Best daily deals

Affiliate links on Android Authority may earn us a commission. Learn more.

How to play a Blu-ray or DVD in Windows 10

Blu-ray is a trickier beast than it should be.
By
December 26, 2023

While streaming services now reign supreme, plenty of people still have DVD and Blu-ray collections, especially since Blu-ray continues to offer superior picture quality for 4K HDR. If you feel like watching a disc on a Windows 10 PC, here are the two best ways to do it, assuming of course that you have a compatible disc drive.

QUICK ANSWER

DVDs should play automatically if you're running Windows Media Player. To play Blu-rays you'll need to use your drive maker's app, or a third-party app such as VLC. You may need additional apps to enable VLC's Blu-ray compatibility.


JUMP TO KEY SECTIONS

How to play DVDs and Blu-rays using Windows Media Player

Black Phillip in The Witch

The good news is that if you’re watching a DVD, all you have to do is pop it into your DVD or Blu-ray drive. In most cases Windows Media Player will recognize it and start playing automatically. If it doesn’t, just open Windows Media Player manually, then select the disc name in the Player Library‘s navigation pane. Be sure to maximize the app if isn’t already fullscreen.

The bad news is that Blu-rays are completely unsupported by Windows Media Player. This is presumably due to Microsoft wanting to avoid licensing fees. If you want to play Blu-rays, you’ll need to use an app supplied with your Blu-ray drive, or else a third-party alternative such as VLC.

How to play DVDs and Blu-rays using VLC

Playing a disc in VLC
Roger Fingas / Android Authority

VLC is a free and open-source media player, supported entirely by user donations. It’s perhaps the most popular Windows app for video files, since in addition to discs, it handles livestreams, and niche file formats such as MKV. If VLC can’t play it, chances are nothing can.

With the app installed and open, a DVD should play automatically when you pop it in your computer. If it doesn’t, just select Media > Open Disc > DVD, then hit Play. You may have to select a device first if you have more than one disc drive.

Blu-rays are potentially more complicated. Follow this checklist:

  • If a disc doesn’t play automatically, go to Media > Open Disc, select Blu-ray, then click Play.
  • If that doesn’t work, go to the vlc-bluray GitLab page and follow instructions to install MakeMKV.
  • Install the 64-bit Java Runtime Environment if you don’t already have it on your computer. You’ll need this to access a disc’s menus.
  • Try the first step again. Note that MakeMKV’s Blu-ray functions are only free for 30 days, after which you’ll be expected to pay. You should be prompted to buy a registration key when the time comes.