CD / DVD / Blu-ray Drives / Writers

Blu-ray data-transfer standards – SATA for internal and USB for external drives

Blu-ray writers (drives) use the USB (2 or 3) or any version SATA data-transfer standard, which are all backward-compatible, which means that a device built to use the latest version of SATA will run on the earliest version but only at the employed version’s data-transfer speeds. USB is used for drives connected externally and SATA for drives connected internally to the computer’s motherboard. If a computer uses only the old-technology PATA IDE standard, a Blu-ray writer or drive can only be used if a suitable SATA-to-IDE adapter can be obtained and employed. Maplin in the UK sells an IDE to SATA or SATA to IDE Adapter that can be used on a desktop PC. Laptops don’t provide the internal space required to use adapters of this kind.

Ultra SATA to IDE and IDE to SATA Adapter Review [Video] –

Blu-Ray Upgrade. How to Add Blu-Ray to your notebook –

Involves transplanting the mounting bracket and faceplate from the old drive to the new one.

A suitable video/graphics card (or integrated chip on the desktop or laptop computer’s motherboard) and monitor is required for Blu-ray playback and you should have a high-definition TV if you output the playback to a TV. Blu-ray movies have High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) copy protection that requires the support of both the graphics card and the monitor.

The following two webpages should provide you with all the information that you need to know. To find alternative information, enter the search query system requirements for blu-ray playback in a search engine.

Is Your PC High Definition DVD Ready? –

Is your PC ready for Blu-ray Discs – Download BD & 3D Advisor –

The Blu-ray and HD DVD disc standards

Sony’s Blu-ray high-definition disc standard defeated Toshiba’s HD-DVD standard in the high-definition war, so it is not advisable to buy a HD DVD writer/player, because Toshiba is no longer developing it, but the disc manufacturers will be making HD-DVD discs available for as long as the demand warrants doing so.

To recap: Blu-ray writers still cost about four or five or more times the cost of a DVD writer of the same type (in July 2014), so will only be provided by higher-end desktop and laptop PCs. You can currently buy a good-quality Sony, Samsung, Plextor, LiteOn, Asus, LG Blu-ray internal drives from between £50 and £90, but there is no need to spend more than £20 for DVD drive, with most of them costing between £8 and £15. External DVD writers cost about twice the price of internal drives. In July 2014, there was no need to spend more than £60 for a quality internal of external Blu-ray writer.

Here are some examples of the disc formats that a mid-priced Blu-ray drive can support:

Quoted read formats: CD-ROM 48X – DVD-ROM 16X – DVD-ROM dual layer 16X – DVD-RAM 12X – Blu-ray: BD-ROM 8X

Quoted write formats: CD-R 48X – CD-RW 24X – DVD+R 16X – DVD+RW 8X – DVD-R 16X – DVD-RW 6X – DVD+R DL 8X – DVD-R DL 8X – DVD-RAM 12X – Blu-ray: BD-R 12X – BD-R DL 8X – BD-RE 2X – BD-RE DL 2X

The new Blu-ray standard, created by Sony, also has write-once (BD-R) and rewritable (BD-RE) discs. Single and dual layer (DL) discs are available that have capacities of 25GB and 50GB respectively.

Note that a new specification of Blu-ray disc called BDXL, the discs of which can store up to 100GB or 128GB of data that came out in 2010/11. To use them requires require a specific Blu-ray BDXL drive/writer.

The new specification supports both rewritable and write-once formats, but currently (July 2016) only the write-once discs are available, priced very high compared to standard recordable Blu-ray discs.

For example, a pack of five 100GB 4X BDXL write-once discs made by Verbatim was priced at around a staggering £88, which works out at 88p per GB.

A 500GB external hard disk drive costing around £50 works out at a cost of only 10p per GB. A Blu-ray writer that supports BDXL, such as the  LG 16X Blu-ray M-Disc CD DVD BDXL BD Bluray Burner Drive, currently costs around £95, which is two to three times the cost of a standard Blu-ray writer. Note that current Blu-ray drives can’t read BDXL discs. However, firmware updates might make doing so possible.

50GB is enough storage for 9 hours of HD movies, 23 hours of standard definition content, or 72 music CDs on a single disc. Moreover, Blu-ray Disc gives you playback of MPEG2, the native compression technique for HDTV broadcasts, or even more capacity with advanced codes such as AVC.

Reviews of Blu-ray writers are stuck at around 2010/11, so I don’t have to update the following review.

LiteOn iHBS212 [Blu-ray writer] review [Review Date: 9 Sep 2010] –

Can my PC/computer play high-definition (HD) Blu-ray movies?

It is a common assumption that only a computer Blu-ray writer is required to watch (high-definition) HD movies. However, both the PC’s video/graphics card and its processor must be powerful enough. The PC should have at least a 2GHz dual-core processor and a suitable video/graphics card. The graphics card or motherboard should also have a DVI or HDMI output port that supports HDCP (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection). Blu-ray movies won’t play on computers that are not HDCP-compliant. Playback software, such as CyberLink PowerDVD is also a requirement.

What graphics card do I need to play Blu-ray/Blu-ray 3D Disc and TrueTheater 3D on my computer? –

Download BD & 3D Advisor –

Superfast online movie downloads will be competing with movies on Blu-ray discs to the extent that the Blu-ray standard might be marginalised.

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