Pinterest Stumbleupon Whatsapp
Advertisement

With the removal of Windows Media Center from Windows 8, and the pulling of support for the software in Windows 10, it has suddenly become more difficult to play DVD and Blu-ray discs on your computer Missing Media Tools in Windows 8? Easily Burn Audio and View DVDs Missing Media Tools in Windows 8? Easily Burn Audio and View DVDs Windows 8 makes it hard to burn audio and watch video DVDs thanks to hidden apps and missing licences. This is part of the move away from optical media – fortunately, we can share some... Read More .

So what is the solution? Is there a way around the omission of this feature, or has Microsoft gone mad?

Does Anyone Use Physical Media Anymore?

Microsoft has based its decision on the changing requirements of desktop and notebook computer users. Simply, fewer devices are sold with built-in DVD drives, and those that are can usually be described as high-end desktop PCs with Blu-ray support. Very few laptops (notebooks and ultrabooks) ship with optical drives; the battery requirements for spinning the disc and moving the laser, as well as the amount of space the drives take up make optical drives a prime candidate for removal Why Your MacBook Air Has No Optical Drive & 4 Reasons Why This Isn't a Problem Why Your MacBook Air Has No Optical Drive & 4 Reasons Why This Isn't a Problem The MacBook Air is one of the thinnest and lightest computers available today; thin as your finger, and so light every computer after will feel like you're hauling a sack of potatoes. In fact, ever... Read More from the design of portable computers.

muo-windows-w10-dvds-bin

Throw in the increasing march towards digital distribution of movies and TV shows–not to mention video games via Steam, Origin, and other gaming platforms–and you have a strong argument against built-in optical drives, especially given how affordable external USB DVD drivers are.

By removing Windows Media Center from Windows 8 and support for the software in Windows 10, Microsoft has the opportunity to focus development on the operating system and save money on licensing the software required for DVD and Blu-ray playback, pushing this cost back to the end user who will be required to pay for a separate Microsoft (or third party) optical disc player should they need it. It’s a far cry from Windows 7, where DVD de-encoding software was included and DVDs could be viewed in Windows Media Player.

Advertisement

So we know why Microsoft has abandoned optical drives. But what are we going to do about it?

Third Party Optical Disc Players

If your PC has a DVD or Blu-ray disc player, it is possible that you already have a solution to this. Check the pre-installed bloatware, or the collection of discs that shipped with your computer and look for a disc labeled CyberLink PowerDVD, Corel WinDVD Pro or similar. Once installed, these apps will provide the DVD and Blu-ray playback feature.

play-dvd-with-vlc-on-windows-8.14.png

Of course, you may have lost the disc, or never had one in the first place. In this scenario, you will need to investigate other options. Probably the best choice is VLC Player. This software doesn’t just play DVDs (including multi-region) and Blu-ray discs, but can also be used for a variety of other media-related tasks 6 More VLC Media Player Features You Must Try 6 More VLC Media Player Features You Must Try VLC is a media player more powerful than you might realize. Are you using it to its full potential? Here are some pointers. Read More , from X to Y. Even if you don’t want to use this as your DVD software, you should still have VLC Player installed on your computer as it is a hugely versatile piece of software.

Other alternatives for playing DVDs and Blu-ray discs 3 Free Ways to Play DVDs and Blu-Ray in Windows 8.1 3 Free Ways to Play DVDs and Blu-Ray in Windows 8.1 Windows 8.1 still can't play DVD and Blu-ray movies out of the box. What to do if you have a bunch of movies on discs? Luckily, free programs have you covered. Read More  include KMPlayer, which is almost as versatile as VLC Player, and Daum PotPlayer.

These apps are free by avoiding the licensing requirements for DVD and Blu-ray playback software; instead, the technology has been reverse engineered. You may find that there is no support for 3D Blu-ray movies, because that encryption has not yet been reverse engineered.

Isn’t It Time to Abandon Physical Media?

