Microsoft has made good on its promise to bring DVD playback functionality back to Windows, removed with the launch of Windows 10, offering a free player and codec pack to selected upgraders while asking others to pay £11.59 for the privilege.
Microsoft had previously looked to reduce its licensing burden by removing DVD playback support from Windows 8. Back in 2012
, the company ditched DVD support from the operating system in favour of making it a part of Windows Media Centre, but when Microsoft announced in 2015 that Media Centre would not be available for Windows 10
it left those who use their systems for DVD playback wondering just what the upgrade would bring.
Microsoft's Gabe Aul announced at the time that 'if you have WMC [Windows Media Centre] now, we’ll have a DVD [playback] option for you in an update [to Windows 10] later this year,
' but didn't offer firm details. Now, the company has published a DVD playback app, dubbed Windows DVD Player, to the Windows Store
- and it's charging £11.59. While the software supports commercial and homebrew DVDs, it does not play back any other format - including Blu-ray and HD-DVD titles, if anyone still has the latter lying around - and does not include any of Windows Media Centre's other functionality, such as TV tuner support.
Aul had suggested at the time of his announcement that the update would be free, and for some users it is: anyone who has Windows 7 Home Premium, Professional, or Ultimate installed, all of which came with DVD playback functionality built-in, will be able to install the Windows DVD Player free of charge when they upgrade to Windows 10; those running Windows 8 or 8.1 with Windows Media Centre installed will likewise not be charged to install the playback software. Those opting for a complete system reinstall, however, will be charged full price; the only way to get the download for free is to upgrade directly to Windows 10, although the option to delete all personal data from the system during the upgrade will not affect eligibility.
Details of restrictions in the software and issues that may result in the free download disappearing are available on Microsoft's answers site