But how can we manage these optical disks on a normal computer? In this guide, we will show you all the programs that you can use to correctly handle Blu-ray discs on PC. We will show you both the playback programs and the programs for ripping content and burning new Blu-rays, so you can manage this technology at 360 degrees.
- Blu-ray writers
- Programs to read Blu-rays
- Programs to rip Blu-rays
- Programs to decipher Blu-ray
- Programs to burn empty Blu-rays
Before getting into the knowledge of the programs necessary to manage Blu-ray in the best way, we will have to make sure that the computer in use has a Blu-ray reader or burner. We then check the reader’s door and check if they are present the Blu-ray logo (a B surrounded by a bow) or specific technology writing.
If we don’t have any Blu-ray players or burners, we can fix them by choosing one of the products that can be purchased at a good price directly online.
We can choose for example an external USB Blu-ray burner, very convenient to use both on a fixed PC and on a laptop (we can also store it when not in use, so as not to clutter the area where the PC is present); the best models are available below.
- Portable 4K Blu Ray External DVD Burner Reader (€ 88)
- Moglor 4K Blu Ray DVD Player (€ 89)
- MingBin Blu Ray Dvd Burner Reader, 4K 3D USB 3.0 (€ 90)
- Verbatim Blu-ray burner (€ 105)
If instead, we wanted to save and focus only on one Internal Blu-ray burner, which can be integrated into any fixed PC case, we can choose the models shown below.
- LG DVD / Blu-ray recorder (€ 68)
- Pioneer Internal Optical Unit Burner (€ 76)
- BDR-209DBK-PLUS, Blu-ray burner (€ 80)
- Asus BW-16D1HT Blu-ray internal drive (€ 90)
Programs to read Blu-rays
Let’s start with the programs needed to read Blu-ray videos, so we can enjoy a movie directly from the computer monitor. For this guide, I will only recommend the free programs, so that you can enjoy the movies without having to spend any more money on viewing.
Note: on some recorders, there are CDs with programs, including some video players. We recommend using these programs (if available) for Blu-ray reading, so as to always get the highest quality.
Free Blu-ray Player
The first free video player that we recommend to use to read Blu-ray Video is a Free Blu-ray Player.
Once the program is installed on the computer, insert the optical disk in our burner, let’s look for it in the Start menu and, having reached the interface, press the button Open Disc to be able to select the Blu-ray to open. In a few seconds, we will have access to the movie menu and will be able to view it on our computer.
This player is available for free without time limits, but it may not read some types of discs and provide lower quality than expected (limitations that can only be removed by purchasing the full version).
Leawo Free Blu-ray Player
Another free program we can use to view Blu-ray videos is Leawo Free Blu-ray Player.
After installing it on our computer, we insert our Blu-ray into the burner, double-click on its icon (present on the desktop or in the Start menu) then open the disk icon, located in the center of the interface.
In this way, we will be able to view the initial menu and start watching the movie or special content.
This program is available for free without time limits and, compared to the previous one, it is able to read any disc, even at the highest quality!
If we are looking for a truly free and open-source program to read Blu-ray, we can rely on the beloved VLC, with the addition of some minor changes (necessary to access the encrypted Blu-ray Video content).
After installing VLC on our computer, let’s go to the Blu-ray plugin page and click Get the file (top) and up That file below, depending on the version of Windows in use (if 32 or 64bit). In this way we will get two very important files for reading Blu-ray on VLC: KEYDB.cfg is libaacs.dll.
The first file (KEYDB.cfg) we will have to place it inside the folder AACS, to be created within the path C: Users % USERNAME% AppData (we can insert this path directly into the address bar inside File Explorer, so as to immediately display the folder). The second file (libaacs.dll), we will have to place it instead in the main VLC folder, ie C: Program Files VideoLAN VLC.
After this initial configuration we open VLC, press the CTRL + D keys on the keyboard, select the item Blu-ray in the window that appears, make sure that the right burner is selected in the path Disk device (if we can always use the key Browse to fix), then click on Play at the bottom to start playing the movie.
Programs to rip Blu-rays
If instead, we wanted to transfer the film contained within a Blu-ray into a convenient video file to be saved on a PC, below we show you the best free programs to use for the purpose.
One of the best programs to rip Blu-rays to the highest quality is definitely HandBrake.
Using this ripping program is quite simple: insert the Blu-ray in the burner, open the program and click on the disc icon or on Source -> Disk. After the initial upload, we will be shown the videos on the disc: select the one related to the main film, choose the container (MKV), video codec (H264) and audio (AAC) then click on Start at the top to start the conversion of the final video file. Depending on the speed of the processor in use, it could take half an hour up to 2 hours for the conversion: it is convenient to get comfortable and wait.
