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The launch of the first 4X Blu-ray drive is imminent, but features are not so outstanding

The word around the neighborhood is that Hitachi-LG will be launching the world's first 4x Blu-ray drive for the PC within the next few days in China.

The GBW-H10N will be the first 4x recording drive that will be able to write not only to Blu-ray  BD-R and BD-RE media but also to the standard DVD and CD formats. The downside to the GBW-H10N is that it is not able to write to dual-layer BD-R media which means 25GB is the maximum that can be written by this model.

The Hitachi-LG product basically gives a performance increase (144Mbps Blu-ray write speeds) with a hit on support for 2+ layer Blu-ray media at this point. There is still no word as to whether the firmware can be updated in the future to support dual-layer media. Regardless, at current prices we would rather wait another year to adopt Blu-ray for regular uses or more as we are content with our standard 16x DVD writers that can be had for well under $100.

However, it is nice to know that someone is working on write speeds higher than the standard 2x even before the initial release of the new high-density optical standard. Pricing has been set at $923 US which is slightly lower than many other manufacturer's are pricing their drives. Sony also launched a Blu-ray recorder which supports dual-layer BD media and is priced even lower at $749. The catch is that recording speeds of other media are slower than the maximum we can achieve with standard DVD recorders.




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Why?
By AppaYipYip on 7/26/2006 1:40:38 PM , Rating: 2
Why would anyone buy a high capacity disc drive, when you can purchase a USB or Firewire portable Hard drive with 5 times the capacity for 1/4 of the price?

Useless.




RE: Why?
By segagenesis on 7/26/2006 1:48:45 PM , Rating: 2
I'm willing to argue here for the sake of apparent lack of knowledge of previous history. I could go on about how early CD-R/DVD-R drives cost twice this much and the point is exactly that, bleeding edge storage tech always costs alot of money and will eventually subsuide. Personally I'm not that thrilled about diving into a new format until the "war" between the two is over with, rather than the introductory cost.

It's the same old argument and that horse is not getting any more alive from the beatings, most of everyone seems to want the latest tech for $5 or less. And as far as buying a portable USB storage drive of 500 gigs for $300, yeah its cheaper per gigabyte but its still a mechanical disk that will eventually fail. If you use this as your only backup medium I will laugh when you eventually lose all your data.


RE: Why?
By MrDiSante on 7/26/2006 1:56:20 PM , Rating: 2
Just felt like pointing out two things:
1. Optical storage sometimes fails just like mechanical disks after it gets to a certain age, especially if it is stored in a slightly sunnier/hotter place
2. My PIII system is still using a 6.5 year old hard drive (a cheapo 13.7 gig Fujitsu) as its system drive and I've not had a single bad sector. Now considering that when it's in use as a system drive it doesn't fail for 6.5 years I highly doubt that one used as a backup for the same amount of time would fail, and honestly, 13.7 gigs is a joke as far as storage goes these days so by then if it fails, the point is really moot.


RE: Why?
By Fenixgoon on 7/26/2006 2:02:36 PM , Rating: 3
blu ray discs are much more sensitive to scratching due to the fact that laser doesn't go as deep. pits are much closer to the surface, and even with a protective coating, are more likely to be damaged.


RE: Why?
By androticus on 7/27/2006 2:47:40 AM , Rating: 2
This has not been established yet. The entire point of the BluRay coating is to protect the thinner recording layer. They spent a lot of $$ on it, so one hopes it works!


RE: Why?
By masher2 (blog) on 7/27/2006 9:33:31 AM , Rating: 2
> "The entire point of the BluRay coating is to protect the thinner recording layer..."

Except that every media manufacturer which is producing both BD and HD-DVD is putting that coating on *both* disks. So I think its a safe bet that BD will be at least slightly more prone to damage.


RE: Why?
By lucyfek on 7/26/2006 2:03:20 PM , Rating: 2
isn't a optical disk a mechanical device? you can touch it and damege it more easilly than hdd plater. the only difference is than for 1k$ you can buy s...load of hdds (way beyond 1TB) and only one br writer (with no media, or maybe they bundle a one disc). the only disadvantage to a hdd (stored under similiar conditions like br disk) i can see is that you loos more data at once if all goes wrong - 1TB+ vs 25GB. flash also seems like a cheaper and long lasting option.


RE: Why?
By segagenesis on 7/26/2006 2:22:46 PM , Rating: 2
Since it would be a waste to reply to all three of you at once I'll pick you. I think my point flew right over your heads when you apparently did not understand my last sentence. If you are going to backup your data make sure its on more than one different type of media, the OP seemed to suggest that by buying a large USB portable hard drive it was the end all solution which it is not.

Good for you if your hard drive has lasted years, I have a 20 year old MFM that still works but thats not the point... some fail and some dont. If your optical discs are getting scratched up you may want to stop running over them with your chair. At the very least, its easier to just make a second copy on another DVD-R or one of the newer high capacity discs than to just buy another portable hard drive.

