Print 39 comment(s) - last by Blackraven.. on Jul 2 at 10:51 AM

Plextor will add to the Blu-ray foray with its first BDR drive

Plextor, Inc. has been one of the leading optical storage device manufacturers since the CD-ROM drive days and has produced some top notch DVD writers in the last few years. It is now time to jump in to yet another optical format; one of two high density formats recently introduced which is Blu-ray.

Plextor will be announcing its PX-B900A which will be capable of writing to single (25GB) and dual layer (50GB) Blu-ray media at 2x speeds as well as Blu-ray rewritable media. The PX-B900A will also feature reading and writing capabilities to your favorite DVD±R at 8x and DVD±R DL at 4x media as well as DVD-RAM media at 5x. There is no mention on the Plextor-Europe website about DVD±RW or CD-R/RW media so we will have to wait for the official press release.

If you all remember a month back LG Electronics introduced a 4x Blu-ray drive which has a 'tentative' launch date of sometime this summer and a cost of around $1000. Pricing on Plextor's Blu-ray drive has yet to be announced but we're assuming it will be around the same mark as all other Blu-ray drives announced have presented the same numbers. The PX-B900A has a September/October launch schedule.

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Archive only
By Alphafox78 on 6/29/2006 3:33:24 PM , Rating: 2
Seeing as MS is supporting HD-DVD, what are these drives good for? archiving? I dont think you will be able to play moves with them.
also, where are the HD-DVD read only drives??

RE: Archive only
By rrsurfer1 on 6/29/2006 3:45:38 PM , Rating: 2
I haven't read anything about MS only supporting HD-DVD, however if you really expect Blu-Ray disks will never play movies on computer's, your not living in reality. If the demand is there (which it will be), someone will make the software. If not MS, then someone else.

RE: Archive only
By TomZ on 6/29/2006 4:01:32 PM , Rating: 2
Microsoft doesn't have to do anything for this drive. Plextor just has to supply device drivers. But in the end, Microsoft will ship support for both Blu-ray and HD-DVD for Windows if the market demands it.

RE: Archive only
By dagamer34 on 6/29/2006 4:19:55 PM , Rating: 3
Just like how you're able to play DVD movies on a fresh install of Windows XP, right?

RE: Archive only
By TomZ on 6/29/2006 4:25:11 PM , Rating: 2
Yea, right - NOT.

By "supporting" Blu-ray, I mean being able to access the data on the drive. That is Microsoft's job. It is not Microsoft's job to give you a software application to play Blu-ray movies in Windows. That is left to third parties, as it has been with DVDs.

RE: Archive only
By Master Kenobi on 6/29/2006 4:32:22 PM , Rating: 2
Microsoft tried to add in DVD player functionality to Windows Media Player which is bundled with Windows, but the number of lawsuits would have been crazy. The third parties do not want Microsoft to bundle the decryption sequence to play DVD or HD-DVD, or Blu-Ray into media player, they want to sell to the drive manufacturers and the PC makers, a piece of software to actually play movies on the drive. Hence why we even have software like WinDVD or Roxio's DVDMAX Player. Windows Media could have crushed that back in the DVD days.

RE: Archive only
By namechamps on 6/30/2006 4:29:32 AM , Rating: 3
Not true. Don't make microsoft look like the good guy. There were no lawsuits or threats of lawsuits. The truth is that there are a LOT of patents and thus royalties for DVD playback. Any legal DVD playback device (be it software, or hardware) has to pay royalties to the technology owners. I believe when XP was being developed the royalty package was about $2 per player. Microsoft wanted a deal aka "We are going to put this software in front of 1/2 billion people. We want to only pay $0.50 per copy." The DVD consortium denied the request. Their thinking was that anyone who had XP and wanted to play DVD would buy (or have bundled) the necessary software and there was no reason to offer Microsoft a deal.

