How to play DVDs with Windows Media Player

Edited by Nataly Bogorad

June 22, 2021

Windows Media Player is a built-in tool on Windows for playing media files, both audio and video. It is easy to use and, since it is a built-in application, requires no purchase or download to use.

Windows Media Player is designed to play MP3s, MP4s, and other video and music files. At the same time, this program is not compatible with all media. Many of the player’s users have found themselves asking, “Why does my DVD not play on Windows Media Player?”

Unfortunately, in some cases, with its default playback system, Windows Media Player won’t play a DVD. That doesn’t mean you can never play a DVD with Windows Media Player. It just means you’ll need a DVD coder for Windows Media Player in some instances.

Suppose you are wondering, “How do I get Windows Media Player to play a DVD?” In that case, this article will provide instructions on how to play a DVD on Windows Media Player with programs that perform DVD decode for Windows Media Player.

Why does my DVD not play on Windows Media Player?

If you’ve tried to use Windows Media Player for DVD-watching, you may have run into problems that prompt you to ask, “Why won’t Windows Media Player play my DVD?” While playing DVDs on Windows Media Player is possible, you must have a compatible DVD decoder installed on the devices you wish to use.

A DVD decoder is a plug-in that allows the program to read DVDs. If Windows Media Player won’t play a DVD on your computer, that means you probably need the proper plug-in.

For instructions on how to get Windows Media Player to play a DVD, read on.

How to play a DVD with Windows Media Player on Windows 7

Here is how to play a DVD on Windows Media Player with Windows 7:

Step 1. Insert the disc

Open the CD drive. Insert the DVD you want to watch and close the CD drive. The DVD should begin playing automatically.

Step 2. Play the DVD manually

If the DVD does not begin playing automatically, open Windows Media Player. In the navigation panel of the Player Library, click the name of the DVD or the chapter where you want to start. The DVD should now play.

Playing DVD with Windows Media Player on Windows 8, 10

Unlike Windows 7, Windows 8 and 10 do not support movie DVDs with the built-in program, although data DVDs are still compatible. To watch a movie DVD, you will need to download a third-party program to perform Windows Media Player DVD decode.

Here are instructions on how to play a DVD with Windows Media Player on Windows 8 or 10:

Step 1. Install the decoder

Click Start. Type “troubleshooter” in the search box. In the results, click Troubleshooter and choose View All. Click Windows Media Player. A popup will ask you to install the Windows Media Player DVD decoder. Allow the installation and follow the directions.

Step 2. Insert the disc

Open the CD drive. Insert the DVD you want to watch and close the CD drive. The DVD should automatically begin to play.

Step 3. Play the DVD manually

If the DVD does not automatically play, open Windows Media Player. In the navigation panel of the Player Library, click the name of the DVD or the chapter where you want to start. The DVD should now play.

What is a DVD decoder for Windows Media Player?

A DVD decoder is a media processing program that converts the information from a DVD into a format that can be read by Windows Media Player in Windows 8 or 10.

DVD playback plug-ins and add-ons for Windows Media Player

Purchasing a plug-in or an add-on is a good answer to how to play a DVD on Windows Media Player on Windows 7 or later.

Windows 10

Windows 10 users can download the Windows DVD Player App from the Windows Store. For a limited time, the app is free for users upgrading to Windows 10 from Windows 7. With this add-on, Windows Media Player will play DVDs with no additional downloads necessary.

Windows 8.1

The Windows Store offers several options, both paid and free, for playing DVDs on Windows 8.1. Fast Player for DVD, Pure Player X, DVD Media Player and Movie Video Player, and Coole VLLC Media Player for Windows are all free add-ons that will make playing DVDs on Windows 8.1 possible.

Windows 7

Because Windows Media Player on Windows 7 is DVD-compatible, there is no need for a plug-in to play a DVD.

Windows XP or Windows Vista

The Windows Store offers two plug-ins for DVD playback on Windows XP or Windows Vista. SRS Audio Enhancements offers immersive surround sound and 3D sound. DFX features 3D surround sound, headphone optimization, and hyperbass. Either of these add-ons will boost sound quality on DVD playback.

Download DVD decoder for Windows Media Player

We have already answered the question of “what is a DVD decoder for Windows Media Player?” in general. Now let's take a look at some examples that you can download to make playing DVDs on Windows Media Player possible.

