A Blu-ray player that can make friends with my iMac
October 18, 2012 6:19 PM   Subscribe

Help me find a (cheap!) Blu-ray player. I have an iMac, and want to stream video from my computer to the player to the TV...

So I have some questions about Bluray players, and as I've never really owned one, I'm a bit in the dark about functionality. I'll use it to, of course, watch Bluray disks that I rent from the video store, but I'm more curious about the connectivity to my computer. I have a 720p HDTV, so I don't need to worry about 1080p.

I have a Intel iMac, which has built in Wifi. I would like a Bluray player that can connect via Wifi and either a) transfer videos to an internal hard drive on the player or b) stream video I control from my iMac. Or both. I also have an ethernet cable that I can connect to the player, and with that I could transfer files to the player--if it has a hard drive--or perhaps stream via the ethernet...though I don't know if that would be feasible either.

So as you can see, I'm trying to use my iMac as a base to a full-on media player. I know there are Roku and Apple TV and the like; I'm looking at them as well, but I like having the Bluray player function...playing actual, physcial disks.

A DVR function would be another nice perk, but I'm sure that will be a whole other price range, so I can do without that.
posted by zardoz to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
Best answer: This one looks good: LG BP620, $114.00

Usually these things are capable of accessing a DLNA server (like Serviio) through the wireless connection. You point the server to your videos on your iMac, and use the input selection on whichever device. If you use the blu-ray player above, just string an HDMI from it to the TV and you're set.
posted by carsonb at 6:36 PM on October 18, 2012

Actually, this Panasonic is cheaper and allows for smartphone control, cool!
posted by carsonb at 6:49 PM on October 18, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks carsonb, DLNA! That's the other factor I forgot. Am I correct in thinking if a player is DLNA-capable then I should be able to stream with no problem?
posted by zardoz at 7:13 PM on October 18, 2012

Best answer: If you can get away with a USB connection, here's an external BluRay drive I bought for my MacBook Air for $90. You can use VLC and some open-source libraries to play BluRay discs. Connect an HDMI cable from your iMac to your TV and you can watch BluRays that way.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:39 PM on October 18, 2012

Yep DLNA is really easy to set up. Install the server on your compuer, point it at your videos, and wait for the wireless devices to synch up. I imagine some devices are tetchy with the connection, so caveat emptor an' all that.
posted by carsonb at 7:48 PM on October 18, 2012

Response by poster: That's interesting, I didn't think of a direct connection with a long HDMI cable...I already have an ethernet cable snaked across the apartment between the TV and computer. But an HDMI cable, directly from the computer to the TV. That's just crazy enough to work! Would they talk to one another, though?
posted by zardoz at 7:48 PM on October 18, 2012

If your iMac is on the top of this list, then they would talk to one another. That list also suggests third-party options if your model does not support audio and video out of the MiniDisplay port.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:14 PM on October 18, 2012

I take that last bit back, actually. That's not what it says. Sorry. But if your Mac is at the top of that list, a MiniDisplay-to-HDMI adapter can pass both audio and video.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:17 PM on October 18, 2012

Response by poster: thanks, Blazecock, but checking that list it looks like my iMac--from 2007--is far too ancient to work. DLNA, hard drive it is, then.

Sorry for all the threadsitting and follow ups, but one more: as for DLNA, would I be able to stream 720p video via WiFi? Sounds like a tall order.
posted by zardoz at 8:28 PM on October 18, 2012

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