Blu-ray Disc playback has long been a white whale for Mac owners, and if the Mac mini and MacBook Air are any indication, the chances of seeing any optical drive incorporated into future Apple machines is getting slimmer and slimmer. The drives that you can currently hook up to your Mac only allow you to author; you can’t even watch Blu-ray movies without dual-booting into Windows. Or at least that’s the way it was up until now. MCE Technologies has finally found a solution to the problem, and is now offering its Blu-ray Player software as a free add-on with its internal drive for the Mac Pro ($149) and external USB 2.0 and eSATA drive ($199). If you want to buy the software on its own, it’ll cost you $60.
MCE’s concept: if you buy one of these drives, you can finally watch those Star Wars Blu-rays—the original trilogy, of course—on the beautiful display of your iMac while running OS X. A one-year license is included, with the option to purchase a lifetime license at a discounted rate; it’s not totally clear what that rate is yet. The drives themselves are nicely equipped, with up to 12x Blu-ray recording in addition to playback. While they’re not great-looking, the solution looks like it’s going to get the job done at a reasonable price. We’ll be interested to see if any other Blu-ray playback apps pop up for Macs in the near future.