Movavi Video Converter is known for its lightning-fast conversion speed. This program can also compress video files without sacrificing their quality. Movavi Video Converter offers functions that can trim and merge videos and add subtitles to any video.

This program converts video to over 180 file formats, including MP4, AVI, GIF, RAW, MOV, WMV, VOB, DVD, MP3, and MKV.

Movavi Video Converter is very easy to use, with an intuitive control panel. It is also available for a very affordable price.

The editing features on this program do have some limitations. Movavi Video Converter also does not offer functions to convert 2D to 3D, as some editors do, and cannot burn converted videos onto a DVD.

Pros:

  • Very quick conversion
  • User friendly
  • Supports multiple file formats
  • Affordable price
  • Includes presets for numerous portable devices
  • Compresses video while maintaining quality
  • Easy upload to video hosting sites

Cons:

  • Limited editing features
  • Does not include 2D to 3D conversion
  • Cannot burn converted videos to DVD

DVD Decoder Pack is another downloadable program designed to play DVDs on Windows Media Player. It features a user-friendly interface and supports multiple file formats, including MP4, 3GP, FLV, WMV, MPG, AVI, MOV, and MKV.

DVD Decoder Pack plays videos in MPEG-2 and 5.1 Channel Dolby Digital. The program is compatible with Windows 8 and 10.

Some users report having issues in the process of downloading the DVD Decoder Pack. The program is also not updated very often, so any glitches or bugs are not likely to be fixed promptly.

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Supports multiple file formats
  • Plays videos in MPEG-2 and 5.1 Channel Dolby Digital

Cons:

  • Some users have trouble downloading the software
  • Program is not updated often

CinePlayer DVD Decoder Pack is specifically designed to make Windows Media Player DVD-capable. This software features a highly user-friendly interface that beginners will have no trouble navigating.

CinePlayer DVD Decoder supports multiple file formats, including FLV, WMV, MPG, 3GP, and MP4. The software produces high-quality sound and video with surround sound and subtitle capabilities.

One of CinePlayer DVD Decoder’s most notable features is its lip synchronization function. Many DVD watchers complain of an annoying disconnect between sound and video, resulting in dialogue not matching up to lip movements. CinePlayer DVD Decoder tackles this problem head-on rather effectively.

This software comprises a large file size which will take up a lot of space on your PC. Some users complain of its slow pace in processing videos and some glitches in its playback function.

Pros:

  • User-friendly interface
  • Supports multiple file formats
  • High-quality sound and video
  • Surround sound support
  • Subtitle capability
  • Lip synchronization feature

Cons:

  • Program’s large filesize takes up a lot of space
  • Slow processing of videos
  • Some users experience glitches

This software offers quite a few handy features for enhancing your DVD-watching experience on Windows Media Player. WinDVD Pro converts video rapidly without taking up a great deal of CPU space.

Win DVD Pro is compatible with multiple file formats and home theater or surround sound systems. This software offers control of various factors like brightness, saturation, and hue and can also convert 2D to 3D, producing high-quality video and audio.

The interface is streamlined and user-friendly, offering a great deal of control with a few clicks.

WinDVD Pro is not available on macOS. It also won’t play Blu-ray discs. Users also report that the program occasionally crashes.

Pros:

  • Compatible with multiple formats
  • Does not take much CPU space
  • Streamlined interface
  • Converts video quickly
  • Converts 2D to 3D
  • High-quality picture and audio

Cons:

  • Not available for macOS
  • Won’t play Blu-ray
  • Occasional crashes

This program is another choice of software for playing DVDs on Windows Media Player that offers high-quality video and audio playback. Cyberlink PowerDVD offers several high-end functions, including HDR color, HD upscaling, noise reduction, motion compensation, and stabilization.

Cyberlink PowerDVD offers a TV viewing mode that is designed to enhance the DVD-watching experience. In this mode, the mouse cannot control the player, but you can download a mobile app that functions as a remote control, a handy feature for any couch potato.

This software also provides streaming and sharing functions to multiple platforms, including YouTube.

Cyberlink PowerDVD is not available on macOS. Its interface is relatively complicated, with multiple tabs and dropdown menus that may not seem intuitive to new users, so it may take some time to learn to navigate. Some users also report that using the program slowed their systems down.

