What You Need To Know About Watching Blu-Ray On Linux

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blu-ray on linuxIf you’ve been using Linux back since DVDs first came out, you might remember just how long it took before DVDs were somewhat supported. Heck, even now, if you want to play an encrypted DVD, you’ll need to add an extra repository and install a few extra packages just to be able to replay them with barely acceptable quality.

Once Blu-Rays came out, it wasn’t a surprise that it was going to be a while before they would also be supported under Linux. However, support has finally arrived and it’s actually easier to get Blu-Rays working than it is DVDs.

Important Disclaimers

It’s important to note, sadly, that support for Blu-Rays isn’t perfect, so you can’t expect to have all Blu-Rays to work. At least a majority of discs should work under Linux, but some discs have special encryptions in place that require functionality that isn’t put in place. Additionally, all BD+ discs are currently not supported at all. As a general rule, I always like to recommend converting all of your movies (of any sort) into a playable video file as they’re easier to play/manage, and the concept of using discs is starting to become obsolete (see Macbooks and Ultrabooks without an optical drive).

Finally, under Linux, VLC is the go-to app for Blu-Ray playback. Other media players are either unsupported or “at your own risk”. If you absolutely want to use a different media player, I recommend looking into Blu-Ray playback with MPlayer.

Set Up On Ubuntu

If you’re running the latest version of Ubuntu (13.04 “Raring Ringtail” at the time of writing or any future release), getting Blu-Rays to work is as simple as installing the VLC Media Player. Already famous as the most popular open source media player, VLC is capable of playing literally everything under the sun. Sure, it might not have the prettiest interface out of them all, but it is a highly functional interface – plus all that really matters is whether it plays your media or not anyway.

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Blu-Rays work under VLC because its installation also forces the installation of the packages libaacs0 and libbluray1, which are necessary to read those discs.

blu-ray on linux

The player probably will not launch automatically whenever you insert a Blu-Ray disc, so you’ll need to open up VLC yourself, then choose Media –> Open Disc. Then choose Blu-Ray from the assortment of media options, and make sure that No Disc Menus is selected to prevent VLC possibly crashing. Hit Play, and you should be ready to go.

Set Up On Fedora

If you’re on another Linux distribution such as Fedora, the process of getting Blu-Rays to work isn’t quite as easy. Although, with a little bit of effort, you can get it working in no time. This is still a lot less work than what was previously required to get Blu-Ray to work under any distribution of Linux.

Similar to Ubuntu, you’ll want to have the packages libaacs and libbluray installed on your Fedora system to support Bluray playback. While the Fedora repositories do not include these packages because of Fedora’s strict open source policies, the friendly folks over at the RPMFusion repository easily offer these packages.

blu-ray linux

Head over to their site, and add the free and non-free repositories according to their instructions. Then, after updating your package lists with the command :

sudo yum check-update

…run the command :

sudo yum install libaacs libbluray libbluray-java vlc

This command will install the needed packages as well as the VLC media player.

blu-ray on linux

You’re almost done. You now just need to update the decryption keys that are used by libaacs. This can easily be done with two commands in the terminal:

mkdir -p ~/.config/aacs/

and

cd ~/.config/aacs/ && wget http://vlc-bluray.whoknowsmy.name/files/KEYDB.cfg

After a restart, you should be able to start VLC, choose Media –> Open Disc, and choose Blu-Ray with the No Disc Menus option selected.

Conclusion

I’ve only included instructions for Ubuntu and Fedora because they are the top two distributions that use different package formats. If you use any of the Ubuntu variants or Linux Mint, following the Ubuntu instructions step-by-step should work for you as well. Otherwise, you should search the Internet for your own distribution along with Blu-Ray keywords, such as “arch linux bluray” or “arch linux libaacs libbluray“.

Do you watch Blu-Rays on your Linux system? Do you have tips and advice for Linux-using Blu-Ray watchers? If so, let us know in the comments.