So Microsoft OPTED out of DVD playback in Windows Media Player. All over $2 per copy of windows. As much as microsoft makes in licensing technology to others they were unwilling to pay out to other license holders. I mean retail price of Windows XP Home/Pro is $99/$149 right?

The flip side today is that Microsoft is a part of the HD-DVD Alliance and therefore will include software for HD-DVD playback natively in Windows. BlueRay software will require seperate software (either bought or bundled) to play back software. Of course Microsoft could have WMP natively support both formats but that once again would be paying royalties to their competitor so it will never happen.

The only advantage of Vista having native HD-DVD playback is that Media Center PC running Vista will not need another piece of software and hence a more steamlined and consistant look. Not really a big deal but I do think it is funny that Vista will playback HD-DVD (but not DVD) natively.

RE: Archive only
By masher2 on 6/30/2006 11:49:22 AM , Rating: 3
> "Not true. Don't make microsoft look like the good guy."

Don't try to make them look like a bad guy. The fact is, hardware royalty costs constitute the bulk of the costs of a player (a total of nearly $25/player when XP was first released, though its lower now).

Software royalty costs are $2.50 a copy. Considering that Microsoft sells the bulk of Windows copies OEM, at prices that can dip below $25/copy, that's a huge percentage.

Consider also that anyone watching a DVD in Windows obviously has a DVD drive, and has thus ALREADY paid for the full licensing package.

Essentially the DVD consortium wanted to collect the same fees twice. And they wanted to collect full price for both times, all for just giving the consumer a slight advantage in convenience.

I think it's clear who the "bad guy" is here.

> "There were no lawsuits or threats of lawsuits."

There were no lawsuits before Microsoft included a free browser in Windows either. After the fact, though-- lawsuits abounded.

Conceptually, there is no difference between bundling browser services and bundling DVD playback in Windows. The same spectre of legal harrassment exists.

It's amusing to see people simultaneously complain that Windows is anti-competitive bloatware, while also whining about lack of certain features. Such is human nature.

RE: Archive only
By WeaselITB on 6/29/2006 4:32:35 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly. I'd rather track down a 3rd-party program for the one installation that I wish to play DVDs on than spend the extra $20 fee to the MPEG group every time I buy a copy of XP.

RE: Archive only
By hannons on 6/29/2006 5:38:01 PM , Rating: 2
where are the HD-DVD read only drives??

I believe I read a while back that all Blu-ray and HD-DVD computer drives were going to be read/write. There would be no "read-only" drives.

RE: Archive only
By threepac3 on 6/30/2006 5:34:44 AM , Rating: 2
MS is supporting HD-DVD for reading and writing, while Blu-Ray will most likely get reading support. It's really erelivent though whether MS supports writing. For example how meny people you know use Windows shell to burn CD's? How meny optical disk drive manufacturers use Windows built-in software burner, instead of bundling Nero or EasyCD?

Complete Specs and Details
By NextGenGamer2005 on 6/29/2006 9:48:19 PM , Rating: 3
Unlike DailyTech, X-bit Labs has the complete details on Plextor's new PX-B900A. It is to be available in September/October 2006, and will be able to burn at these speeds:

2x BD-R, BD-RW (Single- and Dual-Layer)
24x CD-R
16x CD-RW

And there you have it. Complete CD-R/RW support.

RE: Complete Specs and Details
By PT2006 on 6/29/2006 10:25:35 PM , Rating: 3
Clearly, xbitlabs > dailytech.

Except every third story they write is wrong. Is a 24x CD writer that costs $20 that important to you? I mean you're already dropping a grand on the thing---

RE: Complete Specs and Details
By NextGenGamer2005 on 6/29/2006 10:46:46 PM , Rating: 2
You're missing the point: if you are dropping a grand on a new optical drive, it would be nice if it supported everything. Having to spend another $20 on a second unit to make up for missing features is just dumb. Plus, a lot of people (like me) just don't like having two optical drives installed. I prefer having only one that satisfies all of my burning needs.

