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A more cost effective Blu-Ray disc recorder

Sony has released its BWU-100A Blu-ray disc drive for computer systems. The BWU-100A is a standard 5.25" PATA disc drive with playback and recording support for Blu-ray discs. Playback of Blu-ray movies will be supported with the BWU-100A, however, an HDCP compliant graphics card and display is required to playback protected AACS content. A high definition display is also required to experience the full 1080 lines of high definition goodness.

The BWU-100A is a multi-format disc drive that supports recording to Blu-ray, DVD-R, DVD+R and CD-R/RW discs. Blu-ray discs up to 50GB are supported with the BWU-100A. Sony claims a 50GB Blu-ray disc can accommodate approximately 4 hours of 1080i video. Recording speeds of up to 2x are supported with Blu-ray media which is typical for a first generation drive. DVD recording is limited to a maximum of 8x with DVD+R and DVD-R media while CD recording is limited to a maximum speed of 24x.

Pricing for the BWU-100A will be around $749 which is a little less than the recently announced BenQ BW1000, LG GBW-H10N and Pioneer BDR-101A. Sony BWU-100A Blu-ray recorders will be available starting late July to make use of the previously announced TDK Blu-ray media.

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getting cheaper...
By bunnyfubbles on 7/18/2006 6:51:44 PM , Rating: 1
$1000 to $750 ;)

RE: getting cheaper...
By dome1234 on 7/18/2006 7:08:10 PM , Rating: 2
the lower price is certainly attractive to some, but the cost of the media is still rather prohibitive. Personally, i wouldn't mind spending a grand on the burner, but the media cost hasn't been very economical.

RE: getting cheaper...
By Spoonbender on 7/18/2006 8:43:49 PM , Rating: 4
You wouldn't? I just can't see the point
If I want to take backup, buying another HD is more economical. Also a hell of a lot faster and more reliable.
How much disk space could you get for $750?

If I want to transfer data, this would be useless as well, because, well, where would I transfer anything *to*? If I were to buy one, I'd be the only one I knew who had a compatible drive, so I could, uh... Burn stuff, and then read it again on my own computer?
Not worth $750.
Not even worth $75. I might give it a shot for $7.5.

So, no point in using it for my own data. I guess I could use it to read other people's data then. Except... No one else has one of these.
There's hardly any content available for these things. Oh, right, I could buy one of those 5 movies Sony released on Blu-Ray...
And even if there were content, I wouldn't be able to use it meaningfully without HDCP support...

For all practical purposes, optical media is just obsolete.
Optical media crippled by DRM is not just obsolete, but also completely pointless.

RE: getting cheaper...
By TomZ on 7/18/2006 9:43:38 PM , Rating: 2
If I want to take backup, buying another HD is more economical. Also a hell of a lot faster and more reliable.
How much disk space could you get for $750?

I think this kind of drive would be ideal for some kinds of backup, like off-site backup. We back up our data to RAID HDDs on a separate server, but we still like to take backups off-site periodically. At the moment we are using USB HDD's for this, but I think that a drive like this would be more convenient, compact, and economical.

Other than that, I would have zero use for such a drive.

RE: getting cheaper...
By Spoonbender on 7/19/2006 9:56:52 AM , Rating: 2
How can a drive which costs $750, and where the media has tiny capacity (compared to harddrives) and costs mmuch more per GB than even external harddrives, ever be "economical"?
Other than that, using optical media for backup is a baaad idea.

RE: getting cheaper...
By TomZ on 7/19/2006 1:53:45 PM , Rating: 2
How can a drive which costs $750, and where the media has tiny capacity (compared to harddrives) and costs mmuch more per GB than even external harddrives, ever be "economical"?

Tiny capacity? BD is 25GB, 50GB, ..., 200GB. Our backup packages are in the 5-10GB range, so the capacity is pretty good. Economical? Probably a bit pricey now, but I would expect the same agressive downward price trend for drives and media as we saw with CD-R's and DVD-RW's.
Other than that, using optical media for backup is a baaad idea.

It's reliabile, allows random access, it's relatively fast, small to store, etc. Why do you think it's a bad idea? Keep in mind I'm just talking about off-site backup to protect against data loss due to fire, theft, or something else catastrophic.

RE: getting cheaper...
By Trisped on 7/19/2006 12:57:38 PM , Rating: 2
Tapes. The drives are $200-400 the tapes are $5-50 and the size is comparable to optical disks. Plus, you get better TB/$ and longer shelf life (most claiming the tapes can be written for 10 years and read for years even after that). The downside of tape is the seek time, but if you are just backing up data it doesn't matter. When you need the data you just copy it all back onto the hard drives and you are set.

RE: getting cheaper...
By TomZ on 7/19/2006 1:58:11 PM , Rating: 2
I think that BD will be at the same price-point as tape in 1-2 years, and IMO, discs are faster and more convenient, mainly due to the sequential nature of tapes. In addition, if you want to read the data later, it will be easier to find a machine with a BD player than a tape drive, since the latter are more specialized devices whereas disc players are ubiquitous.

