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How to Play DVDs and Blu-Ray Discs in Windows 8 or Windows 10 for Free

dvds multiple windows

While Windows 10 introduces several improvements over Windows 8 and 8.1, it still doesn’t have native support for DVDs and Blu-ray playback (one of which was present in Windows 7). It’s admittedly disappointing for users who have collections of DVDs and Blu-ray movies. Fortunately, there are some ways to play these movies on Windows 10 for free.

Mind you, Microsoft hasn’t totally overlooked the DVD users. If you go to the Windows Store, the company offers the Windows DVD Player app for $14.99. It’s simple and clean, but you might be disappointed by its very thin functionality. Do you have Blu-ray movies instead? Sorry; you’ll have to look a third-party solution.

But before you go looking for additional software online, just try inserting a DVD or Blu-ray disc into your computer. If you bought a boxed Windows computer with an optical drive, the manufacturer may have bundled some media playback software. The software may be among the options in the AutoPlay dialog box when you pop a disc. Similarly, when you buy a DVD or Blu-ray drive either as a standalone, external device or internal upgrade, the packaging may contain an installation disc for media playback software.

When there’s no freebie software included in your computer, try looking for some online. In terms of functionality, the freeware VLC Media Player is arguably the king. Just as we’re recommending it for its extensive list of supported video formats, we’re also suggesting users to choose it as their DVD player software. It supports Blu-ray playback, too, but what the software can actually play is a bit iffy because of encryption technologies used in most commercial Blu-ray discs.

If at this point you’ve found no free solution for playing your video discs, it’s time to go premium. A great choice is Cyberlink PowerDVD. It offers both DVD and Blu-ray playback and costs $79.99. Good alternatives include WinDVD Pro 11 for $59.99 and Macgo Windows Blu-ray Player for $59.95. If you know where to look, you can get these software products at lower prices.

Microsoft’s decision to forgo DVD and Blu-ray playback support was made from a financial standpoint. Adding the feature in Windows 10 means Microsoft has to pay for licensing fees. And from a practical perspective, very few computers being sold these days offer optical drives. The popularity of ultra-thin laptops and tablets clearly indicates consumer appreciation for slim form factors, and that means no bulky optical drives. That streaming services are gaining ground also explains the removal of built-in DVD and Blu-ray playback support.

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