The Cost of Upgrading your PC with Blu-Ray

The True cost of adding Blu-Ray support to your computer

Steve Smith explains why adding a Blu-Ray drive to your computer will not automatically mean you can play Blu-Ray discs, and how much you can expect to spend on your computer to make it happen.

Episode #5-35 released on May 19, 2015

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For those who remember the Blu-Ray versus HD DVD war, we all know who won the war. This ushered a time where Blu-ray is now the defacto standard of larger optical drives. And, for a long time, computer drives and burners were exceptionally expensive, but a few facts of life will still elude the masses, and today, I plan on explaining what the price on entry implies, and whether or not you should upgrade to Blu-ray in your computer. Ultimately, though, the choice will be yours.

First, Blu-ray in a computer will require you have access to SATA connectors. Forget IDE, does not support IDE because that is too slow for the amount of bandwidth a Blu-Ray optical drive will push.

According to Cyberlink, a provider of Blu-Ray playback software, you need a dual or quad core processor, optical drive, 256 of VRAM from a GPU, Windows XP SP 2+, Windows Vista, Windows 7, 8, 8.1. 1 GB of System RAM, and a HDCP compliant device, like a LCD with DVI, HDMI or Display Port connectivity. Obviously they suggest Cyberlink Power DVD 7 Ultra or better. Currently the software is about $100 USD. More exact specifications available in the sources of the show notes.

Now, some of you may be wondering why I am doing this episode. I have to explain somethings before you decide to upgrade your PC to Blu-Ray. The player, includes the codec, which will update with time, and is not included in Windows, or any other platform. So, unlike DVD playback, no platform can natively play Blu-Ray without a special player, and open source ones are unstable at best.

Besides the codec, you need a special optical drive. You conventional DVD drive uses a common red laser eye to read all discs. This is incapable of reading Blu-Ray optical discs. An optical reading Blu-Ray drive, forget the ability to burn them, is roughly $65 USD. If you also want to burn Blu-Ray discs, add $50 to the mix.

What makes the Blu-Ray optical drive different, is the optical eye assembly, which has 2 optical laser eyes. A red laser, and a purple laser meant for Blu-Ray.

If you are only interested in Blu-Ray playback, a dedicated Blu-Ray player, which can, also, play DVD discs, will set you back $50 USD from Walmart, if you are willing to go with a refurbished one, or a non-standard manufacture. Other new players will start at approximately $80 USD or more.

The choice then is essentially yours. Pay the cost of entry on the PC, or use a dedicated player.

Host : Steve Smith | Music : Jonny Lee Hart | Editor : Steve Smith | Producer : Zed Axis Productions

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