Pros:

  • High-quality playback
  • Sharing and cloud-streaming capabilities
  • Plays copy-protected discs
  • Plays ultra-HD Blu-ray discs
  • Useful mobile apps

Cons:

  • Not available on macOS
  • Somewhat complicated interface
  • Can slow your system down

Alternatives for playing DVDs on Windows 10

If you are unable or don’t want to download a DVD decoder for Windows Media Player for some reason, take a look at some alternatives.

VLC Media Player is one of the most popular alternatives to Windows Media Player. This program is capable of converting any file type imaginable for clear, glitch-free audio and video playback.

VLC Media Player is very user-friendly, with a simple, intuitive interface. It does not hog a lot of space on your CPU and produces consistently high-quality results. It can be used for video and audio, so many users consolidate their movie and music libraries in this one program.

This program offers a considerable amount of customizability, especially with the multiple plug-ins available to be added to it. It gives users control over the audio, allowing an increase of up to 200%, as well as the visual elements of a video.

Best of all, VLC Media Player is free and includes no ads.

5KPlayer is a video playback program specifically designed for older PCs that struggle with ultra-HD video. This software makes it possible to watch videos with 2K and 4K resolution on aging computers.

The 5KPlayer interface is easy to use, with simple menu choices and drag-and-drop options. The player produces high-quality video and audio and offers a YouTube download feature and AirPlay mirroring.

This software also provides a wide range of music filters, a video library function, and a high-bitrate video music downloader.

Kodi is an open-source alternative to Windows Media Player that offers an impressive array of features and is compatible with just about every system - Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, Linux, and even Raspberry Pi.

Kodi is designed with home theaters in mind. It serves as a library for videos, music, photos, and other media you may want to view with a projector or home theater device.

While Kodi is a powerful tool with many customization options, its interface is not the most user-friendly option for beginners. Some users also complain about the difficulty of navigating the software with a mouse and keyboard.

Conclusion

On its own Windows Media Player cannot play DVDs on Windows 8 or 10. However, with DVD playback plug-ins and add-ons for Windows Media Player you can enjoy your favorite DVDs on your PC with no problem.

This article has listed some of the most popular and effective downloadable programs and plug-ins, required for playing a DVD in Windows Media Player on Windows 8, 10.

Another viable solution is to use software alternatives to play a DVD on Windows 10 and older. The three options we have listed here are excellent choices for high-quality video and sound playback of DVDs on your PC.

One way or another, with the information from this article, you now know how to play a DVD with Windows Media Player on your computer with no delay.

Nataly Bogorad

Nataly Bogorad is a seasoned content creator and web text editor with 7 years of experience in commercial writing and website UX. In 2012, she graduated from Universität Kassel with a bachelor of arts degree in English and American studies and art criticism. At the same time, Nataly had worked as a project assistant for Regionalmanagement Nordhessen GmbH where she wrote and managed the content of the company website. An advanced speaker of English and German, she specializes in writing SEO-optimized and user-friendly content.

Frequently asked questions

Why doesn’t my DVD play on Windows Media Player?

Windows Media Player on Windows 7 plays DVDs automatically. However, this is not the case with Windows 8 or 10, which is why Windows Media Player won't play DVD on those versions. To watch a DVD on your PC with Windows Media Player on Windows 8 or 10, you will need to download a DVD decoder program.

How do I get Windows Media Player to play a DVD?

If you are using Windows 7, simply insert the DVD in the CD drive and the DVD should begin playing automatically. If it doesn’t, open Windows Media Player, click on the Player Library, then click on the DVD you want to watch or the Chapter where you would like to start.

If you are using Windows 8 or 10:

  1. Click Start.
  2. Type “troubleshooter” in the search box.
  3. In the results, click Troubleshooter.
  4. Choose View All.
  5. Click Windows Media Player.
  6. A popup will ask you to install the Windows Media Player DVD decoder.
  7. Allow the installation and follow the directions.
  8. Insert the DVD you want to watch in the CD Drive.
  9. The DVD should automatically begin to play.

What is a DVD decoder for Windows Media Player?

A DVD decoder is a media processing program that converts the information from a DVD into a format that can be read by Windows Media Player in Windows 8 or 10.

Can I play a DVD with Windows Media Player?

Yes, but if you are using Windows 8 or 10, you will need to download a DVD decoder program in order to get a DVD to play with Windows Media Player. We suggest the following programs:

  • Movavi Video Converter
  • DVD Decoder Pack
  • CinePlayer DVD Decoder Pack
  • WinDVD Pro
  • Cyberlink PowerDVD