Microsoft has introduced a DVD Player app for Windows 10 for people who still want to pop in a good, old-fashioned disc to watch a movie.
Officially rolled out July 29, Windows 10 has won praise for introducing several new and interesting features, including the new Start menu, the Cortana voice-activated digital assistant and the Edge browser. But it's also earned some gripes for excluding a couple of key features. For example, there is no Windows Media Center, which won over a small but dedicated fanbase after it was introduced as Windows XP Media Center Edition in 2004. Likewise, there is no DVD player. You can play CDs using the still-included Windows Media Player. But you were out of luck if you want to played a DVD via Microsoft software -- at least until now.
The Microsoft DVD for Windows 10 app, released this week for $15, will play commercial and homemade discs that use the DVD-Video format, though it won't play Blu-ray discs. However, you may not need to pay for the app.
You can get the Windows 10 DVD Player for free -- under certain circumstances. To do so, you must upgrade to Windows 10 from one of the following previous versions: Windows 7 Home Premium, Windows 7 Professional, Windows 7 Ultimate, Windows 8 with Windows Media Center or Windows 8.1 with Windows Media Center.
If you upgrade from an edition of Windows 7 that does not include Media Center or you do a clean install of Windows 10 or buy a PC with Windows 10 preinstalled, you cannot score the DVD Player for free.
Also, the free offer is available only for a "limited time," according to Microsoft. And what does Microsoft mean by limited? On its Q&A page on the DVD Player, the company said the timing isn't set yet but that the offer will end at or before the Windows 10 upgrade offer, which lasts for one year after last week's launch.
If you can't get the DVD Player for free, is it worth $15? Only three anonymous people have reviewed the app on its store page so far, but none of them seems thrilled.
One person who gave it three stars out of five referred to it as "functional but lackluster." Another who gave it two stars said it's "way too expensive." And the third who gave it one star offered a laundry list of flaws and missing features.
There are alternatives to Microsoft's app. One of the most popular players is VLC Media Player, a free open-source player that play a range of formats, including CDs, DVDs and VCDs.