How to watch Blu-ray Discs on your Mac

Blu-ray Disc is a good format for video enthusiasts looking for picture and sound quality, and there's no shortage of devices that work with the format straight out of the box. But the Mac isn't one of them. So how can you get Blu-ray Discs to play back on the Mac? Read on for details.

Steve Jobs famously called Blu-ray "a bag of hurt," suggesting Apple would take a wait and see approach on back in 2008. Apple sat on the fences for a long time and ultimately decided its Macs didn't need any optical storage at all, getting rid of internal DVD "SuperDrives" altogether (unless you count the lowly 13-inch standard MacBook Pro, still part of the product line but not updated since 2012). Apple continues to offer the SuperDrive as an external option, but it's limited to CDs and DVDs.

That doesn't mean the Mac can't play Blu-ray Discs. You'll just need a little help doing it.

Get a Blu-ray drive

The first thing you need is a Blu-ray Disc player. There are plenty of them available, and they'll work with the Macintosh without any problem, using the Mac's USB port. What's more, they're all burners, so you'll be able to burn Blu-ray Disc archives of your own (as well as CDs and DVDs), and they all work fairly quickly.

Here are links to a few you can buy which should work fine:

Samsung 6X USB 2.0 Slim Blu-ray Writer

OWC Slim 6X Portable USB 2.0 Blu-ray Burner


Get Blu-ray software

Getting the drive is only half the battle, though. You'll also need software to watch your Blu-ray movies. Apple doesn't include drivers to decrypt that information, since Blu-ray isn't included on the Mac. Fortunately, there are several third-party apps on the market to help you along.

Aiseesoft's Blu-Ray Player, Aurora's Blu Ray Player for Mac and Macgo's Mac Blu-Ray Player are all available for trial download. They all let you watch Blu-ray movies on your Mac, and do more too, including reading data from Blu-ray ISO images and watching other movies on your Mac.

Aiseesoft - Blu-ray Player

Aurora - Blu Ray Player for Mac

Macgo's Mac Blu-Ray Player

If you're interested in getting the most out of your Blu-ray Disc drive as an archival storage device — after all, you can cram up to 50 GB onto a single dual-layer BD-R disc — make sure to look at Roxio's Toast 12 Titanium, which offers Blu-ray authoring capabilities among its many other features.

Any questions?

With the right software and hardware in place, you can turn your Mac into a powerful Blu-ray Disc system. It just takes a little self-reliance and some extra hardware and software to make happen. If you run into any road bumps or have any questions, don't hesitate to ask.