Pioneer was excited to release more Blu-ray details today, but claims consumer Blu-ray is not ready yet

A week ago, Pioneer introduced their Blu-ray product line, including the BDR-101A Blu-ray recorder.  The BDR-101A is capable of recording and playing 25GB Blu-ray writeable BD-R/RE discs at 2x data transfer rates, or just about 72 Mbits/sec.  Blu-ray can fit more data on a standard DVD-sized media by using a blue laser with a shorter wavelength instead of the traditional red laser.  

Today's press conference gave us more details on the BDR-101A, including the extremely steep $995 price tag.  Then again, if you don't mind the $50/disc cost of Blu-ray, a grand or so for a burner might be a value. Pioneer representatives stressed that recordable Blu-ray exists only to help get Blu-ray media out to market, and is really only practical for studio productions.  Consumer grade Blu-ray players will not feature any recording capability, nor high definition analog audio output like those of SACD players.  Pioneer's first consumer player, the BDP-HD1, will be ready in May, and come with a $1,800 price tag.

The BDR-101A is expected to ship within the next few months in the US.  The HD-DVD consortium is also expected to release more "official" tidbits about HD-DVD and HD-DVDR, with players like those Toshiba announced earlier today.  As one Pioneer representative said about Blu-ray, "[We're] confident we will preveal. Nobody wanted a format war."  With the recordable format wars starting up again, don't be surprised if we see multi-format burners, perhaps capable of HD-DVDR and Blu-ray.  Several manufacturers we've talked to have already hinted at adding multi-format burners to their lineup around the second or third generation.  

When asked to confirm the details on region settings on Blu-ray, Pioneer simply stated that regional locking and zones is not yet finalized.  The news earlier this week that Blu-ray will combine the US and Japanese regions is still unconfirmed.

"So, I think the same thing of the music industry. They can't say that they're losing money, you know what I'm saying. They just probably don't have the same surplus that they had." -- Wu-Tang Clan founder RZA
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