How to Play Blu-Ray Movies on a Computer

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Close-up of a Blu-Ray disc on a laptop disc tray
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If you thought the march of progress meant things always get easier for users tech-wise, think again. Windows 8 doesn't have a built-in feature for playing Blu-ray discs, not even if you pay the extra fee for Windows MediaCenter. Instead, you have to use dedicated software.


Bundled Options

Whether you have a built-in Blu-ray drive or an external one that plugs in through a USB cable, it was probably bundled with Blu-ray playback software. Check any installation discs that came with the computer or player; it may have been an optional install that you didn't select during setup. If in doubt, contact the manufacturer to see if the software should be present.


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Free and Paid Options

If your computer or player doesn't have Blu-ray playback software, you can choose from several free and paid options. VLC and Daum PotPlayer are both free to install and use, but performance with Blu-ray discs can be inconsistent. You may need to install extra files, known as codecs, and not all discs will play. Paid options include CyberLink Power DVD Pro and Corel WinDVD Pro, which play most discs without trouble.


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