by Paul Sanders
By now you know that Blu-ray disc players are the next big thing in home theater entertainment. You may already have upgraded your old DVD player to a Blu-ray disc player for the high-definition picture and sound. Now that you've upgraded your home entertainment center to high definition, you may be looking at the video quality on your computer and wondering if you can't upgrade that to Blu-ray as well. Well, you can. Blu-ray drives and other optical drives are available on a number of new laptop and desktop computers, or you can install a new Blu-ray drive on your existing computer. Follow these simple steps to learn how to install your own Blu-ray drive and upgrade your computer to high-definition sound and video.
Check the Blu-ray drive's system requirements. Always check the system requirements on software or hardware to make sure your computer can support it. Blu-ray drives are state-of-the-art technology that may be far enough ahead of your computer to require that you add more memory and even a sound or video card to take advantage of the high-definition sound and video output. You will also need to decide between a Blu-ray drive that plays and writes new Blu-ray discs and a Blu-ray disc player drive that just plays Blu-ray discs. In addition, your video card or integrated video controller needs to comply with high-definition content protection (HDCP) standards and the connection between them that supports HDCP signals, like HDMI or DVI cables.
Prepare your computer. Read the Blu-ray player installation instructions. If needed, install the Blu-ray drivers and software before you start installing the disc drive. Unplug the computer and all peripheral devices. If possible, install new components on your computer in a non-carpeted area to reduce static electricity. Be careful not to touch any circuit boards inside your computer during the install because static electricity from your body can damage electronic components. Carefully label all the cables and wires with the masking tape and take note of where they are connected. Remove the cover from your computer case.
Set the drive jumpers of the new and existing drives. To install a Blu-ray drive next to an existing drive, you will probably want to make the new Blu-ray drive the "master," or main drive. The existing CD or DVD drive is the "slave," or secondary drive. Consult your Blu-ray drive's user manual for how to do this. Remember which drive you have chosen as the master.
Make space for your new Blu-ray drive. If you are replacing an existing DVD drive, carefully disconnect all cables and connections and remove the old drive from the computer case. If you are simply adding the Blu-ray drive, you may need to remove one of the plastic panels covering the space for new drives. Some computer cases have rails which attach to the Blu-ray drive itself and then slide into position. Other cases use screws or holding clips to secure a drive. Make sure the Blu-ray drive is adequately secured before continuing.
Attach the appropriate cables to your Blu-ray drive. There will be three cables that attach to your new Blu-ray drive: an interface cable, a power cable and an audio cable. These cables will attach your Blu-ray drive to the motherboard. Consult your user manual for instructions on how to find the connection ports on your motherboard.
There will be an existing interface cable, shaped like a ribbon, which connects to your existing CD drive. If the existing interface cable does not have a connector in both the center and end of the ribbon, you will need to replace it with the cable that came with your Blu-ray drive. Plug the very end of the interface cable into the master Blu-ray drive, described in Step 3. Plug the middle connector into the slave disk drive.
Attach a power cable from the motherboard to the new Blu-ray drive. If there isn't a free power cable on your motherboard, you may need to purchase one.
Attach the audio cable from the motherboard to the Blu-ray drive.
Restart your computer. Replace the cover and reconnect all power cords and peripheral devices. Turn your computer on and wait for the system to boot up. Install the drivers and software for the Blu-ray drive now, if you haven't already. Search your computer settings to see if a new Blu-ray drive is recognized. If you don?t see the icon for your new Blu-ray drive, you may need to follow the troubleshooting instructions in your drive's user manual to help your computer recognize the new drive.
Test your new drive. Play a Blu-ray disc in your new Blu-ray drive to test it. If your Blu-ray drive came with editing or disk-burning software, follow the program instructions to burn new Blu-ray media using a blank rewriteable Blu-ray disc. If possible, test the new disk in another Blu-ray player.