Macgo launches first Mac OS X Blu-ray player app

Apple head honcho Steve Jobs might be vocal about the death of physical media, but that doesn't mean Mac users aren't crying out for Blu-ray support on their dream machines. Macgo, an audio/video tool specialist, is hoping to cash in on this demand with the world's first Mac OS X-compatible Blu-ray playback software.

Designed as a universal media player - and compatible with both Windows and Mac OS X, for those with a dual-boot system - the imaginatively-named Mac Blu-ray Player adds the ability to play high-definition Blu-ray content back without needing to boot into an alternative operating system.

There are some restrictions, of course: you'll need a machine with at least a Core 2 Duo processor running at 2.4GHz or above, and a copy of Mac OS X 10.5 or higher. You'll also need a Blu-ray drive, and that could prove a sticking point for some: Apple doesn't provide a Blu-ray drive option on any of its hardware, opting instead to offer customers a DVD/CD combo drive known as a 'SuperDrive.'

Thankfully, that's not a complete deal-breaker: for those looking for the latter, any USB-connected external Blu-ray drive will give a suitably-specced Mac the hardware it needs to take advantage of Macgo's software.

The reason there's never been an official Blu-ray option on Apple's hardware range is simple: licensing. To add the capabilities to access Blu-ray discs into the operating system would require Apple to pay for a licence, which it has been traditionally unwilling to do.

That's something that Macgo's software claims to work around. According to the company's product details the Mac Blu-ray Player is capable of removing the AACS and BD+ encryption used to secure high-definition video content on Blu-ray discs, allowing them to be played back on an operating system - in this case Mac OS X - which doesn't include the capabilities itself.

It's not clear whether Macgo is doing so legitimately: the wording on the company's site, which makes frequent reference to 'removing' various encryption schemes, suggests that the software might be doing so in a way with which the Blu-ray licensing authority may be unhappy.

For now, however, Macgo's Mac Blu-ray Player is pretty much the only way to get Blu-ray playback on a Mac OS X-based machine - short of dual-booting with Microsoft Windows. To encourage users to try the software out, Macgo is offering a three-month free trial.

The software can be downloaded from the Macgo website now, in both Mac OS X and Windows flavours.