Pioneer unveils 8x Blu-ray combo drive

by Reads (1,314)

Pioneer just took the wraps off of its newest optical drive, the BDR-S03J.  Coming in January, the new Blu-ray capable unit will read and burn Blu-ray discs, DVD+/-RW and CDs.

The new Pioneer drive will record to Blu-ray write-once discs at 8x speed, making it only the second drive (after Sony’s own unit) to do so.  Even though no 8x media currently exists for Blu-ray drives, the BDR-S03J will reportedly support burning 4x and 6x media at 8x speeds.  Given just how much data (currently up to 50GB) can be put onto one side of a disc, every increase in recording speeds helps that much more.  The drive isn’t so speedy at Blu-ray re-writeable discs, however, offering only 2x recording speed.  At 50GB, that’s over an hour and a half; for a more traditional 25GB disc, it’s still around 46 minutes.  The 8x single-write discs can be burned in 23 minutes for a 50GB disc and just over 11 for a 25GB side.  Twenty-five gigabytes of data in eleven minutes is very impressive, considering how long it takes to burn a regular DVD.

Unfortunately, however, Blu-ray recordable discs are still heinously expensive, with the cheapest single layer disc I’ve seen costing $5.  That’s also for a 2x disc, which would be risky trying to burn to at 8x, given the cost.  4x discs, compatible with the Pioneer drive’s high-speed mode, cost around $11, and a dual-layer disc still costs clost to a whopping $40!

Pioneer is also marketing the error-correcting features of the drive, suggesting that both CDs and DVDs will play despite being scratched and dirty.  Given how easy it is to scratch those optical discs, this is a handy option to have.

The BDR-S03J will be available early next year, starting off in Japan.  It will be available both in white and black finishes.  The drive comes with a copy of PowerDVD 8, to take advantage of the Blu-ray features.  No price point was set, though $399 was thrown around. 


Further reading:

AV Watch (machine translated from Japanese)

via Crunchgear



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