Despite the fact that my Mac mini (not to mention a series of Mac models in the years preceding that) is my primary entertainment device, I’m a johnny-come-lately when it comes to Blu-rays. I was never interested in them. DVDs, digital media files of various types, and (more recently) streaming have been enough for me.
A few of my more recent DVD purchases, however, have come in the form of dual DVD/Blu-ray editions. This piqued my curiosity, and since my mini is connected to an external optical disc burner that can handle Blu-rays as well as DVDs (I never bought it for Blu-rays; I was just trying to future-proof myself a bit) and I have a 1080p display, I looked into Blu-ray player applications and decided to give Macgo Blu-ray Player a shot.
I started with version 2.16.10, using Hellsing Ultimate Volumes IX-X as my guinea pig. The menus weren’t usable by mouse (not a deal breaker, since the arrow keys and return key worked just fine for menu navigation), and there was that “unregistered version” warning plastered over the screen; but it worked well enough as a proof of concept that I bought and registered the application.
Then I got brave. I decided to spring for a movie that I’d been intrigued by for years but which I’d never acquired because I’d never managed to find a DVD edition that (1) I could be confident was uncut and (2) didn’t cost an arm and a leg. It was Possession (Andrzej Zulawski, 1981), and Mondo Vision had just released it on Blu-ray.
The film looked positively gorgeous, but there were a couple of flaws. The first flaw: I couldn’t find a way to turn off the English subtitles, even though I was listening to the original English mono soundtrack. (More accurately, the option was plainly there in the menus; it just didn’t work.) The second, and much more serious, flaw: the movie froze in two scenes. It was reproducible, the lockups always occurring at exactly the same points.
I worried about the possibility that this could be the result of a damaged disc. MakeMKV, however, successfully ripped the movie onto a spare hard drive, and I was able to watch it from there using VLC without incident. (Possession turned out to be a more-than-worthwhile purchase, btw.)
Some time not long after that, the Macgo folks offered me an inexpensive upgrade path to their Pro version for being a recent customer. And since the Pro version promised various feature improvements and bug fixes, I chose to go for it. That was version 3.0.0. I tried this one with Possession.
And hallelujah! The menus were now navigable by mouse. The subtitles could be turned off. And the freezes were a thing of the past. Everything worked as smooth as butter.
Since then, I’ve bought only a very few more Blu-rays, so it’s not like I’ve conducted extensive or thorough testing yet. Macgo Blu-ray Player Pro has also been updated 17 times since then. But just last month I used version 3.1.9 to watch Firefly (the complete series) and Serenity on Blu-ray, and everything looked and sounded magnificent and functioned well. The menus required keys for navigation, but i suspect navigation by mouse may not be a capability shared by all Blu-rays. Only time will tell.
But so far, so good. I’m pleased.