Offering an affordable and flexible alternative to an electronic Blu-ray player, Blu-ray player software enables Blu-ray playback on any Windows PC. But watching a Blu-ray movie on your desktop or notebook isn’t necessarily as simple as downloading the software and popping a Blu-ray disc (BD) into your computer. Here’s everything you need – and need to know – to enable smooth Blu-ray playback on your PC.
Required Hardware for Blu-ray Playback
If you want to use Blu-ray player software on your PC, first and foremost, your computer components must be Blu-ray compatible. Blu-ray discs require rather robust hardware for smooth playback, and while many new Windows-ready systems offer compatibility, others (namely older ones) may need to be upgraded. Check your system for the following components:
- Blu-ray Drive – Since Blu-ray discs utilize a different technology than DVDs, a Blu-ray supported disc drive is necessary in order to play BDs on a computer. Some Blu-ray drives simply play BDs, while others can play and write new BDs. A Blu-ray enabled drive will have the trademarked BD logo on it.
- HDCP-Compliant Graphics Card – HDCP refers to a form of digital copy protection designed to prevent the copying of digital audio and video as it travels across cable connections (for example, as it moves from your computer’s hard drive to the monitor). Most video graphics cards made by ATI and Nvidia – the most widely used brands – now support HDCP, but check the specs of your card to ensure yours is HDCP-compliant; if it’s not, you’ll need to get one that is compliant in order to play Blu-ray movies. Most laptops manufactured in 2007 or later have a video card with enough graphics processing capability to play BDs.
- HDCP-Compliant Monitor – Aside from a graphics cards, a monitor with HDCP support is also required for Blu-ray playback. Monitors with DVI or HDMI input generally support HDCP; on the other hand, monitors with VGA input typically do not support HDCP.
Why Blu-ray Player Software is Essential
Unbeknownst to many consumers, enabling Blu-ray playback on a PC is actually a two-fold process: hardware and software are both necessary. Windows operating systems currently do not have native Blu-ray support, meaning you may have all the right hardware, but you still won’t be able to watch a Blu-ray movie with Windows Media Player. Thus, BD player software is required. (And UFUSoft Blu-ray Player is current the best, cheapest and most professional Blu-ray playing software working on Windows 8.1 Blue/8/7/Vista/XP PC, laptop, notebook, htpc, etc, which is capable of playing various kinds of Blu-ray discs/ folders/ISO image files, 1080P HD videos and other popular video/audio formats, including MKV, AVI, FLV, MPEG, WMV, MXF, MTS, M2TS, MP4, MP3 etc.)
While there are many media players that can play decrypted Blu-ray discs, Blu-ray player software is lawful, licensed software that can play commercially-produced BDs. Most applications seamlessly integrate with Windows to provide smooth, picture-perfect playback.
To summarize, in order to play Blu-ray movies on your computer, you will need Blu-ray player software, a Blu-ray drive, an HDCP-supported video card and a HDCP-compliant monitor (for desktops and home theater PCs). The best and easiest way to determine whether or not your computer can play BDs is to review your system’s specifications. You may have to upgrade your disc drive, graphics card or monitor. Once you have each of the necessary components, your computer should offer seamless, high-definition playback of the latest Blu-ray movies.