DVDs are fairly simple to deal with on Windows 10, but what about Blu-ray? These discs are now the standard for HD video on the physical format, and as more and more of us use our PCs for home entertainment, it’s perfectly acceptable to want to play a Blu-ray on it. But it’s not just a case of popping a disc in the drive and putting your feet up. You need something like PowerDVD 18 from Cyberlink.
Products used in this guide
How to convert your Blu-ray discs to digital
MakeMKV and Handbrake have been featured before in our roundup of DVD cloning software, and for good reason: both are completely free. While MakeMKV is technically still a beta, and it’s still very powerful.
Essentially you use MakeMKV to pull the data from the Blu-ray, then run it through Handbrake to compress it down. You can, of course, skip Handbrake, but each file from a Blu-ray will be huge. So unless you have an awful lot of storage on hand, running through Handbrake is a good step to reduce the file size at the expense of outright quality.
How to watch your Blu-ray discs on Windows 10
The first option to mention is the good old Swiss Army Knife, VLC. Natively, VLC won’t just play your Blu-ray discs, so you’ll need to do some tweaking.
It’s not necessarily the best option, but if you’re a heavy VLC user already, it’s at least an option.
Perhaps a better, also free, method is the Leawo Blu-ray player application. It also supports DVDs, and while you’re not paying for it, you’re only getting a very basic Blu-ray player. Nevertheless, it’s reliable and gets the job done.
If you’re interested in something a little more feature-filled, there are a number of paid apps out there. The best is Cyberlink’s PowerDVD. The latest version starts around $60 and offers support for 3D Blu-ray as well as regular discs, high frame rate playback, casting and 4K UHD Blu-ray.
Additionally, PowerDVD will also play back directly any of your ISO files from Blu-rays or DVDs, so you’ve got everything you need under one roof. It’s a handy piece of software to have on a media PC, and you can even use it to pull in content from YouTube and Vimeo, including 360-degree video.
The app you need
There are free ways to watch Blu-ray discs, but you get what you pay for and much more besides with Cyberlink’s excellent PowerDVD 18.
Serious software for media fanatics
PowerDVD 18 is an amazing piece of software that can play up to 4K Blu-ray discs with True Theater and full-screen enhancements for the best possible experience.
If you’re looking for something a little less intensive or want to digitize your collection, these are the apps for you.
MakeMKV (Free at MakeMKV)
Simple to use and will convert all your physical discs into digital files with ease.
Leawo Blu-ray player (Free at Leawo)
Basic, but functional, if you just want to play the disc and nothing more, this is a great app to get.
VLC (Free at VideoLAN)
VLC is a brilliant tool for Windows that, with some tweaking, can play virtually anything imaginable.
Handbrake (Free at Handbrake)
Handbrake will convert your Blu-ray’s raw files into something more useable for your PC or home media server. And it’s free!
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