If you need to play Blu-ray movies on your PC or laptop, you’ll no doubt have already found out that Windows is incapable of doing so, even if your computer has a Blu-ray drive.

Although no built-in Windows app can play Blu-ray discs, including Windows Media Player and Windows 10’s Films & TV app, it’s possible there is already software on your system which can. Some popular programs which are included with Blu-ray drives include CyberLink PowerDVD and (the now-defunct) ArcSoft TotalMedia Theatre.

However, if you’ve checked (including in your laptop or PC’s box) and there is nothing usable then which is the best Blu-ray playback software to download?

PowerDVD 17 Standard is relatively expensive (around £29.99 at the time of writing), but there are free apps which can do the job. Just bear in mind that if you happen to have a 4K Blu-ray disc then it’s unlikely the drive in your computer supports 4K discs, and none of the software below will, either.

Leawo

One free option is Leawo Blu-ray Player. It claims to support “the newest” Blu-ray discs, plus audio support for Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD and AAC.

How to play Blu-ray discs in Windows

It’s basic, and you will get adverts to Leawo’s other software, but that’s the kind of compromise you’ll have to make if you won’t spend any money.

VLC

The ever-popular VLC media player doesn’t have native support for Blu-ray discs, but you can head to this website and download the necessary files.

How to play Blu-ray discs in Windows

It’s hassle that only experienced Windows users will be comfortable dealing with, but once the files are copied to the relevant folders, VLC should happily play Blu-ray movies.

DAPlayer / 5KPlayer

There are a couple of other options you can explore if the two above aren’t what you’re after.

DAplayer is a free Blu-ray player from Winxdvd. It has been around for years and reckons it will play any Blu-ray disc along with support for AVCHD, MKV and H.264 video files.

A similar option is 5KPlayer which is linked to from the Winxdvd DAplayer page and claims to be the latest version of DAplayer but with a new name. It is the only app here which claims to support 4K, 5K and 8K UHD video, including Blu-ray.

We’d exercise caution with both of these players and be wary of them attempting to install potentially unwanted extra software along with the video player itself. Make sure your antivirus is up to date, too.

Buy a real Blu-ray player

How to play Blu-ray discs in Windows

It’s worth noting that, for not a great deal more than CyberLink's Blu-ray software suite, you can buy a set-top Blu-ray player that can just as easily plug into your PC monitor as it can into a TV, provided your monitor has an HDMI port and some speakers for audio playback.

For example, you can buy the Panasonic DMP-BD84 from Amazon for just £49.99.