How-To: Play Blu-ray and HD DVD Movie Discs in Linux

blu ray hd dvd logoThe kind folks at Ubuntu Community Docs have posted detailed instructions (via Digg) on what you need to do in order to play premium HD movie discs through Linux using a compatible disc drive and the appropriate “fair use” software. They do warn readers, however, that patent and copyright laws operate differently depending on which country you are in, and that you should seek legal advice before proceeding. Okay, so with that understood, all you really need to do is install the UDF 2.5 files system, get a hold of BackupHDDVD C++ (decrypts both Blu-Ray and HD DVD discs), and the latest MPlayer or VLC media player. At this point it’s not an elegant solution, but they’re getting there. Soon, I’m sure, it will be as easy as just dropping in the disc.

Filed in: Software

  • SpecialCharacter

    Works, but not easy enough for my family to do on their own.

    All this DRM stuff makes me want to turn to piracy. Sigh.

  • DrFeelGood

    The fact that playing High def content on Linux is not straight forward I feel is really going to stunt the growth of Linux.

    At the moment all the people I know are switching back from Linux to windows just to get high def blu ray working.

    Does anybody know if/when this may get resolved? if ever

  • Alexander Grundner

    @DrFeelGood – You can only view Blu-ray movies legitimately on PCs that have secured audio and video paths. You’re better off buying a Windows Vista PC that’s configured to play Blu-ray discs out of the box (though you can, with some effort, buy your own compatible PC components and test things out with CyberLinks BD compatibility test software). As far as I’m aware, you can’t play Blu-ray movies on Macs either. With that said, however, Linux can bypass the DRM locks and play Blu-ray movies using a variety of methods. The Ubuntu Community Docs offers this following resource guide you may be interested in: . It takes just about as much effort as it does using the popular Blu-ray movie ripping app for Windows, AnyDVD HD. The only tricky part is making sure you have: 1) a working Blu-ray drive, 2) a UDF 2.5 filesystem driver installed.

    Re: “Does anybody know if/when this may get resolved? if ever”

    This will happen, I’m guessing, when OEMs like Dell and Blu-ray software player developers like Cyberlink partner up to create such a system to offer to customers. FYI, Cyberlink is providing their PowerDVD application for Ubuntu as a download here (so we’re kind of heading in the right direction). Unfortunately, Cyberlink still hasn’t gotten around to creating a Blu-ray compatible player for Linux.

  • Nick

    How does Sony do it? Doesn’t the PS3 run off of some flavor of Linux? If so, then what method does Sony use for being able to play Blu-Ray discs?

  • He

    The PS3 doesn’t officialy run a flavor of linux. It probably runs (unofficially) a flavor of linux or BSD with a pretty frontend. You can, however, install Gentoo, Ubuntu, Fedora Core, Yellow Dog, and many other linux distros onto a PS3 (i have mine running Gentoo). Maybe sometime I will make it play bluray. Right now I just do that in XMB (the default PS3 OS)

  • Bryan

    The only legitimate way to play BluRay on a PC is with Windows Vista?!

    There’s gotta be an anti-trust suit in that mess somewhere!

  • Jack

    If you switched back over a lack of blu-ray support you have serious issues. The majority of people can’t even tell the difference between the two. If DVD wasn’t around it might be a more critical thing-but blu-ray adoption is still a long way off and nowhere near as critical as DVD was. For the most part people don’t play movies on the computer either. With the exception of the power user and younger population pirating movies off the Internet. The later of which you can do on GNU/Linux no problem.

  • Jack

    As people are saying. Blu-ray isn’t all it is cracked up to be. It may have won a minor victory over HD- it is still far from a successful format when most people can’t play it for one reason or another.

  • kurkosdr

    –> EVERYONE knows one of the best ways to play bluray (m2ts) files is through the use of VLC/Mplayer. I ‘ve already tried it with this file: and it WORKED (but I ran out of CPU power on my coreduo 2ghz, unfortunately, you ‘ll need a powerful CPU for the job as VLC doesn’t have mutlicore support)

    –> HOWEVER, no there is NO opensource software that can read from copy protected BD+ blurays (= the copy protection latest bluray movies use). And unfortunately, there is no commercial software for linux too. There is something here: but it’s too much of work in progress.

    –> EMULATING a commercial Windows bluray player software (ex WinDVD) through Wine is too problematic.

    –> SO, the ONLY way that will WORK for sure is to copy the bluray disc to your harddrive through DumpHD and play it with VLC/Mplayer.

    The PROBLEM is that BD+ protection is constantly changed by Sony (why do you think even official bluray players need “updates” too?), so older versions of DumpHD become obsolete, and will have to wait until the new one to play new titles.

  • kurkosdr

    Oh, something I forgot.

    –> A page that will help you get passed the “get around the damn copy protection” stage:

    ——- ——

    Lots and lots of tips. This, along with the guide on the original article should provide a good start.

    Hope I helped

  • Stuart

    I think its been well document how to DUMP a bluray and play offline – but there is still no way of playing a disc by shoving it into a playing and watching it!