One of the things about being PC-literate is that everyone you know becomes a potential source of new information. In solving other people's problems, I get to learn about lots of things that I might not have otherwise come across. One of those moments happened recently. And it was a rude awakening.
Someone I know needed to play a DVD on their PC. We discovered that not only has Windows 10 lost the ability to play DVDs out of the box, but that Microsoft now charges an extra $22.45 for their DVD Player app.
I was somewhat surprised to realise that Windows 10 no longer includes the ability to play DVDs. However, there are lots of applications that were once part of Windows that, while not included in the default build, are available through the Windows Store - just like Microsoft's Scan app that I mentioned earlier this week. Many of those are available for free.
So, my first suggestion to resolve the case of the missing DVD player was to go to the Windows Store. While there was an app there, it costs $22.45. And while there's a seven day trial, that comes with a significant limitation.
Use the 7-day free trial (Windows 10 Anniversary Edition required) to check your device's compatibility with the Windows DVD Player and then buy the app for the full viewing experience. You cannot watch movies with the free trial.
In other words, the free trial isn't a trial - it's a compatibility test.
Fortunately, there is a free workaround for this. You can download the open source VLC Media Player and use that for free. It's infinitely more useful than a simple DVD player as it plays pretty much anything you can throw at it.
The fact that Microsoft charges $22.45 for a feature that's essential for a lot of older users has left me scratching my head - especially when free options are readily available.
Bizarrely, Microsoft's Xbox One console also lacks DVD and Blu-ray playback out of the box, despite being positioned as a home entertainment hub. On the plus side, downloading the app on the console is free.