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Question blu-ray sata drives, 4k? Recommendations (with or without 4k)

mikeymikec

Lifer
May 19, 2011
14,017
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It's starting to bug me, not being able to watch BRs on my PC. I was on the verge of committing to what I thought would be a reasonable bet when I noticed in the Q&A section that the drive apparently doesn't read 4K BRs. Admittedly I don't have a 4K screen, nor does my BR player downstairs play them either, but it seems like not a particularly forward-thinking choice to shell out on what is a relatively expensive optical drive with a known shortcoming on day 1 let alone a few years down the line.

Am I being silly here? Is 4K playback a common feature for BR SATA drives? What are peoples' recommendations here?
 

damian101

Member
Aug 11, 2020
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You need a "UHD friendly" drive for that: https://www.myce.com/news/the-ultimate-ultra-hd-blu-ray-list-with-recommendation-of-best-drive-83254/
These drives don't support UHD Blu-rays on newer firmware versions, but that isn't a problem anymore as it's now really easy to flash unofficial firmware, which is needed to sidegrade and then downgrade to an older firmware version: https://www.makemkv.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=18933.
As far as I remember "DE" firmware only has some bytes flipped to allow firmware downgrade, and "MK" firmware is modded firmware, with added support for UHD Blu-rays on the new UHD unfriendly firmware versions.
 

mikeymikec

Lifer
May 19, 2011
14,017
3,997
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Much appreciated. My take-away from this is that if I want an easy life, don't bother trying to get a UHD BR drive.

Is the lack of availability a pandemic thing or a longer-term situation?
 

Insert_Nickname

Diamond Member
May 6, 2012
3,861
515
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Am I being silly here? Is 4K playback a common feature for BR SATA drives? What are peoples' recommendations here?
Forget 4K blu-ray on PC. The list of hoops you have to jump through to get it working are mind-boggling.

First, you need an Intel-based PC. AMD are effectively locked out. Not just any Intel PC, it has to have support for SGX extensions. Further, whether this is enabled is on a mainboard to mainboard basis. Unless you can confirm, it's essentially buy'n'try.
Then you need one of the few UHD BD drives on the market with support for AACS 2.
Thirdly, you need a licence to PowerDVD (18+, I think)

All-in-all, it's much easier (and probably cheaper) to get an Xbox One, or a standalone player.

Regular blu-ray are a lot easier. A BD-ROM drive, HDMI or DisplayPort connection, and appropriate software, and you're good to go.
 

damian101

Member
Aug 11, 2020
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Much appreciated. My take-away from this is that if I want an easy life, don't bother trying to get a UHD BR drive.

Is the lack of availability a pandemic thing or a longer-term situation?
"UHD friendly" Blu-ray drives aren't supposed to exist.
There are official UHD Blu-ray drives but I think you need some special software for playback, and you can't rip UHD Blu-rays with them.
 

mikeymikec

Lifer
May 19, 2011
14,017
3,997
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@Insert_Nickname

Do you have any idea why the situation is as restrictive as that? Also, is DVI no-go? My primary boot OS is Linux, but I have Win10 as well. I understand that Linux and BR playback is potentially messy.
 

DeathReborn

Platinum Member
Oct 11, 2005
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I bought the LG BH16NS40 years ago and it does work with 4K Blu-Ray discs, never changed the firmware but it still resides in my HTPC.
 
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Insert_Nickname

Diamond Member
May 6, 2012
3,861
515
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"UHD friendly" Blu-ray drives aren't supposed to exist.
There are official UHD Blu-ray drives but I think you need some special software for playback, and you can't rip UHD Blu-rays with them.
UHD Blurays use the physical BDXL format, but that does not mean a regular BDXL drive can read them. Due to AACS.

For software, there is PowerDVD and PowerDVD. But don't think it's done with that, as you still need an SGX compatible platform for playback...

@Insert_Nickname

Do you have any idea why the situation is as restrictive as that? Also, is DVI no-go? My primary boot OS is Linux, but I have Win10 as well. I understand that Linux and BR playback is potentially messy.
Rights holders do not like when you can copy something too easily. "Simple" as that. That it becomes almost impossible for legitimate customers to actually watch the content is viewed as just collateral damage.

DVI will work fine, provided the monitor supports HDCP. HDMI is just DVI with a different connector after all.

Linux? I don't know of any legal way to play blurays under Linux, unfortunately. There are ways around, but I'm not sure we're allowed to discuss those.

(We do have a small legal loophole here in Denmark, where you're allowed to break DRM if it prevents you from accessing content on DVD/Bluray. F.x. if you run Linux. At least I still think we do. YMMV depending on where you are of course)
 

damian101

Member
Aug 11, 2020
102
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To be considered "UHD friendly" an optical drive has to support BDXL Blu-rays and the LibreDrive operation mode. The LibreDrive operation mode is what has been removed in newer firmware versions.
 

mikeymikec

Lifer
May 19, 2011
14,017
3,997
136
I don't get it though, did something spur the decision to be super douchebags wrt BDXL? Did something unexpected happen with BRs? Or does "they got ripped" still count as unexpected to the entertainment biz?

And how come older firmware worked then got superseded with firmware that didn't work?
 

mnewsham

Lifer
Oct 2, 2010
14,327
334
136
I have a BDXL drive that can read and write BDXLs, and it can even read UHD blurays, but it can't playback UHD blurays.

The only way to playback on my drive is to use a program to break the encyption and throw it into an .MKV file for local playback.

The hoops you have to jump through for actual UHD bluray playback on windows 10 is stupid, and if you have a proper home theater sound system (5.1/7.1+ potentally with Atmos or DTS:X) windows 10 is even worse for properly handeling the higher end audio codecs.

I'd simply not recommend using a PC for UHD bluray playback for most people, it's just not worth it, and if you've got a proper home theater system, you're better off using a dedicated UHD Bluray player, or an xbox (or soon PS5).
 

Insert_Nickname

Diamond Member
May 6, 2012
3,861
515
126
To be considered "UHD friendly" an optical drive has to support BDXL Blu-rays and the LibreDrive operation mode. The LibreDrive operation mode is what has been removed in newer firmware versions.
?

What do you mean with "UHD friendly"? There are proper UHD drives like the LG WH16NS60 or Pioneer BDR-212UBK available. They'll read UHDs without modifications. Playback is another matter entirely.
 

damian101

Member
Aug 11, 2020
102
38
61
Official UHD drives support BDXL and AACS 2.0 so you can watch Blu-rays on them, but only with the right software and hardware I guess.
UHD friendly drives support BDXL Blu-rays and LibreDrive mode for AACS 2.0 encrypted UHD Blu-rays.
With the right firmware it should be possible for a drive to be able to playback UHD Blu-rays the standard way and allow LibreDrive access.
 

Insert_Nickname

Diamond Member
May 6, 2012
3,861
515
126
Official UHD drives support BDXL and AACS 2.0 so you can watch Blu-rays on them, but only with the right software and hardware I guess.
UHD friendly drives support BDXL Blu-rays and LibreDrive mode for AACS 2.0 encrypted UHD Blu-rays.
With the right firmware it should be possible for a drive to be able to playback UHD Blu-rays the standard way and allow LibreDrive access.
Of course you can circumvent DRM, but the standard/normal way to playback a UHD is with DRM enabled. Anything else is completely unsupported, and may even be illegal depending on where you are in the world.

Yup, it sucks.

(disclaimer, I'm not a lawyer by any stretch of the imagination)
 

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