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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