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It’s also worth noting that while DVD support has been taken away, support for FLAC and MKV files is added to Windows 10, and you can use WMP for that. It’s really that simple, though VLC packs surprising hidden powersfor anyone who wants to dive a little deeper. VLC 3.0, for example, added the ability to cast videos and music to Chromecast devices, 360-degree and HDR video support, high-definition audio codec passthrough, and more.

I’ve tried several other players that are available in the apps list, but I haven’t found one that is as easy to use as WMP. Another way I can force WMP to open, is by playing a MIDI file – this still defaults to WMP, I don’t know whether “Groove” and the other options with Windows 10 will play MIDI files at all. In the older days, I gained a quick fascination and appreciation for the more elegant Media Center app. Since WMC was dropped, I migrated to two other entertainment apps . They are the well known VLC Player and the up-coming FOOBAR200.

Don’t buy a Blu-ray drive unless you actually need one, though; DVD burners are about one-third the price of a good Blu-ray burner, and prices for Blu-ray drives haven’t fallen much over the years. “Combo” drives, which can burn CDs and DVDs but will only read Blu-ray discs, do exist but are rare, and they’re no cheaper than good Blu-ray burners. The Pioneer BDR-XD07B is a top-loading Blu-ray drive with a footprint smaller than that of our other picks. Aside from that, its main draw is that it’s faster at ripping DVDs than the LG BP60NB10, which makes it a logical choice if you sometimes need a Blu-ray drive but will be working primarily with DVDs. But unlike the LG drive, it doesn’t support UHD Blu-ray discs; it was slower to rip Blu-ray discs in our tests, too, and it was louder than the LG drive while ripping and burning.

This DVD-only drive is slow when ripping discs, but it’s quieter and less expensive than other options if you plan to watch, rip, or burn only DVDs, not Blu-rays. This is good to know that Windows media Player is still in Windows 10. I am currently still using Windows 7, which was a upgrade from Windows XP, the best one yet. Anyway I am pleased to learn that it’s still avaviable in 10. I would pay a monthly fee or pay a one time charge if Microsoft would put Windows Media Player on Windows 10.

We also noted the cables that each drive shipped with and what disc-burning software they included. Any drive that can rip and burn Blu-rays can also handle DVDs, and either type of drive can play, rip, and burn CDs just fine.

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In any case, I still revert back to WMP simply for the sake of convenience and the speed used to open the app…I’m so impatient. Do you still use and prefer Windows Media Player for music and video playback on your Windows 10 desktop?

If you need an external optical drive that can handle Blu-rays and you don’t mind slower performance with DVDs, we recommend the LG BP60NB10. It ripped Blu-ray discs significantly faster than the Pioneer Blu-ray drives we tested, and it made less noise while burning and ripping discs. It supports Ultra HD Blu-ray discs and doesn’t cost more than non-UHD Blu-ray drives from other manufacturers. Since it’s usually slower to rip DVDs than the Pioneer Blu-ray drives we tested, it isn’t the best choice if you’re working with DVDs often. As we tested, we took note of how easy it was to insert and retrieve discs from each drive, and we paid attention to the noise each drive produced.

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I am finding that I have a greater appreciation for the higher resolution sound files . Higher resolution files require greater effort on the part of the application and associated hardware. WMP does not always sound as good as FOOBAR2000 – I’m guessing this is due to the codecs employed by WMP.

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We also encountered several errors when trying to play DVDs that worked without issue on the other drives. We eliminated any DVD drives that cost more than $40 and any Blu-ray drives that cost more than $130, as well as any models that didn’t both read and write discs and any that had poor or few reviews on Amazon speccy software . We also eliminated older versions of currently available drives, and we didn’t retest anything we’ve ruled out since we first published this guide in June 2013. Unlike the LG Blu-ray drive we recommend, this Pioneer drive doesn’t support Ultra HD Blu-ray discs. The Pioneer BDR-XD07UHD looks and performs exactly the same as the XD07B and can read UHD discs, but it typically costs around $30 more than either of our Blu-ray picks.

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