RE: Complete Specs and Details
By Strunf on 6/30/2006 5:46:59 AM , Rating: 2
I agree with you however I always have 2 optical drives, when I bought my DVD burner I kept my CD burner, when I bought my 2nd DVD burner I kept my older DVD burner, chances are when I buy a Blu-ray burner I'll keep my DVD burner.

By Master Kenobi on 6/30/2006 7:39:38 AM , Rating: 2
I keep 2 similar optical drives in my machine, but then its meant for me to burn more than 1 copy of a DVD at the same time......... not that were copying movies or anything :D

RE: Complete Specs and Details
By PrinceGaz on 6/30/2006 8:56:04 AM , Rating: 2
Plus, a lot of people (like me) just don't like having two optical drives installed. I prefer having only one that satisfies all of my burning needs.

Each to their own, but I very much prefer having two optical drives-- a good one which can do everything but which is normally only used for DVD burning, and a cheapo drive for software-installations, playing/ripping movies, music etc. Having two optical drives minimises the wear and tear on the most expensive one, prolonging its life.

The last thing I'd want to do is drop $1000 for a first-gen HD-DVD or Blu-Ray burner and then use it for playing DVDs and CDs all day. That would be madness!

2x Speed... 50 gigs.... Hmmm
By xKelemvor on 6/29/2006 4:30:16 PM , Rating: 2
Any idea how long it might take to burn a DVD? If the speeds are equal... 2x on a 4.5gig DVD takes 30 minutes. 50 gigs is 10 times as big....

RE: 2x Speed... 50 gigs.... Hmmm
By Master Kenobi on 6/29/2006 4:33:22 PM , Rating: 2
the X speed is relative to the various formats. 2x DVD writes faster than a 2x CD. so 2X BD is faster but not by much, at 2x it takes almost an hour for 25GB disk, I believe the test was done on

By Master Kenobi on 6/29/2006 4:37:56 PM , Rating: 2
My fault there, 42 minutes roughly to fill the single layer 25GB disk.,1697,1980121...

RE: 2x Speed... 50 gigs.... Hmmm
By Xavian on 6/29/2006 4:41:56 PM , Rating: 2
so if you wanted to burn twice that amount onto blu-ray at 2x, it would take 2 hours...

I guess its still USB2 external HDD's and DVD's for me for a long time to come.

RE: 2x Speed... 50 gigs.... Hmmm
By AncientPC on 6/29/2006 5:46:06 PM , Rating: 2
42min/25GB @ BRD 2x = 1.68min/GB
15min/4.7GB @ DVD 4x = 3.19min/GB

So BRD 2x is rougly DVD 8x.

By mmp121 on 6/29/2006 5:03:54 PM , Rating: 2
No mention of CD-R / CD-RW write speeds. Is it going to be capable of writing CD's ?

RE: Strange
By SonicIce on 6/29/2006 5:31:04 PM , Rating: 3
is it capable of reading CD's?

RE: Strange
By brystmar on 6/29/2006 5:34:14 PM , Rating: 2
That was the first thing I noticed when I read the description: no mention of CD reading or writing support. I would assume that this was a given, but considering Samsung's first Blu-ray + DVD burner couldn't even read standard CDs (much less write to them!) I think it's a valid question.

RE: Strange
By Strunf on 6/30/2006 5:41:00 AM , Rating: 2
From cdrinfo

"The PX-B900A not only uses the latest Blu-ray technology, but is also a dual-layer DVD drive that combines multiple formats - DVD+/-R/RW and RAM - into one. It can accept both 12cm and 8cm discs (in the horizontal position) and has a large 8MB buffer to ensure there is no data interruption. Write speeds: 2x BD-R/BD-RE, 8x DVD+R/-R/+RW, 6x DVD-RW, 4x DVD+R/-R DL, 5x DVD-RAM, 24x CD-R and 16x CD-RW."

