Options to watch videos and movies on DVD and Blu-Ray with Windows 10 and 8.1 with external programs or with additional codecs.
If you insert a DVD into a Windows 10 computer to watch a movie, in most cases we will not be able to play anything, since protected content cannot be viewed without the purchase of specific codecs or paid programs. Considering the ever-growing number of devices without optical drives, i.e. computers and tablets that do not have CD or DVD players, Microsoft decided that it was no longer worth paying for a feature that many people never use. If we still have a DVD or Blu-ray burner and want to watch a PC movie, in this guide we will show you how watch DVD or Blu-ray movies on a computer with Windows 10 using free programs or programs that can unlock the viewing of all films distributed via DVD or Blu-ray (obviously original discs with DRM protection).
READ ALSO: Best free programs to watch DVD on PC
How to watch DVD and Blu-ray on PC
To watch DVD Videos and Blu-ray Videos we need to have an internal or USB burner connected to the computer; if our PC does not have a burner, we can get an external one such as the Archgon Star UHD External 4K-Ultra HD Player (€ 158), to be connected to the computer only when necessary. If we are looking for a simple DVD burner, we can focus on the Cocopa DVD CD burner, External USB 3.0 unit (25 €).
How to see optical discs protected with VLC
The most famous player in the world without a doubt VLC, capable of playing any type of video file, in this specific case, even DVDs and Blu-ray with video content. Basically this program does not allow you to view the contents of the protected disks, but just add a small free codec to unlock this feature too. First let's go to the VLC-AACS website, and download the files necessary to integrate the reading of the protected disks into VLC; specifically we must download: Once we have recovered the two files suitable for our system (we must download the database and the specific file for the version of VLC in use), we open File Explorer from the Windows 10 Start menu, type in the path bar at the top % Appdata% and then we press on the folder AppData, present directly in the path bar.
In this path (normally hidden), we create a new folder called AACS and insert the file inside KEYDB.cfg, ie the database of encrypted keys. Now, always from the path bar within File Explorer, we type C: Program Files VideoLAN VLC and insert the file inside libaacs.dll, ie the file that allows VLC to read the disks and files protected by DRM license, using one of the keys present in the database placed a while ago.
To see if this small change worked, all we have to do is open and close VLC. After reopening VLC, we insert the DVD Video or Blu-ray Video inside the player or the burner on the PC, press up on Average and finally on Open disc.
We select the type of disc in the section Disc selection between DVD is Blu-ray, make sure that the exact path of our optical media is present then press down on Play to start viewing.
How to unlock protected optical discs to use any player
With modified VLC we should be able to view any protected DVD or Blu-ray without problems. If we encounter difficulties or want to use a another video player for Windows, we can solve the problem at the root, that is by removing all types of DRM protection on the optical media in a completely legal way. To succeed in this I mean we will have to download AnyDVD HD, available for free in trial format (valid for 21 days).
Even before inserting the optical disc inside the computer we start the download of AnyDVD HD, install it on our computer and start it, so as to place its icon in the system bar at the bottom right. As soon as the active program, we insert the DVD Video or Blu-ray Video inside our recorder or player: in real time AnyDVD HD remove the protections applied, without having to do anything else. With AnyDVD HD every protected disc will be seen by the system as "without protections", allowing to any video player program that can read DVDs or Blu-ray discs to play content without taking any further steps.
With the programs mentioned we will be able to watch both DVD Videos and Blu-ray movies on the computer for free or for a limited period of time (AnyDVD HD for a fee after 21 days). If you have a lot of Blu-ray and you plan to use the computer to view them, we strongly recommend you to buy an AnyDVD HD license, so that you can watch them with any free program (on the card just VLC but there are many valid ones open source alternatives). Are we particularly demanding and do we work with optical discs every day? In this case we will have to focus on commercial software such as Corel's WinDVD Pro 12, able to read any type of protected disc without problems, including modern 4K UHD Blu-ray discs (obviously only visible if we have a 4K monitor and a powerful video card). Keep in mind, however, that if we purchase a Blu-ray player or burner for our computer, the program to play Blu-ray discs should already be included in the purchase; all we have to do is check the supplied disks.
If we don't know how to open MP4 files, we recommend you read our guide How to open MP4 files on Windows 10If instead we have to convert a DVD or Blu-ray into a comfortable video file, ready to be viewed on smartphone, tablet or Smart TV, we can continue reading on our article Best programs to copy DVD (Ripping) to PC.