We’ve already established that Microsoft’s DVD player for Windows 10 is a rip-off at $15. Not only is that tremendously overpriced in a world with VLC available for free, but the Windows Store app has several annoying bugs that make the user experience less than pleasant.
A Microsoft engineer recently posted a list of six known major defaults in the DVD player on its forums, as Neowin initially spotted. Some of them we’ve already seen first-hand, while others are not-so-spiffy new defects. The good news is most of the issues have workarounds—though they're somewhat clunky.
Here’s the complete list, quoted verbatim, though we've tweaked the formatting in issue four:
- "The video is stuttering or failing to play. Many people can fix this issue by installing the latest graphics drivers (AMD, Intel, Nvidia). We are continuing to investigate and fix other causes of this problem.
- When changing from one DVD to another, Windows DVD Player will not play the new DVD. This can be fixed by closing and re-opening the Windows DVD Player app.
- Windows DVD Player does not detect that a disk was inserted. This can be fixed by closing Windows DVD Player, inserting the DVD into your DVD drive, and then re-opening the Windows DVD Player app.
- Inserting a DVD opens the Windows Store. If inserting a DVD opens the Windows Store, rather than launching the DVD player, you may need to update your program defaults. To do so, Open the Start menu, search for “DVD” and select the result labeled “Autoplay” under Settings. You should see four DVD entries in the AutoPlay Control Panel, including “DVD movie”, “Enhanced DVD movie”, and “DVD-Audio.” Set the default for each of these items to “Play DVD (Windows DVD Player)” under the drop down menu for each entry. The Windows DVD Player app should now automatically launch when a disc is inserted.
- Windows DVD Player will not play audio using Dolby Digital Plus 5.1. Some users may see this fixed by getting the latest from Windows Update. We are continuing to look at other cases where that may not be sufficient.
- Playing a DVD to a second screen using HDMI sometimes fails. There is no workaround for this right now, but we are continuing to investigate it."
One bug missing from this list is the clean install problem. The Windows DVD player was built primarily to throw a bone to Windows Media Center users upgrading from Windows 7 or 8.1. Many people use WMC to record television and other home theater PC functions, but Microsoft's analytics show that the biggest use case for WMC was DVD playback. Thus, anyone upgrading from a WMC-loaded version of Windows gets the DVD playback app for free.
Unless, of course, you do a clean install after upgrading. When that happens, you lose access to the Windows DVD player—even though the app is available in the Windows Store and could therefore be tied to your Microsoft account. Perhaps this doesn’t happen because of the cost of DVD licensing fees, but it’s annoying nonetheless.
The story behind the story: This is just speculation, but I’m guessing Microsoft deliberately chose a high price for the bare-bones DVD Player app to discourage people from buying it. It just doesn’t make sense to pay that kind of money when free options like VLC exist. Perhaps it would make sense to charge $15 if the app could also play Blu-ray discs, but for standard definition discs in the age of HD? It’s a poor proposition made all the more ludicrous by the app’s lightweight features and deep roster of bugs.