Price Premium
By CKDragon on 6/29/2006 3:27:35 PM , Rating: 2
Plextor drives always seem to carry a bit of a price premium, so perhaps other manufacturers will be cheaper. Of course, those "other manufacturers" tend to include LG and the article says their drive will be $1000.

That said, I'll restate my hope that both of the new formats fail, the greedy movie studios lose a lot of money, and that we get less DRM-ified/more advanced next-generation unified format. I can dream. :)

RE: Price Premium
By WeaselITB on 6/29/2006 4:30:51 PM , Rating: 2
The LG drive referenced in the article will also be a 4x, while the Plextor here is only a 2x.

Hopefully that will mean they'll both be at the $1000 price point. ;)

RE: Price Premium
By dice1111 on 6/29/2006 4:33:34 PM , Rating: 2
I dream the same dream you do. I just don't know what Bill Cosbey is doing in it... "goo goo ca chooo"

By rushfan2006 on 6/30/2006 9:32:55 AM , Rating: 2
Right up front -- spare me the history lesson of how much the first CD-RW drives cost or how much you remember paying for your first DVD-R +/- drive...all that tells me is 1 of 3 things : 1) You are doing very well financially and so dropping a grand here and there is no big deal. If that's the case, count your blessings and congratulations -- can you lend me a few grand? ;), 2) You have a real business need for the product. Its a tool that earns you money and you likely can write it off with your taxes or just outright have your company pay for it, and if neither of those two apply then its just 3) You are impatient to a fault, you stupidly will fork out money just to a step ahead of the "Jones" on your block, even though you have no valid business NEED or truly the funds to really afford it. In short, IMHO -- the folks that fall into #3 are idiots.

I'll just wait until prices drop and guess what if prices don't drop (which of course they will) I just won't buy.

I rather throw $1000 towards building a new system then getting one single optical drive.

By abhaxus on 6/30/2006 2:19:17 PM , Rating: 2
if it weren't for your type 3 there would not be many successful CE products. they aren't necessarily idiots, they are early adopters.

that said... a grand is a bit too much. i don't really care about writing support I want reading support. i'd pay 300 for an hd-dvd drive right now (it would have to be less for bluray, not as many movies i want to see on that format).

By Blackraven on 7/2/2006 10:51:49 AM , Rating: 2
For my upcoming PC, I'd rather for ASUS to launch their Blu-ray optical drive (since I'm a fan of using ASUS products for Optical Drives and Motherboards)

Plextor is not that big of a brand IMO.

Interesting technology...
By killerroach on 6/29/2006 3:18:05 PM , Rating: 2
...definitely gets me intrigued as a hopeless hardware geek, but with media being exorbitantly expensive and no way to play BR movies on a PC drive quite yet, I just don't see what the point is. As long as DVD media is as cheap as it is right now, I doubt that I'll be taking the plunge anytime soon, although, in an extremely nerdy way, the potential to back up an entire hard drive partition onto a single disk does sound really freaking cool.

By Heatlesssun on 6/29/2006 9:14:13 PM , Rating: 2
With the competition that is about to begin between HD-DVD and Blu-Ray, unless just have the money to spend, wait about to this time next year.

These things will be 1/3 the cost and more reliable.

I look forward to that, until then, these drives don't mean much.

By noobownage11 on 6/29/06, Rating: -1
RE: useless?
By noobownage11 on 6/29/06, Rating: -1
RE: useless?
By casket on 6/29/2006 3:38:58 PM , Rating: 2
Plextor is "capable of writing".
PS3 is not.

RE: useless?
By tuteja1986 on 6/30/2006 12:58:03 AM , Rating: 2
ahh :( so expensive... HD-DVD rom drive would cost about $200 :( but i don't about burners.

RE: useless?
By bighairycamel on 7/1/2006 9:17:54 AM , Rating: 2
Wrong, fail, F - -. They woulds till cost around $600. Sure it's cheaper, but not THAT cheap.

"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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