To learn more about this excellent program, please read our guide on Convert video to MP4 or MKV on PC and Mac with Handbrake.
Another free program we can use to rip Blu-ray to a convenient video file is MakeMKV.
With this program, we will be able to quickly convert the film of the disc into an MKV file, compatible with any Smart TV or other modern devices. To use it, simply insert the Blu-ray in the burner, open the program, click on the disk icon at the top left, wait for it to load, then select (in the list of contents on the left) the video of the film; to finalize the operation we choose a destination folder in the field Output folder, we choose a conversion profile in the field Profile then we click on the button at the top right Make MKV.
The conversion process will be started and we will be able to check the progress in real-time: depending on the power of the PC, it may take a few hours to complete the process.
If we wish to discover other programs for ripping CDs, DVDs, and Blu-rays, we invite you to read our guide to 10 Programs to copy DVDs (Ripping) on PC.
Programs to decipher Blu-ray
Virtually all Blu-ray videos on the market have advanced protections to prevent pirates from copying movies; these limitations will prevent us from using some of the programs already reported, in particular, ripping. Since the personal copy of the content is allowed, we can temporarily remove Blu-ray protection systems using the programs available below.
The best program to decipher Blu-ray is without a doubt AnyDVD HD.
Leaving this little tool active in memory (it will be placed silently in the lower bar on the right, among the system icons) we will be able to decipher on the fly, without clicking on any key, any protected Blu-ray, we will in fact only have to insert the disk and use the desired ripping program.
AnyDVD HD is available for free for 21 days, after which it will stop working unless we purchase a license.
DVDFab Passkey for DVD
Another useful program for removing Blu-ray protection systems is DVDFab Passkey for DVD.
With this program we will be able to decode on the fly all the contents of the Blu-ray (as seen for AnyDVD) and to rip the contents of the optical disk on our hard disk, so as to have a copy of the entire Blu-ray saved inside the computer, ready to be ripped.
The on-the-fly decoding features of the program are free for 30 days, after which we will have to purchase a license to use the program without limits; compared to AnyDVD though, we can use the Lite version at the end of the test, which allows you to rip all the Blu-ray on the hard drive inside a folder or generate an ISO file (obviously longer than the coding on the fly).
Programs to burn empty Blu-rays
If our intention is to burn empty Blu-rays on the market (for data backups, movies, etc.), in this guide we will show you the best free burning programs compatible with Blu-ray.
The best free program that we recommend to use to burn an empty Blu-ray is ImgBurn.
We can use it for all the purposes with which a Blu-ray is usually used; for example, if we need to burn an ISO file of an original Blu-ray Video, just click Burn an image, select the ISO file to burn in the field Origin, insert the blank disc in the burner, select the latter in the field Destination and finally click on the button at the bottom left (with the icon identical to that of the button pressed in the initial screen).
If instead we want to burn files or folders within a Blu-ray (recreating the structure of a Blu-ray data), we select on the initial screen of the program Burn files and folders, we click on the buttons next to the section Origin (Search for a file or Search for a folder), select the burner in the field Destination, we insert an empty Blu-ray in it then we click on the lower-left button (with the icon identical to the one pressed in the initial screen).
The program is always free and has no limitations: we can burn any type of Blu-ray, burn multiple discs at the same time and even check the burned data, so as to be certain that nothing has been wrong.
Ashampoo Burning Studio FREE
Another very complete free program to burn any type of Blu-ray is Ashampoo Burning Studio FREE.
This free suite allows you to burn Blu-ray data in a very simple way: we open the program, click on Burn Data, insert the disc in the burner then choose all the files or folders to include; when ready, click on Burn to start the burning process. In addition to burning data and ISO, we can use it to create custom Blu-ray with audio and video data and to copy the structure of an original Blu-ray, so you can burn it later.
The program is always free but may require a license (free), obtainable upon registration via email (with relative subscription to the newsletter).
If we look for other free programs for burning, we invite you to read our guide on How to Burn CDs and DVDs for free (Windows and Mac).
As we have seen, with a series of free (or trial) programs, we can manage all types of Blu-ray very well, avoiding spending capital on expensive and difficult-to-use programs.
If we have a damaged Blu-ray in our hands, we can attempt a recovery by reading our guide on how to Recover files from a damaged, damaged or unreadable CD DVD BR disc.
Are we looking for free programs to convert Blu-ray videos from one format to another? We recommend taking a look at our guide to Best programs to convert video.
READ ALSO: How to watch movies on DVD and Blu-Ray in Windows 10