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.

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