Lastly, I'm well familiar with buying a bunch of hard drives for RAID, because there is one sitting right beside me right now. There has been a drive failure in the past too, so even when you may assume that with the utmost care they will not fail... there is still that chance. Keep spares handy!


RE: Why?
By jjunos on 7/26/2006 3:15:09 PM , Rating: 2
Or rather back up your media on multiple raids.

Which is what you should do regardless since how cheap it is now to set up a decent raid. Oh, geoplexed too.

:)


RE: Why?
By soupmoose on 7/27/2006 8:58:18 AM , Rating: 2
"...previous history."

As opposed to future history? Or previous future? :P


RE: Why?
By masher2 (blog) on 7/26/2006 2:27:47 PM , Rating: 2
> "when you can purchase a USB or Firewire portable Hard drive with 5 times the capacity for 1/4 of the price? "

The point all of you seemed to miss is the above calculation itself is incorrect. This BD writer doesn't have a 25GB capacity. It has 25GB per disk.

The cost of the writer is a one-time charge, amortized over all the media you purchase. If you intend to write several thousand discs, the cost of the writer is small by comparison.


RE: Why?
By TomZ on 7/26/2006 2:58:45 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The point all of you seemed to miss is the above calculation itself is incorrect. This BD writer doesn't have a 25GB capacity. It has 25GB per disk.

Great post; I was beginning to wonder if anybody else had realized that this drive uses removable media!

The comparison between a drive like this and a HDD is only sensible when the HDD cost approaches the removable media cost. This would mean being able to buy 25GB HDDs for around $25 and 50GB HDDs for around $40 at today's prices. And of course, these disc prices will go down a lot as manufacturing volumes increase.


RE: Why?
By segagenesis on 7/26/2006 4:15:53 PM , Rating: 2
I was beginning to wonder if anybody else had realized that this drive uses removable media!

Well my main intention was to point out that too many people are trusting portable hard drive storage as if its indestructible somehow and likewise treating your optical media like crap = data loss.

For a long term viewpoint, I still stand by waiting on the technology to settle rather than the price. My reasons behind this is that you would not want to backup all your stuff to Blu-Ray media only to find in a year nobody is making the stuff anymore... I believe a similar syndrome occurs for those who still have stuff backed up to 9-track tape and do not have anything to read the media with! Unfortunately we are in a perpetual state of data retention and simply moving it to a different medium every few years.

I do not intend my above comments in a negative way against new optical media, it's a good thing that 25GB discs will be available soon since currently large drives and arrays would easily take up an entire spindle of conventional DVD-R. Tape as a viable backup format remains out of the hands of your average user still... maybe I'm thinking too hard? There will probably always be a size imbalance between hard disk storage and optical media, at least flash is an up and coming alternative.


RE: Why?
By Laney327 on 7/26/2006 5:18:54 PM , Rating: 2
I agree with you. I think a lot of people on here forget that people who can affort $1k burners that do the same thing as $40 DVD burners (other than 5x the space) are either really rich or need it for a specific purpose.

Also I don't think any media that comes on a 5 1/4 inch disc will be unable to be read by anything in the future. By the time the next-generation of whatever comes out it is so cheap to put the last generation that they usually include them. Even DVD-RAM has support (for reading) on most drives now.


Not yet
By archcommus on 7/26/2006 1:21:04 PM , Rating: 2
Don't really know why'd you invest in this yet when two years from Blu-ray may be forgotten about and HD-DVD may be the standard. Then you're stuck with a drive that no media is sold for.

The war is not over, these products are worthless!




RE: Not yet
By masher2 (blog) on 7/26/2006 2:30:08 PM , Rating: 2
> "when two years from Blu-ray may be forgotten about and HD-DVD may be the standard..."

Two years from now, neither BD nor HD-DVD will be forgotten. Dual-format players will be ubiquitous by then and, I strongly suspect, the "format war" will have concluded with both sides claiming victory.


RE: Not yet
By brystmar on 7/26/2006 2:47:41 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, both sides have already claimed victory. :)


RE: Not yet
By archcommus on 7/26/2006 2:58:16 PM , Rating: 2
Both sides will not win in the long run. It'd be uneconomical for everybody, movie studios would have to put out two versions of everything. Eventually one will fade into oblivion.


RE: Not yet
By masher2 (blog) on 7/26/2006 3:41:16 PM , Rating: 2
> "Both sides will not win in the long run. It'd be uneconomical for everybody, movie studios would have to put out two versions of everything."

No. If everyone has a dual-format player, then movie studios can choose which format they wish to support...with little to no impact on the consumer.

How many different DVD formats are there? 8? I've lost count.


RE: Not yet
By Xavian on 7/26/2006 3:50:51 PM , Rating: 2
DVD, DVD9, DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+R, DVD+RW, DVD-RAM, MiniDVD and thats about it. However DVD-R and DVD-RW are virtually the same format but rewritable and so are their DVD+R counterparts.