RE: getting cheaper...
By bob661 on 7/18/2006 7:18:49 PM , Rating: 2
however, an HDCP compliant graphics card and display is required to playback protected AACS content. A high definition display is also required to experience the full 1080 lines of high definition goodness.
Doesn't matter what price this is because who can use it at this moment?

RE: getting cheaper...
By masher2 on 7/18/2006 7:28:51 PM , Rating: 2
> "who can use it at this moment? "

For a recorder, it makes sense that the target audience is those primarily looking to record ...not playback prerecorded movies.. I recognize your desire to strike a blow against HDCP, but its really not that large an issue for this particular device.

RE: getting cheaper...
By WarlordBB on 7/18/2006 11:13:15 PM , Rating: 2
A. Go look up a Sapphire Model 100167L video card at the Egg. I've got one ordered and it will be here Thursday. HDCP compliant graphics card with HDMI out. :)

B. Although I'm bummed my Dell 2405 won't work with this drive because it's not HDCP compliant, my Westinghouse 42" 1080p monitor is. This is a great alternative to those of us who were thinking about spending $1,000 for the BR Player. Now I can have my BR in my HTPC too!

I just wish current BR discs didn't suck in comparison to HD-DVD but that's okay with me cause I got my XA1 player for that.

This new drive from Sony will tide me over till I can get a combo flava drive and replace it and my XA1.

That's just my plan and MHO.

RE: getting cheaper...
By KashGarinn on 7/19/2006 10:25:53 AM , Rating: 2
I'm sorry.. HDCP will take a long time to be accepted as a standard, mainly because today, people aren't HDCP compliant.. and what do people who aren't HDCP compliant do? They find a solution to go around the HDCP compliancy, (and yes, there will be solutions to ignore HDCP) thus the need to upgrade to a new standard will not be there.

That means the trickle-down effect of HDCP will take YEARS, instead of months.. seriously, does anyone think that the managers didn't drool over the sales they'd make on people having to buy HDCP compliant crap?

They probably think that it'll mean everyone will flock to the stores and buy HDCP compliant crap, and get them lots $$$, but hell no, that won't happen. what people have already bought they look upon as valuable investments, and depending on their own relative need and standards, their equipment today (wheter it be 2 weeks old or 6 years old) is what they use today to watch stuff.

There will be a solution which ignores HDCP, that means the refresh factor of good will take years before majority will have HDCP compliant products, and meanwhile the industrial pirating will flourish because they'll give you the chance to buy movies with HDTV quality without the HDCP crap on the equipment you got today, giving the consumer the most freedom, and that's something a legit consumer always wants and never says no to.

.. so the normal consumer who wants to buy it legitimately, loses out because he both pays for this hdcp crap as well as be severely limited to where he can watch things with hdcp.

So no one wins.. the executives who thought this up won't win, because it will not push people to refresh their equipment like they want.. it will only push people into finding solutions which work on the valuable investments they've already payed for which isn't hdcp ready.

So.. whoever thought this HDCP crap up... if you happen know him personally, can you spit in his coffee for me?


By Nocturnal on 7/18/2006 7:46:17 PM , Rating: 2
I thought the disks weren't going to look like DVDs. Rather, I thought they were going to resemble DVD-RAM disks and PSP disks in which it's not just the disk but rather the entire casing which kinda "plugs" into the device. Or was I wrong? Is it just a regular looking disk that resembles a CD/DVD?

RE: Question
By KristopherKubicki on 7/18/2006 8:04:02 PM , Rating: 2
Hi Nocturnal,

I believe you are refering to the caddy. These are not present for BR or HD DVD.

RE: Question
By ogreslayer on 7/18/2006 8:04:09 PM , Rating: 2
the original design was that way but a few months in they changed to a protective coating on the discs so they could be used in the same manner as a "standard disc". Its looked this way for quite awhile. So you are not wrong just confused by the change.

RE: Question
By squeezee on 7/18/2006 9:00:30 PM , Rating: 2
The original recordable BluRay discs (which had been available commercially in japan since 2003) came in a caddy.

They later switched to a type of polymer coating that would make the discs much more scratch resistant and eliminate the need for a caddy.

By PrinceGaz on 7/19/2006 9:08:41 AM , Rating: 2
I think $749 for a Blu-Ray burner is probably too cheap.

RE: Price
By epsilonparadox on 7/19/2006 12:04:35 PM , Rating: 2
But as a working man, i am telling myself that I will work harder so I can buy this.

RE: Price
By TomZ on 7/19/2006 2:26:55 PM , Rating: 2
I think $749 for a Blu-Ray burner is probably too cheap.

I'm sure some Sony executive agrees.

