fighting the last war – playing Blu-ray movies on Linux

How exactly did the product meeting go.

We never had a graphical desktop and so lets just continue on with a 25 x 80 character green text only screen, the customer always loved those.

Today a personal computer or even a smart phone that did not have a multi core processor, graphical environment and gigabytes of memory would be an anachronism.  Coming out with a device that supported less than this would begin a slow death of the company that produced it.

A few years ago, I wanted to create a multi media personal computer at home to show off and provide excellent functionality.  I also wanted to do it using open source software. How hard could this really be?  There are a lot of popular well done open source programs created by talented people that I can use to fulfill my dreams.

My wife, who must be bucking for sainthood, took all of this in stride.  Sometimes it is easy to overlook just how usable consumer grade products are.  All of the big name companies do a heck of a job.  There are no problems with font sizes on menus and users don’t need to think about installing codecs.

In the end, we did have a multimedia PC but it ended up being powered by windows 7. It was simply not possible to create a complete solution up to the standard of the rest of the family.  This was partly due to the inability to play Blu-ray disks and partly due to other services requiring silverlight.

Lets try again

The computer still works but due to some technical difficulties I was going to have to reinstall windows. Perhaps now that a few years have passed a lot of other Linux people people have Blu-ray’s that they want to watch.  Perhaps playing them is no longer a problem.

It doesn’t seem to be the case.  There are plenty of people who discuss their solution to playing a Blu-ray but they all have caveats.

  • plays Blu-ray’s produced before 2012
  • plays some Blu-ray’s
  • needs to rip the Blu-ray to disk and then play
  • plays some Blu-ray but without the actual menu

The real solution in the current century is to support streaming.  You might have a few dvd’s laying around at home but new movies won’t be picked up at the rental store but via Amazon, Netflix or some other streaming service.

I looked into trying to get streaming to work but that was more difficult than coming up with a blu-ray solution.

Streaming from Amazon

Amazon streaming requirements

Streaming Netflix

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