Blu-ray Playback Now Available For OS X, Albeit Unofficially

Apple may have a nominal member of the standards group that developed Blu-ray, but the company has shied away from supporting Blu-ray playback for years. Blu-ray disc authoring, in contrast, was added to Final Cut Studio 3 / Final Cut Pro 7 back in 2009. Jobs has previously commented on Apple's decision. In 2008, the CEO told listeners: "Blu-ray is a bag of hurt... I don’t mean from the consumer point of view. It’s great to watch movies, but the licensing is so complex. We’re waiting until things settle down, and waiting until Blu-ray takes off before we burden our customers with the cost of licensing."

Apple has never categorically rejected adding Blu-ray support at a future date but the company has indicated the iTunes Store and its downloadable content are a primary focus. Up to now, Mac users who wanted to watch a Blu-ray film had to boot into Windows to do so. A newly released player by Macgo (imaginatively titled "Mac Blu-ray Player") has found a way to provide a native OS X client--with a few limitations. The program requires an Internet connection to authorize decryption, though we should note this is apparently only required to start playback.

We tested the PC version of the player with mixed results. The program detected our Blu-ray drive and the film Star Trek flawlessly. Whatever online authorization process is required, it's nearly instant--the movie started within seconds of pressing play. Video quality was just as good as what we've seen with other players such as Cyberlink's PowerDVD.

Options, however, are quite limited. This may or may not be a function of the BD film in question, but the Mac BD player couldn't provide us with a Title menu or an option to select a chapter. Film playback was analogous to what you'd see when playing back a media file. There were no built-in color or video quality controls, though these are arguably well-provided by both the OS and the GPU's control panel. As a full-featured player it leaves something to be desired, but Macgo is currently offering the player as a free download. The company claims it'll do so for the next three months. The PC version we downloaded doesn't seem to have any sort of baked-in timer or countdown mechanism, but the Mac player may be different in this regard. Interested readers can also purchase a lifetime license/upgrade version of the program for $39.95.

We're glad Mac users can now watch Blu-ray films without rebooting into Windows, but we'd be remiss in our duties if we didn't note that the product website is a bit odd. Macgo describes itself thusly: "Founded in 2005,Macgo Inc has over ten [ten?] years of experience in video conversion and has developed many video conversion tools with advanced technology." The only other program mentioned by name is the Modiac Blu-ray Ripper. The site tells us "Modiac Blu-ray ripper is regarded as the best conversion tool in the world." (In a rather hilarious translation mistake, we found the product described as "Modiac blu-ray ripper , is considered as the primo shift slave in the experience."

We couldn't find much on "primo shift slaves," but Google Images offered this take on "wage slave."

We bring this up because the grammatical errors on the website plus the nature of the company's other products is enough to raise questions over just how legal the product is. The web-centric nature of its functionality means that a lawsuit from certain parties could shut the player down in no time flat and leave anyone who paid for a lifetime license holding the bag.