While fairly common on many Windows boxes, Mac OS X does not support playback of Blu-ray movies on your Mac, and it’s not likely to do so any time soon. That means that if you’ve added a Mac mini to your home-theater system, want to watch HD movies on the road, or even if you just don’t have a lot of space for a TV and a computer, you’ve got to copy and convert the data from the discs in order to play them back and that’s impossible without a drive capable of reading Blu-ray discs.
Unfortunately, this Mac/Blu-ray gap also goes the other way too; the HD home movies that you’ve edited together in iMovie, Final Cut, or even Adobe Premiere are all HD, but how are you going to get them to your (or perhaps your mother in law’s) television to take advantage of the larger screen and/or the better sound quality? Sure, iDVD will get them to a disc playable anywhere, but you’ll lose that wonderful HD quality. For widest HD support, you need to be able to burn a Blu-ray movie to disc.
In both these scenarios, the lack of a Blu-ray drive is the main problem. Though you can’t play the movies themselves back, OS X will mount Blu-ray discs on the desktop; you can rip them using a program such as Handbrake. On the other side of the coin, programs like Roxio Toast Titanium can burn Blu-ray discs that will play in any home Blu-ray player. You just need a drive that can read and burn Blu-ray discs.
While it doesn’t appear that Apple is going to be including Blu-ray on its computers any time in the near future, OWC is coming to the rescue with a wide array of solutions for you. Internal Kit options for Mac Pro (and PCs) now start from under $100 with Blu-ray Read/Write speeds of up to 12X and DVD-RW DL/CDRW capabilities. If you need an external solution, we’ve got several available from under $200. If don’t need to burn Blu-ray media, but would like to be able to read Blu-ray discs, there are options from under $80 that not only allow the reading of Blu-ray, but also provide DVDRW/CDRW Read/Write capability as well.
Let’s Get High-Definition!
Combining Roxio Toast Pro Titanium with a Blu-ray burner from OWC makes it the perfect combination for burning your HD videos for playback on your home Blu-ray player. Like we alluded to above, HD video cameras are widely available, and even iMovie is capable of handling HD video. It somehow seems kind of silly to have to edit all that HD footage together and scale it down to DVD if you want to watch it on your television.
So the question is: if the OWC Mercury Pro supports Blu-ray media and Toast 10 Titanium Pro allows you to author Blu-ray video discs, what’s stopping you from taking your HD movies and putting them on Blu-ray for highest-quality playback? Instructions, of course!
Fortunately, OWC has you covered there, too. We’ve put together a nice walkthrough of how to create a basic Blu-ray video that will play on your home Blu-ray player.
The reverse is also possible: converting Blu-ray movies to play on your computer. This is a great way to bring your HD movies with you while you’re on the go, convert them for use on your favorite iDevice or play them back on an HTPC hooked up to your home theater. All you need to do is put the Blu-ray movie in your new Blu-ray drive and use Handbrake or MakeMKV to convert. We have a cheat sheet for converting movies and using them with the OWC Media Center Solution, but those same files will also work elsewhere. Just be sure to only copy movies that you own the disc for; don’t open yourself up to prosecution for copyright infringement!
It’s not just about the movies.
While converting and creating HD movies can be a lot of fun, a Blu-ray drive can also be useful for storage. With discs available in capacities up to 50GB, Blu-ray offers a lot of storage in a small space. This makes it a great way to ship large sets of files cross-country without the bulk and electrostatic sensitivity of a hard drive. It also works well for those who back up files to optical media; higher-capacities mean more files per disc which leads to less disc swapping if you ever need to restore, and as Apple moves toward having all its software available only via download, it also offers a nice way to back up these programs, saving you bandwidth down the line.
Although Apple has yet to officially support Blu-ray on Mac OS X, we at OWC have been providing solutions for over five years now. It just goes to show you – just because it’s not built-in, it doesn’t mean you can’t.