How to Play Blu-rays on Windows 10

Who needs DVDs? Watch Blu-ray movies on your PC

A boy and girl watch a Blu-ray movie on a Windows 10 laptop.

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The right Blu-ray drive can do triple duty as a Blu-ray writer, DVD writer, and even a Blu-ray movie player. Since Blu-ray is the only physical media that's capable of handling high definition and ultra high definition (UHD) video, you may even be tempted to upgrade your computer rather than buy a new Blu-ray player.

The problem is that if you want to play Blu-rays and not DVDs on Windows 10, you're going to have to do a little work first.

Why Doesn't Blu-ray Work in Windows 10?

Windows 10 doesn't include the built-in ability to play Blu-ray discs, because Microsoft would have to pay a licensing fee to include that functionality. That would drive up the cost of every single copy of Windows 10. Since most computers don't even have Blu-ray players, Microsoft just doesn't offer the feature.

With the Xbox One, Microsoft gives you the option to download a free license to watch Blu-ray movies on your console. This option isn't provided to users of Windows 10, so you have to look elsewhere if you want to watch Blu-ray discs on your computer.

The two best options are to use a third-party media player like VLC or convert your Blu-rays with a program like MakeMV.

How to Watch Blu-rays in Windows 10 With VLC

VLC is a media player that's capable of handling most formats of music and video files. It's similar in functionality to Windows Media Player, but it has a lot of extra features. You can't get it from the official Microsoft Store, but it is available for free from the developer's own website.

The catch is that when you first install VLC, it isn't capable of playing Blu-ray discs. After you install it, you need to download two additional files and place them into very specific folders. It isn't a difficult process, but it is important to download the right files and place them in the correct locations.

What We Like

  • It's free.

  • VLC is one of the best media players out there.

What We Don't Like

  • Setup is difficult, because you need to download additional files and place them into specific locations.

  • Even after you've set it up, VLC can't display some Blu-ray menus.

Here's how to watch Blu-rays in Windows 10 with VLC Media Player:

  1. Navigate to the official Videolan download site for VLC, and click Download VLC.

    Download VLC button on VideoLAN web page
  2. Download and install VLC on your computer.

    Finish button on VLC installer dialog
  3. Open your File Explorer, and navigate to C:\ProgramData.

    ProgramData in File Explorer on Windows 10

    Replace C:\ with the drive where you have Windows installed if it isn't installed on the C drive.

  4. Press Shift+CTRL+N to create a new folder, and name it aacs.

    New folder named aacs
  5. Download KEYDB.cfg from the vlc-bluray.whoknowsmy.name site directly to the C:\ProgramData\aacs folder you just created.

    KEYDB file downloaded to aacs folder
  6. Download libaacs.dll from the vlc-bluray.whoknowsmy.name site directly to your VLC folder.

    libaacs file downloading to VLC folder

    If Windows won't allow you to download directly to the VLC directory, download the file elsewhere and then drag it into the VLC directory.

  7. Insert a Blu-ray disc into your Blu-ray drive.

    A Blu-ray disc inserted into a Blu-ray drive.
  8. Launch VLC.

    A screenshot of VLC.
  9. Click Media > Open Drive.

    Open Disc menu item in VLC media player
  10. Select the Blu-ray radial, check the box next to no disc menus, and make sure that your Blu-ray is selected in the disc device field. Then click Play.

    Play button in VLC Open Media dialog
  11. Your video will play.

    A screenshot of a Blu-ray playing in VLC on Windows 10.
  12. To watch Blu-ray discs in the future, repeat steps 8-11.

How to Rip and Convert Blu-ray Discs to Watch on Windows 10

The other way to watch Blu-ray discs on a Windows 10 computer is to convert the files on the disc into files that any media player is capable of playing. This is a process that's known as ripping and encoding.

When you rip and encode a Blu-ray disc, you copy the information from the disc to your computer, and then you convert it into a convenient media file format. Despite the name, this process is not destructive. After you rip and encode a Blu-ray disc, you can still use the disc as you would normally.

Making personal copies of media like Blu-ray discs is legal in some jurisdictions and illegal in others. Copies such as these are only for personal use, not distribution or display of any sort, and you should obtain legal advice from a qualified source if you are unsure.

Some programs, like MakeMKV, perform both the ripping and encoding parts of this process. Since the process is automated, this is the easiest way to watch a Blu-ray movie on Windows 10.

Although this process is very easy, there are a couple of issues. The conversion process can take a long time if you have a slow computer, and converted Blu-ray discs also take up a lot of hard drive space.

The added benefit of this method is that once you have converted a Blu-ray disc, you can use a program like Plex to watch it on your other computers, or even your phone.

What We Like

  • One button operation makes this the easiest way to watch Blu-rays on Windows 10.

  • Once you've made copies of your movies, you can watch them anywhere with Plex.

  • It has the added benefit of making backups of your movies in case the physical discs are destroyed or stolen.

What We Don't Like

  • You can't just pop a movie in and start watching.

  • The conversion process can take a long time on slow computers.

  • Converted movies take up a lot of space.

Here's how to rip and convert a Blu-ray disc to watch on Windows 10:

  1. Navigate to the official MakeMKV site and click MakeMKV 1.14.2 for Windows.

    A screenshot of the MakeMKV website.
  2. Download and install MakeMKV on your computer.

    A screenshot of the MakeMKV installer.
  3. Launch MakeMKV.

    A screenshot of MakeMKV.
  4. Click File > Open disc, and select your Blu-ray.

    Open disc in MakeMKV BETA window
  5. Click Yes.

    Yes button in MakeMKV BETA popup
  6. In the Make MKV section, click the icon that looks like a green arrow pointing at a disc drive.

    Make MKV button in MakeMKV BETA window
  7. Click Yes.

    Yes button in MakeMKV BETA popup
  8. Wait for the conversion process to complete.

    A screenshot of MakeMKV.
  9. Play the MKV file that you created in a compatible media player, like VLC or Plex.