In a moment of uncertainty, you may see your cat on your couch feeling as though a thought bubble could appear over their furry head wondering, “can laptop play Blu Ray?” Cats do stuff like that – they’re weird. They stare. Of course, you could be projecting your own thoughts and wondering if that laptop that you have in your closet might play a Blu Ray disc, but you’re not really sure. It’s okay. Believe it or not, the question gets asked all the time, and the answer is usually maybe.
Getting to Know How Blu Ray Works
Older laptops probably don’t have the integrated capacity to play Blu Ray discs. At the same time, that doesn’t mean you can’t watch your disc on your computer. Wait, what? Yep. All that means is that you need to buy an external Blu Ray drive to connect to your laptop, and then you can finally watch that movie you’ve been meaning to watch. Newer laptops made within the past seven or eight years might have a Blu Ray player installed. There are a couple of ways you can check. The easiest is to put the disc in and see what happens. If it reads, then yay, you’ve got a Blu Ray player. If it doesn’t, then you’re out of luck until you either replace your current drive, or you purchase an external one.
Another way to check to see if you have a Blu Ray player is to simply look at your laptop. You should see a label somewhere that indicates you’ve got a Blu Ray player installed. It might be on the media player itself, so make sure you examine your laptop closely, so you don’t miss it. You can so get into your Computer Management by clicking on your Start menu in Windows, then going to Windows Administrative Tools and then finally to Computer Management. Once you’re in Computer Management, click on Device Manager and then look for any disc drives or optical drives. If you have a Blu Ray player, you’ll find it and be able to see its properties as long as the correct drivers are installed. If you don’t have one, you won’t see it in the list.
Drivers drive the program, connection, devices, and other related items forward. Think of Driving Miss Daisy – the driver drove her around everywhere because that’s what drivers do. If you don’t have the drivers installed, then your hardware isn’t going to go forward and do what you want it to do. External optical drives usually need drivers to function properly, and so do internal optical drives. Plug-and-play systems should recognize the device and automatically search for the necessary drivers to get the drive installed. If the drivers do not auto-install, then you’re going to have to do a quick Google search to see if you can find them online. In most cases, finding them is easy as pie. Be aware, though, that you want to go to a safe site to get your drivers because if you’re not careful, you could end up accidentally downloading malware. If that happens, you’ve got a whole other mess on your hands.
To help you navigate those waters, here are a few sites that are safe according to Lifewire. They verified all of them. A word to the wise – always try to find the driver you need from the manufacturer’s website first because that is going to be the safest way to go. If that doesn’t work, you can try the following sites.
- DriverGuide.com – been around for decades and is trustworthy, but requires you to register before downloading.
- Download.com – organized well and no registration required, but older drivers may not be found here.
- TechSpot – well-organized, no registration needed, but you won’t find too many newer drivers at this site.
- DriversBay – registration not required, but the selection is small.
- DriverPack Solution – user-friendly and searchable by device, but not all drivers go back to the manufacturer.
- Soft32.com – easy to search, no registration required, but lots of dead links so may not be worth the time to find what you’re looking for.
- DriverZone.com – registration not required and drivers are easily found, but the drivers are not kept up to date so you may come across some dead links.
- Softpedia.com – user-friendly, no registration required, but it is difficult to tell if you’re getting an older or newer driver, so it may be best to search for the manufacturer’s driver directly and compare what you’re seeing.
- NoDevice.com – no user account required, drivers are located directly on the site, and you’ll have to confirm you’re human each time you download something.
- SoftwareDriverDownload.com – no registration required, but you may have to register at the site where the driver is located, and the site is not well-organized.
Avoid these sites:
- DriversKit.com – redirects you to a site you’ll have to pay for and you don’t ever need to pay for drivers.
- DriverFiles.net – does the same thing as DriversKit.com
Before Buying a Blu Ray Player…
Don’t forget to read up on your laptop specifications to make sure that the player you’re interested in purchasing is going to work for your system. You may be wondering, ahem, the cat may be wondering, “can laptop play Blu Ray now?” Possibly, but only if you made sure that the player was compatible with your laptop first. Specific optical drives are designed to work with certain laptops, so you can’t just go out to Best Buy and pick up the first Blu Ray drive you see. Also, consider the age of your laptop. If it is considerably older, you may be better off upgrading your laptop first before purchasing a Blu Ray player, mainly because older laptops don’t respond as well to newer technology.
As a bonus, if you buy a newer laptop and you happen to have a newer TV, you may be able to connect the two and watch the movie directly on the big screen. You would use an HDMI cable to connect the two assuming that you had an HDMI port on both the laptop and the TV.
Do keep in mind that a Blu Ray player is not the same as a DVD player. Yes, the discs are the same size, but they are not entirely interchangeable. In other words, a Blu Ray player will also play DVDs, but a DVD player will not play Blu Ray discs. It’s two different types of tech, and because DVD players are older, they’re not backward compatible. If you’re still not sure about what you have, you can always check with the manufacturer, too, to be on the safe side. Remember, you wouldn’t want to get the wrong drive because it could cause other problems later on.
Don’t forget that Blu Ray and DVD are not the same technology, and don’t forget to make sure you get the right drive for your system. If it’s an older system, consider upgrading. An upgrade may be more cost-effective than a drive that could fry your system. If you’re not sure about what you have or what you need to get, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Major manufacturers have a tech support line for a reason – to help you figure stuff out. Plus, they love getting easy calls like “can laptop play Blu Ray” or “what kind of optical drive do I have?” If you’ve ever worked in a call center, you know that easy calls drive your metrics up and everybody loves that. Just make sure you know the make and model of your laptop before you call in and they’ll be happy to help you.