I’ve written in previous posts that I finally procured a Blu-ray burner for the OCMS Labs. The drives have come way down in price, but the media is still somewhat expensive, even when compared to dual-layer DVD-R discs… you can get a 50-pack spindle for around $35! That’s about 70 cents per disc for those keeping score at home. The cheapest BD-R media is about four to five dollars per disc (check prices), and that’s if you buy a spindle.
I bought the drive primarily as a backup device, and authoring the occasional movie. I really don’t do a lot of movie-watching at my desk, but it would be a nice feature… especially since HD content looks beautiful on my 28-inch monitor.
As soon as I received my drive, I have wasted over 10 hours troubleshooting Blu-ray movie playback. I have searched many tech forums and performed my own troubleshooting… all to determine if this LG drive I had was flaky or if there was a software problem.
The first thought that the drive was flakey was that it absolutely refused to burn the BD-RE (rewritable) disc that came with the drive. Thankfully I purchased a spindle of Verbatim BD-R media, which worked flawlessly, and as a matter of fact burned at 6x when the media is specified for 4x.
I tried 3 different Blu-ray software players. WinDVD9, Cyberlink PowerDVD Ultra, and TotalMedia Theatre 3. PowerDVD would always yield a “disc format is not recognized” error or some nonsense. WinDVD9 would push the system into “Vista basic mode” and then close. TotalMedia Theatre 3 would give me an honest-to-god BSOD.
…and yes, I installed all of the patches from Windows Update, checked for viruses and spyware…
To determine if the drive was the problem, I ripped a copy of “Batman Begins” using AnyDVD (probably one of the best rippers for Blu-Ray) and copied the files to my hard drive. Without fail, the software players behaved exactly the same way as before.
I read on several forums how many people were having problems with Vista 64, so I pulled out a new hard drive and installed the 32-bit version of Vista on it. This was a clean install, so the potential for codex conflict would be minimal.
I was able to get Blu-ray moves to play with WinDVD9, but that was a trial and the audio is disabled… so I’m still not sure if there’s a problem with the software or sound card. I’m certainly not going to spend money on the full version just for a “test”.
The next step is to try this drive in another Vista system and see if Blu-ray playback is possible. I really doubt it’s the drive’s fault, however, since the player software does the same thing with ripped (and decrypted) movies.
I read that some people are playing Blu-ray movies on their Vista systems. I’m not there… not yet.
UPDATE: Thanks to Don’s help, I am now able to play Blu-ray movies… kinda. After instalilng the K-Lite Codec pack, I can now drag the individual movie files into Windows Media Player and they play…
Since I’m using Windows Media Player I cannot switch audio languages, skip chapters or anything like that. If I drag the timeline, then the audio may change from English to another language… so it’s still not completely usable.
None of the “official” blu-ray software players work for me, but at least I know the problem isn’t my drive.