The lack of optical drives in new computers is a symbol of changing habits, a trend that Microsoft has noticed. If you still use optical drives, now might be the time to consider creating and using virtual discs, software images that can be played back on your computer without the requirement for an optical disc or drive.

handbrake

Naturally, you will need an external drive, but in case your device is already missing one these can be purchased cheaply, and removable DVD drives from old laptops No DVD Drive on Your Tablet or Notebook? Use an Old Laptop Drive Instead! No DVD Drive on Your Tablet or Notebook? Use an Old Laptop Drive Instead! More and more Windows computers are shipping without optical drives, and this is a phenomenon that exists beyond the tablet PC. The lack of a DVD drive might prevent you from installing your favourite apps... Read More can be easily converted into external devices with a cheap kit from Amazon or eBay.

To create a DVD or Blu-ray disc image How to Create & Mount Disc Images on a Virtual Drive How to Create & Mount Disc Images on a Virtual Drive Do you still have CDs or DVDs lying around? When an optical disc breaks, it's gone forever. We show you how to make digital and playable backups of your CDs and DVDs now! Read More , you’ll need to “rip” the contents from the disc and save them to your local drive. Two things are needed for this: plenty of disk space (ripped DVDs are as large as 15 GB depending on the compression used, while Blu-ray can take up 50 GB) and some disc ripping software. A HDD of at least 1 TB in capacity is recommended if you’re planning to rip multiple discs, and for software take a look at our recent roundup of DVD and Blu-ray ripping tools 9 Tools to Easily Rip Your DVDs & Blu-Rays to Your Computer 9 Tools to Easily Rip Your DVDs & Blu-Rays to Your Computer If you still own DVDs or Blu-Rays, you should back up! Although it's a legal gray zone, the problem is those discs don't last forever. We compiled the nine best free tools. Read More , which includes the perennially popular and versatile Handbrake 5 Clever Things You Can Do with HandBrake 5 Clever Things You Can Do with HandBrake HandBrake is a powerful tool, designed to help you get the most out of your digital media. We have compiled some of HandBrake's most ingenious uses. Check it out! Read More , which is available for Mac OS X and Linux as well as Windows.

Once you’ve created the disc image, you’ll need a tool to mount and play it. Although it is possible to mount ISO files in Windows 8.x and Windows 10, you may have opted for a different format, in which case you’ll need a virtual drive tool like CloneDrive Extend The Life Of Your Optical Discs With ISO Backups & Virtual Clone Drive [Windows] Extend The Life Of Your Optical Discs With ISO Backups & Virtual Clone Drive [Windows] There is absolutely no reason why you would still want to routinely run games, movies, or music from optical discs. Inserting, ejecting, and switching discs is a nuisance and subjects both the drive and the... Read More . WinCDEmu is also an option, although there is little between the two tools Mount Your Image Files On a Virtual Drive With WinCDEmu [Windows] Mount Your Image Files On a Virtual Drive With WinCDEmu [Windows] Your CDs, DVDs and Blu-Ray discs are rotting and optical discs as such are slowly disappearing from the market. ISO and other image file formats, however, are here to stay and are a good way... Read More .

An added benefit of DVD and Blu-ray ripping is that it increases the lifespan of your original media–wear, tear, and mold means that DVDs won’t last forever CDs Are Not Forever: The Truth About CD/DVD Longevity, "Mold" & "Rot" CDs Are Not Forever: The Truth About CD/DVD Longevity, "Mold" & "Rot" The digital age has revolutionized the way we handle information. Never before could humankind record and store so much information and in such diversity. While the amount of data has increased exponentially, the predicted life... Read More .

Missing Windows Media Center?

muo-raspbmc4

All of this looking for a new DVD player app for Windows 10 could be avoided if Microsoft would just reinstate Windows Media Center. Unfortunately, this is unlikely to happen, but if you’re really missing the dynamic that a media center app brings to your Windows experience, we’ve already discussed five alternatives to Windows Media Center 5 Alternatives to Windows Media Center for Windows 10 5 Alternatives to Windows Media Center for Windows 10 Windows 10 will offer many new features, but some old favorites will be deprecated. The Windows Media Center will no longer be supported. Here are alternative media center application compatible with Windows 10 to take... Read More  to help you choose a strong replacement.

Better still, using an alternative media center will help you keep your ripped movies indexed and easily accessible!

Have you ripped a DVD before? Are you concerned about playing back optical discs in Windows 10, and baffled by Microsoft’s stance on this? Tell us about it in the comments.

Image Credits: DVDs in the bin By omphoto via Shutterstock

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *