This thread is the second in a series of tests I’m conducting, checking playback of blu-ray video from both original discs and from ripped files using computer software players.
Today’s software is Leawo Blu-ray Player. Leawo has recently joined the forums, and I noticed that their representative stated that this player has support for blu-ray menus. So I decided to test it using the same movies that I used in my tests of DVDFab Media Player.
I started with Kingdom of Heaven, which hasn’t been a problem for any of the software players so far. The menu worked in the Leawo player, and video and audio controls worked as they should. Playback in action scenes was perfectly good, though the player does seem to hesitate a bit when jumping forward to the next chapter point. The other thing I noticed right away with this player is how long it takes to load a movie. This held true throughout the tests. It is a bit slower than any other program I have worked with.
If you missed the first test, I use PowerDVD 13, TMT5 and TMT 6 as comparisons, since they are the leading commercial programs for blu ray playback.
The next movie caused some problems. This was Blade Runner (Final Cut). I believe there were some conflicts in my video card driver and this program from Leawo, as it caused the driver to stop working temporarily, then completely crashed Windows 8.1 on the second attempt. I am using an older card, an ATI/AMD 4850 HD. I rebooted, then started the Leawo program again, but this time turned off hardware acceleration in the program options. I left it off for the remainder of the tests. Once hardware acceleration was turned off, the Leawo program played Blade Runner correctly, and I had access to the menu.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. II also played correctly, with full access to menus.
And now we get to some of the movies that caused problems in DVDFab. The Leawo player cannot play the menu in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. It gets stuck after the first preview, just as the DVDFab player did. The Leawo player does have a quick start option, and using this, you could access the main movie, but it doesn’t help if you want to view any extras.
Moving on to Alien, the Leawo player totally ignores the menu. So you have no way of selecting between the theatrical version, or the newer director’s cut. The movie started at the beginning of one of them, but I’m not sure which one it chose.
War Horse…the DVDFab player froze trying to play this one, but the Leawo player starts the main movie, as if there wasn’t a menu available.
And finally, we get to the movie, Up. As with the previous movies, the Leawo player ignores the menu and goes straight into the main movie.
A few notes on playback: the Leawo Blu-ray Player does a good job in playing the movies. There was no hesitation, pixellation or other problems that I could see. I didn’t try playing any of the movies all the way through, but I spent ten minutes or so in some of the action scenes. As I noted before, it is fairly slow to start a movie.
There is another peculiarity about this player. It will not play blu ray folders on the hard drive. So, if you have ripped an entire disc to the hard drive as files, you’ll need them in a mounted ISO to play in this program. This seems like a very big oversight.
Leawo mentions nothing about Cinavia, so I have to assume that it doesn’t honor that particular type of copy protection. I’ll test it later with another movie that I know has Cinavia in it.
Overall, I’d say I’m somewhat disappointed in the player’s ability with menus. We have many choices for playback of blu ray without menu support…Potplayer, VLC, Media Player Classic HC, etc…the list is fairly long. So to make enough of a favorable impression on video enthusiasts to purchase this program, the Leawo player needs excellent menu support in addition to no Cinavia detection. That combination is what is missing in the market, but the Leawo player doesn’t meet that standard.