Monday, September 5, 2011

Free Blu-ray Player Software / Region-Free Bluray Player? Forget it!

Understandably, there are a lot of people searching for free Blu-ray player software or region free Blu-ray player. Often people are looking for free Blu-ray 3D players too. And while it is clear that there are not any standalone players for free similarly to all other hardware devices on the market, the answer concerning both software and region-free players is not obvious. So, here is the current situation.

Free Blu-ray Player Software
There is not any BD player software that is free. At least, not a legal one. And it is valid for all of the markets: Windows, Unix, Mac, etc. The not so pleasant reason behind this fact is that the founding companies and patent holders (Sony, Philips and Panasonic own most of the patents concerning the Bluray disc technology) still require license fees for any kind of BD related device (player or recorder), disc or software and these fees affect any hardware or software unit that has been manufactured. There are some BD drives that come equipped with OEM software for BD playback but usually, OEM software versions are stripped of many features and they are hardly ever updated. Since there are not free Blu-ray player software programs, the only option, if you don't want to become a software "pirate", is to get a commercial software package. You can check which are the available players on the market here. Their prices currently range from $50 to $100 with frequent significant discounts. You can also download free trial versions of the 2 most popular BD player software programmes by using the following links: Cyberlink PowerDVD 12 Ultra and ArcSoft TotalMedia Theatre 5.

Region Free Blu-ray Player
Similarly to the case with the free software BD players, there are not any region-free or multi-region Bluray players for sale. The reasoning behind the existence of BD regions does not seem very comprehensible. There are probably some questionable benefits for the movie studios but the region codes are definitely a big problem for any devoted BD fan around the world cause it may happen that a movie is released only in a particular Blu-ray region or that a release for another region is better than the one for yours. So, while there are not any out-of-the-box multi region solutions, you can still explore the following links and read a couple of software region free Blu-ray player suggestions as well as a couple of hacks for dedicated standalone players.

Free Blu-ray 3D Players
As you should have already guessed there are also not free software players for 3D BDs. The reason is again due to the existence of patent holders. Concerning the playback of Blu-ray 3D discs, if you own a standalone 2D BD player but it does not happen to be Sony PlayStation 3 chances are you won't be able to turn it into a 3D player. The cause is that 3D requires considerably more computational power than 2D and older standalone players do not have it (except for Sony's PS3). If you've purchased a software player for playback of 2D movies in the past, you have better chances to use it for 3D playback too, either with a relatively cheap software upgrade or without doing anything. Of course, for 3D playback you will also need additional (expensive) hardware like 3D glasses and monitor. Yes, evil never comes alone...


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