Image Credit: Cati Kaoe

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24 Comments - Write a Comment

Reply

the0therMike62 .

one of the first things i do is install vlc and get rid of all the other media players.

Reply

Jobs

People still take Linux seriously? lol. Just get a proper desktop OS.

Lazza

When there will be one better than Linux, in the broader possible sense (better software, better security, better freedom, better speed, better stability) we will switch, don’t worry! :)

dragonmouth

“People still take Linux seriously?”

What do you mean “still”? Many corporations and governments are switching from the “proper desktop O/S” to Linux.

Chinmay Sarupria

Then which is a proper desktop OS for you? I hope your answer won’t be Windows.

Danny Stieben

More and more seriously every day. :)

Reply

Jay

I just tried to play TROY blu-ray and it kept on showing an error message as below
Blu-Ray error:
Missing AACS configuration file!
Your input can’t be opened:
VLC is unable to open the MRL ‘bluray:///dev/dvd’. Check the log for details.
Blu-Ray error:
Missing AACS configuration file!
Your input can’t be opened:
VLC is unable to open the MRL ‘bluray:///dev/dvd’. Check the log for details.

Please help.

Lazza

Did you install the configuration files as explained in the post?

Jay

Yes I did.

Danny Stieben

Yes, follow the AACS instructions under the Fedora section. If that didn’t work, then Troy is one of the few BluRays that still won’t work. Like I mentioned in the article, it’s pretty functional but not perfect.

Reply

Lazza

LOL the usual very funny policies of Fedora. Both of those packages are indeed free and open-source, and they don’t include them because they are not considered free software (by who?).

dragonmouth

“they are not considered free software (by who?).”

By Free Software Foundation.

dragonmouth

To me “free” means I can use it without having to pay for it, “non-free” means I have to reach into my wallet; Linux = free, Windows = non-free.

As far as I am concerned, the differences between “free” and “non-free” as defined by Richard Stallman and others are purely philosophical.

Lazza

It is NOT about money, it is about freedom. The problem arises because the English language is so “succint” that it doesn’t have two different word for different concepts (something you don’t pay, and something that does not prevent your freedom).

There is no philosophy here, but a lot of important consequences in terms of your user (and developer, if it is the case) rights.

FSF always makes this distinction, but both those libraries are “free as in freedom” because they have a LGPL license. This is why I am asking you what do you mean when you say they are not in Fedora because of the FSF. Do you have any link to official (FSF or Fedora) statements?

Danny Stieben

@Lazza: I think it may not be included because of potential legal implications. It might be open source but it could violate patents. Or something. That’s the reason why the regular, open source GStreamer codecs aren’t included either.

Reply

null

I don’t believe I have ever set my hands on a bluray before, but its quite embarrasing for linux that it took so long to even support bluray and even now not everything works. Marketshare is everything.

dragonmouth

“Marketshare is everything.”
As long as the marketshare is there, quality be damned.

Don Gateley

I understand your choice of a name.

dragonmouth

/grin/

Reply

Don Gateley

This showed me a perfect reason to avoid Fedora like the plague.

Danny Stieben

I don’t mind using Fedora, really. It’s more directed towards power users, so doing stuff like that is pretty normal.

Reply

kmian

so dissapointed in linux ,all my time went to seach to right codec put in terminal so something works ,but no nothing works even still
so we have poor os with windows and linux ,ubuntu what ever and you have to choose less bad, so annoying.
hope that someday ,someone get right idea for user friendly os
and you need no more terminal shit and everything works ,more or less
this is my pray. :-) have a nice day and so sorry my bad englis writing

ps NO bluray playback ?jessus !

Reply

Angelo

hi at all, I have a problem, when I view bluray film with this method I view a film but the sequence of film is irregular, pieces of film and pieces of trailer and “extra” of bluray are mixed during the vision of film. I think maybe is the “no disc menu” the problem, exist any method for fix this problem and/or viewer the bluray film with disc menu activated?
thanks

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