Modern HDTVs can read all kinds of technology; DLNA streamed files, external hard drives, flash drives and heck, even SD cards. One thing they can’t read is data from USB optical drives. Or rather, make optical drives one thing HDTVs couldn’t read: Plextor’s new PX-612U External Slim DVD/CD Writer connects via USB and can play information stored on discs, thanks to some technical trickery that convinces TVs that the device is actually an external hard drive.
Once Blu-ray burners reached 8x writes, enabling them to fill a 25GB disc with data in less than 15 minutes, speed stopped being a major argument against the technology—now it’s just price and consumer need that stand in the way of widespread adoption. Still, for what it’s worth, Blu-ray write speeds continue to improve at a steady pace, and now, a mere six months after reviewing our first 8x drive, we’ve been presented with Plextor’s 12x B940SA.
But, you’ll probably wonder, what good is a 12x drive when today’s BD-R media has a maximum rating of 6x? As is the case with DVD and Blu-ray drives alike, hardware is often tuned to exceed the media’s spec, but typically such tuning is tied to a particular brand of media. Plextor’s B940SA, for example, reaches peak speed when writing to Sony and Panasonic BD discs.
Thus, we were able to write 22.56GB of data to a Sony BD-R single-layer disc in 10:57 (min:sec), a 36 percent improvement over our 8x champ, Pioneer’s BDR-2203 (reviewed September 2009), which took 14:56 at the task. When writing to a Panasonic BD-R double-layer disc, we achieved an unprecedented time of 22:05—that’s for a 50GB disc, folks!
The 12X external Blu-ray burner comes capable of writing data on both single and dual-layer disks. And while traditional external burners have usually been far less appealing than internal drives in terms of performance, that shouldn't be the case with a USB 3.0 interface.
To take advantage of the SuperSpeed spec, end-users will either need a compatible motherboard or one of the PCI-E cards that are starting to fill store shelves. For those who don't plan on upgrading in the immediate future but are in need of an external drive, Buffalo says its "fastest blu-ray burner ever" will still work just fine on a USB 2.0 port, it just won't be as fast. and chug along at 7X instead of 12X.
The new drive is expected to land in Japan by the end of December for around $450. No word yet on when it will make its way to the States or for how much.
LaCie's newest Blu-ray burner might as well be called the 'Top Gun' model because the company obviously felt the need for speed when designing it. The newly announced LaCie d2 Blu-ray Drive gooses the burn rating to 8X, or double the speed of its previous high-capacity Blu-ray drive.
"With the doubling of the speed to burn Blu-ray discs, video professionals will be able to spend more time creating content and less time on production," said Christelle Dexet, Multimedia Product Manager for LaCie. "And for those who need to safely store large quantities of information for extended periods of time on secure removable media, the LaCie d2 Blu-ray Drive is an ideal solution."
The external drive supports both USB 2.0 and FireWire 400 and can burn up to 50GB on a single dual-layer BD-R disc. DVD recording checks in at 16X, CDs at 48X, and dual-layer DVD at 8X.
LaCie's d2 Blu-ray burner is available now starting at $450 and comes bundled with Easy Media Creator 10 and Toast 9 Titanium software.
For more than a year, LG has been sitting pretty with the only 6x Blu-ray burner available for retail, but now that Sony’s BWU 300S offers 8x BD-R write speeds, LG’s supremacy has come to an end. Sort of.
The 300S is uncommonly fast—given the right circumstances. The drive managed to fill a 25GB BD-R disc with data in a blistering 13:56 (min:sec), compared with the LG GBW-H20L’s time of 22:16, but only when the drive was fed manufacturer-recommended Panasonic 6x media. And good luck finding that—our online search for the media was fruitless. When using more common 4x media, the 300S stuck closely to that speed rating, taking 22:56 to complete the same task.
Notebook vendors appear to cooling off towards the Blu-ray format, but can the high definition format attract more customers on the desktop? Buffalo seems to think so, who today has released not one, but two new 8x Blu-ray burners, one internal and one external.
The MediaStation 8x external Blu-ray drive holds promise for its obvious portability, and comes ready to connect via USB 2.0 or eSATA. The new drive measures 6.4 x 1.9 x 11 inches and weighs less than four pounds. In addition to 8x read and write speeds for BD-R media, Buffalo rates both the internal and external models at BD-RE 2x, DVD RAM 5x, DVD-R 16x, DVD+R 16x, DVD-RW 6x, DVD+RW 8x,CD-R 48x, and CD-RW 24x.
MSRP has been set to $400 for the external version and $350 for the internal model, both shipping with a suite of CyberLink software.