How to watch DVDs in Windows 8

Windows 8 doesn't have native DVD video support, but there are several good options for watching DVDs in Microsoft's latest operating system. We'll show you a few of the more popular ones.

If you like watching DVDs on your PC, you'll be disappointed to know that Windows 8 can't play DVD videos out of the box, so to speak. That doesn't mean you have to go out and spend a lot of money to get DVD video playback. In fact, there are quite a few programs available that are free. Here are a few popular options for watching DVDs on your Windows 8 PC:

Windows Media Center
It's the omission of Windows Media Center that removed Windows 8's ability to natively play DVD video. If you like Windows Media Center or prefer watching DVDs with Windows Media Player, Windows 8 Pro users can add Windows Media Center as an add-on for $9.99. For a limited time, however, you can get Windows Media Center for free .

Windows Media Center DVD playback in Windows 8
Windows Media Center in Windows 8. Screenshot by Ed Rhee/CNET

VLC Media Player
VLC has been around for over a decade and is one of the most popular media players available -- free or otherwise. It ranks No. 1 for video players at CNET's Download.com and has been downloaded over 47 million times. One of the reasons for its popularity is its support for a wide variety of audio and video file formats.

VLC Media Player in Windows 8
VLC Media Player in Windows 8. Screenshot by Ed Rhee/CNET

GOM Media Player
GOM is another very popular media player that can play DVDs on Windows 8. It also supports a plethora of file formats and is easy to use. In order to achieve DVD playback, however, you may need to follow its FAQ on installing the MPEG-2 codec. An official Windows 8 version is in the works, but the current version seems to work fine in Windows 8.

GOM DVD playback in Windows 8
GOM Media Player in Windows 8. Screenshot by Ed Rhee/CNET

MPC-HC (Media Player Classic Home Cinema)
MPC-HC is a lightweight media player for Windows, based on the older Media Player Classic. It's not flashy, but it's small and offers a lot of customization options.

MPC-HC DVD playback on Windows 8
MPC-HC in Windows 8. Screenshot by Ed Rhee/CNET

That's it. Do you use any of the media players listed above or do you have another favorite? Let us know in the comments.

About the author

Ed Rhee, a freelance writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area, is an IT veteran turned stay-at-home-dad of two girls. He focuses on Android devices and applications while maintaining a review blog at techdadreview.com.

 

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