rays to your Mac…

Macworld recommends the free MakeMKV application to pull data into an .MKV file. From there, you can use Retina VLC 2.0.2 to watch the video, or use your favorite converter (Handbrake) to move the video to iOS devices. There are a bunch of paid options (Toast 11 is $50 at Stack Social) for watching Blu-ray’s directly and turning them into iOS compatible files.

For lossless Audio:

  1. Rip Blu-Ray with MakeMKV. Select the biggest file, because that is the main title.
  2. Use MP4tools to remux the MKV file into a MP4/M4V file.
  3. Find a copy of Handbreak 9.5 (newer version no longer lets you target file size), and then make the target file of conversion between 2GB and 3GB (2048MB and 3072MB).
  4. Get iFlick from M.A.S to tag and auto-add the files to iTunes.

It takes some Jedi mind tricks to work around the wits of your Mac and get the Blu-ray to play. Forget using a Mac Mini as a media server in your for your TV—the hassle isn’t worth it.

I only hope that in the next year that Apple takes another look into Blu-Ray support. They don’t need to build Blu-ray players into the body of all of their Macs, but it would be great if you could connect an external player and watch without a lot of hassle.

But something — called “AppleTV” — tells me that Apple will not be supporting Blu-ray natively. Ever. 

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