Is it possible to play Blu-ray with Popcorn Hour A-200? The answer is YES. But don’t take for granted that the NMT A-200 will read Blu-ray Disc from a Blu-ray Disc drive via USB connection. You can connect a BD drive with PHR A-200, but it will play DVD only, not Blu-ray. This is an issue of licensing rather than manufacturing, so do not blame the device. In fact, the Popcorn Hour A-200 is good enough for Blu-ray contents playback- both home-made AVCHD videos and ripped Blu-ray files can be played without hassle.
What will I need for playing Blu-ray with Popcorn Hour A-200?
To play commercial Blu-ray with Popcorn Hour A-200, you can rip Blu-ray movie off the disc and play the unprotected movie from an external hard drive or PC. To rip Blu-ray for PHR A-200, you’ll need a computer with Blu-ray Disc drive and Blu-ray ripper software installed. Blu-ray contents bites up much space, so make sure you have enough memory to store ripped Blu-ray movie. And be careful to choose one Blu-ray ripper app that supports the latest BD keys. Here I recommend Pavtube ByteCopy (Windows/Mac), which is offered with permanent license and life-time free upgrade.
Ways for Blu-ray ripping: BDMV/M2TS/ISO/MKV
The Popcorn Hour A-200 is capable of reading Blu-ray contents from BDMV folder, M2TS streams, Blu-ray ISO image and MKV container format. You can compare the Blu-ray backup methods and find a best way for yourself. This article explores the Blu-ray to MKV backup, which is superior to other methods in the author’s opinion. MKV is favored because it is a container file format, in which there can be many audio, video and subtitles streams, allowing the user to store a complete movie in a single file.
Copying Blu-ray to MKV as easy/flexible as possible
Lossless Blu-ray to MKV ripping can be shorted into 2 clicks with Pavtube ByteCopy: one click to load BD and the other to export MKV file. Check in Lossless BD to MKV backup for details.
Although PHR A-200 is compatible with ripped DVD and Blu-ray files, you might encounter no audio issues when playing some Blu-ray movies. This is because these Blu-ray Discs contain HD audio (Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD, LPCM) that Popcorn Hour A-200 can not decode. But, the NMT A-200 can pass-through HD audio for your AV receiver to decode, so you'll need an AVR that supports Dolby TrueHD & DTS-HD to hear them. In case that your AVR does not decode HD 7.1 audio, you can compress the HD audio to Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS Digital 5.1, AAC 5.1 or stereo audio when ripping Blu-ray Disc with Pavtube ByteCopy. Find detailed guide below.
Blu-ray to MKV ripping guide: lossless video with audio down to AC3 5.1
2. Hook up an external Blu-ray Disc drive with your laptop/desktop (if there is not an internal one), and place a Blu-ray Disc into the BD drive.
Step 1. Load movie. Click the “Load from Disc” icon to import movie files from Blu-ray Disc for backing up to MKV. By default the main movie is checked exclusively. DVD disc, DVD ISO, DVD Video-TS folder are also supported to import to Pavtube ByteCopy for ripping DVD to Popcorn Hour A-200.
Step 2: To copy Blu-ray to Popcorn Hour A-200 with all audio streams and subtitles, simply click "Format" to find “Lossless/encoded Multi-track MKV (* mkv)” under “Multi-track Video” catalogue. This is a straight rip of a Blu-ray file structure, which includes chapter info too. Reading Rip Blu-ray with MakeMKV
Step 3. Down convert Blu-ray HD audio to AC3 5.1 audio. You can do as below:
1. Click "Settings" on the interface.
2. In popup window switch to “Audio” tab.
3. Find the Blu-ray HD audio stream (DTS-HD, Dolby TrueHD, etc), check “Encode” box.
4. Set audio codec to AC3, channels to 6 from respective drop-down box.
Step 4. When back to the main interface, click “Convert” button to start ripping the Blu-ray movie with AC3 5.1 audio. Blu-ray video stream will be copied without any change and HD audio be converted to AC3 5.1 stream. And selected Blu-ray video, audio and subtitles will be saved as a MKV file.
It’s possible to play files stored on your computer without having to copy them onto the media player’s hard drive. In fact, it would be perfectly feasible to use the A-200 without hard drive for as long as you like. You can transfer files via UPnP (a Windows Media Player share, for example), a shared folder or the MyiHome software supplied. For streaming movies to NMT A200, you are advised to compress Blu-ray video with ByteCopy. Simply switch to Video tab in Step 3, and set video bitrate to 3000-8000kbps. This will free you from stutter and freeze issues.
In addition, this output MKV files not only can be streamed on Popcorn Hour A-200, this Blu-ray MKV rips also can be used in Popcorn Hour A-500 PRO, Popcorn Hour A-500, Popcorn Hour A-400, Popcorn Hour A-410, Popcorn Hour C-300, Popcorn Hour S-300, etc.
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