However the difference between DVD-R and DVD+R is minute compared to the difference between HD-DVD and Blu-Ray, so i wouldn't expect dual format players for a long time. Plus i believe Sony has 'encouraged' all Blu-Ray supporters to not make a dual format drive.

Everything right now points towards a non-dual format future rather then the opposite.


RE: Not yet
By masher2 (blog) on 7/26/2006 4:50:41 PM , Rating: 2
> "However the difference between DVD-R and DVD+R is minute compared to the difference between HD-DVD and Blu-Ray, so i wouldn't expect dual format players for a long time."

Err, at least two different manufacturers have already announced dual-format players. The first units should be out by Christmas.


RE: Not yet
By Scrogneugneu on 7/26/2006 10:48:01 PM , Rating: 2
Great, dual-format players for 1500$ to enable the playback of those 12 (sucky) movies currently out. I can't wait.


RE: Not yet
By Xavian on 7/26/2006 3:45:13 PM , Rating: 2
gee masher2, i'd kill for that crystal ball you have :P

seriously, one format could die or even both could and they could both survive. The future is a greatly unpredicitible thing, especially when it comes to the fast moving sector of electronics.


RE: Not yet
By Trisped on 7/26/2006 2:33:33 PM , Rating: 2
No, in the PC market interoperability is not as important as large storage needs. In reality, if this drive never gets DL-BlueRay support it will still be a good buy (if you are using BlueRay for storage) since single layer disks are much cheaper to make.

That is not to say I suggest you go out and buy one of these so you can back everything up. Tape drives are still way more economical for long term storage and hard drives for short term.


war..what war?
By kattanna on 7/26/2006 1:56:01 PM , Rating: 2
so i walk into best buy the other day and they have an HD-DVD player playing on a HD sony tv...the irony was obviously lost on the people putting it together..

but a war?

lets see..the display area had a HD-DVD player, $499, actually running with a selection of about 20? movies. next to it was the BR-DVD which was listed at $999 and was a card board sign saying coming soon with no movies present.

hardly a "war" LOL







RE: war..what war?
By One43637 on 7/26/2006 2:23:02 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
by kattanna on July 26, 2006 at 1:56 PM

so i walk into best buy the other day and they have an HD-DVD player playing on a HD sony tv...the irony was obviously lost on the people putting it together..

but a war?

lets see..the display area had a HD-DVD player, $499, actually running with a selection of about 20? movies. next to it was the BR-DVD which was listed at $999 and was a card board sign saying coming soon with no movies present.

hardly a "war" LOL


while i find the pairing funny, i wonder if the staff did that on purpose just to provoke a few laughs. i know i would have if i worked there. =)

i'm a little worried about the Best Buy you went to. while i'm not applauding at the lack of selection for Blue Ray movies, they do have them available. so i'm not sure why the cardboard sign was up saying coming soon for the player and the movies at the store you were at.


RE: war..what war?
By TomZ on 7/26/2006 2:49:37 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
hardly a "war" LOL

Sounds like a war when only one side showed up. I guess HD-DVD can easily claim market victory so far. Could be different in a year, however. But the market is not always kind to those who show up late, even if they bring something better, especially if a "Holiday Selling Season" goes by.


RE: war..what war?
By therealnickdanger on 7/27/2006 10:59:22 AM , Rating: 2
HD-DVD has the upper hand right now: more movies, cheaper movies, better picture quality (nearly all BRD movies still use MPEG2 on a single layer instead of H.264 or VC-1... durrr), and a very good (post firmware update) player at a "cheap" price.

What may turn the tide and still remains to be seen is the success (or lack thereof) of the PS3. A lot of people claim they'll buy one no matter how much it costs and you know it will be featured all over Pimp My Ride and Cribs (gotta play dat Madden), but I honestly can't see it moving enough units in the mainstream at that price, especially if Xbox360 has a price drop in the fall (they say they won't, but they probably will).

I'm no market expert, but I am a gamer and that's just my opinion. With a number of developers bailing on exclusivity, whining about Cell performance and programmability, and the console's high price... I dunno. Sony will still have games that people want to play and people will buy it, after all, I had a buddy that bought a 3DO for $700 in the 90s, so anything is possible... Many may even buy it solely as a "budget" BRD player, which is what I think Sony is banking on more than anything.


Toooooo Expensive!!!
By klingon on 7/26/2006 1:27:31 PM , Rating: 2
Its better to buy a high-end graphic card than buyin' this expensive drives...whose media's are scarse!!!




Don't like the looks.
By EarthsDM on 7/26/2006 2:46:40 PM , Rating: 2
If I pay a huge amount for a disk drive, I don't want it looking that ugly. For around $1000 it should be plated in gold, or come with eight one hundred dollar bills in the box. As for those of you fighting over BR and HD-DVD, please don't get any blood on my shoes, ok? Then I'd have to break out the hose.




Subject
By Howard on 7/26/2006 9:49:45 PM , Rating: 2
SATA interface?




"I want people to see my movies in the best formats possible. For [Paramount] to deny people who have Blu-ray sucks!" -- Movie Director Michael Bay
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