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What is Blu-ray?
Blu-ray is the disc storage medium that has replaced the DVD format, allowing you to store around 6 times more data than a DVD. Blu-ray discs use a different wavelength than DVDs or CDs, they look similar to DVDs and even the disc menus are very similar. The two main advantages of using Blu Ray discs are that they can store a larger amount of data and that the video and audio quality is better. The two disadvantages of Blu-ray discs are that they are expensive and that CD or DVD drives do not support them, so to use them, you have to buy a Blu-ray supported optical drive.
Image Credit: www.soundbysinger.com
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How is Blu-ray Supported?
Blu-ray drives use codecs, which are small algorithm programs tused o compress data before storing it on a disc. Blu-ray drives are able to store larger amount of data on a disc because of these new algorithms. There are two main codecs that are used by the drives. These codecs are supported by many different software packages, but are not supported by the Windows 7 Media Player. The two packages are:
- VC-1 - This codec was implemented by Microsoft in Windows Video 9
- H.264 – Also commonly known as MPEG-4 Part 10
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Making It Work in Windows 7
Unfortunately, Microsoft did not include Blu-ray support in Windows 7 Media Player so it is not possible to play Blu-ray in Windows 7 without using a third-party tool. Microsoft stated that adding Blu-ray support to Windows 7 would increase the cost of the operating system by $30. Realistically, it wasn’t a bad decision by Microsoft because they knew that Blu-ray was expensive and that the amount of users using Blu-ray drives in their computers was very slim.
But there's no need to despair, there are several ways to add Blu-ray support. Users who want to add Blu-ray support in Windows 7 can buy third party software that will cost them less than $30.
Your best three options are below:
This software will allow you to play Blu-ray, DVD and HD-DVD with Windows 7 operating systems.
Experience brilliant video quality with this multimedia player. This software will allow you to play Blu-ray, DVD and HD video and you can also play a large number of other multimedia files, including FLV, 3GP, WMV-HD, etc.
This plug-in can easily be installed on any computer. Once installed, it integrates with the Windows 7 Media Player and allows you to play your Blu-ray videos without needing to install a separate player.
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The majority of XP users learned to live without DVD support in their operating system for a long period because they didn’t have a problem finding third-party programs to fill the gap. Similarly, Windows 7 users have been without Blu-ray support for a long time, but now they can easily play Blu-ray format audio or video by installing a plug-in or third-party software into their Windows setup.
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Source: Author's own experience.