RE: Price
By epsilonparadox on 7/19/2006 5:45:44 PM , Rating: 2

Too bad Blu-Ray sucks so much.
By Narg on 7/19/2006 9:50:01 AM , Rating: 2
Why would anyone trust their data to a format with 80% less protective layers than DVD or HD-DVD? The Blu-Ray discs have even been tested to be faulty with simple light finger prints. Blu-Ray is a very bad format, very bad.

RE: Too bad Blu-Ray sucks so much.
By Spoonbender on 7/19/2006 9:58:25 AM , Rating: 2
Interesting... Got a link for that?

Probably neat but PATA?!?!?
By Blackraven on 7/19/2006 12:02:56 PM , Rating: 2
A premium optical drive yet only Parallel ATA???

I'll wait for a better Blu-ray drive instead.

RE: Too bad Blu-Ray sucks so much.
By Korvon on 7/19/2006 12:12:36 PM , Rating: 2
The problem is the protective layers between the two formats (.6mm for HD DVD/DVD and .1mm for BR). This is also why BR costs more because since the protective layer is so much thiner than the DVD/HD DVD standard factories need to change their lines to manufacture them.

this is a first
By mushi799 on 7/19/2006 12:25:19 AM , Rating: 2
Sony being the cheapest

RE: this is a first
By TomZ on 7/19/2006 8:33:11 AM , Rating: 3
Sony being the cheapest

Maybe they are buying market share by cutting into their normal profit margin in order to help establish Blu-ray.

RE: this is a first
By epsilonparadox on 7/19/2006 12:02:10 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think it cuts into they profit margin at all. I read somewhere that a bd-rom drive costs them ~$300 each because they don't need to pay the licensing fees, a recorder wouldn't cost them that much more for the same reasons.

Well this will be great...
By PurdueRy on 7/18/2006 6:26:55 PM , Rating: 4
Because we all have HDCP compatible GFX cards and displays now...

Yay making it difficult for everyone to use your product just for the sake of avoiding those who download illegally.

RE: Well this will be great...
By masteraleph on 7/18/2006 6:59:57 PM , Rating: 2
Because of course all of the studios have agreed not to use the ICT until 2010.

By seamonkey79 on 7/19/2006 2:04:36 AM , Rating: 2
Until it's SATA, it's not worth spending more than $45 on an optical drive, I don't care what it does. Let's see... I spend $750 today, and in six months, I don't have a motherboard to plug it into because I just upgraded my board and I want to keep my freaking $750 optical drive... BUT I CAN'T!!!

Sony is stupid to begin with, the whole BluRay/PS3/UMD/MemoryStick/Betamax/MiniDisc/Everyth ingElseSony'sDone stupidities need to quit... but then add in PATA on this drive for $750... anyone who buys this needs their head examined...

By Homerboy on 7/19/2006 9:23:04 AM , Rating: 2
they do make ATA to SATA converters you know. While not ideal,it is a solution nonetheless.

By seamonkey79 on 7/19/2006 1:23:55 PM , Rating: 2
They may do PATA to SATA converters... but considering current boards are coming out with six to eight and more connectors on it and next gen boards are likely to have more than that AND no PATA connectors, it's the height of money grubbing to not make this SATA. It's not a matter of 'can I convert it to what I want,' it's a matter of 'it's too expensive NOT to be what I want.'

Add in the part about how converters inevitably bring about a loss (however slight it may be) in performance, I'm looking at a nearly $800 drive (after the adapter) that's not going to perform as well as it should.

4 Hours?
By Cunthor01 on 7/19/2006 1:30:44 AM , Rating: 1
Sony claims a 50GB Blu-ray disc can accommodate approximately 4 hours of 1080i video

Great. Now LOTR trilogy will still come in 80 disk box-set.

RE: 4 Hours?
By Fnoob on 7/20/2006 10:22:47 PM , Rating: 2
1080i? Is that a typo? Shouldnt it read 1080p?

IIRC, there is not a great difference in data sizes for 720p v. 1080i - which are supported with current DVD. 1080p is a big chunk of bandwidth however, mandating the new formats.

By TomZ on 7/18/2006 9:39:19 PM , Rating: 2
I sure would prefer these types of drives to be available with SATA instead of PATA. I'm ready to get rid of 1980's-style ribbon cables from inside my PC, not to mention the old "did I set the jumper right" jumping through hoops.

By BladeVenom on 7/18/2006 10:58:08 PM , Rating: 2
Seems pointless to me to even consider buying this till you know if this is going to be another betamax. Right now it's too slow and expensive, and there's no video cards with HDCP.

SATA for sure
By mobutu on 7/19/2006 3:24:39 AM , Rating: 2
Yep, it should have been available also with SATA interface.
And regarding the "good" price of 750, Sony it's just desperate to standardize the BluRay format and this is (one of) a move to accomplish that.

Better, but needs more
By Trisped on 7/19/2006 12:52:03 PM , Rating: 2
Price is much better, as is the CDR support, but it doesn't do DVD DL or DVD-RAM and it is still a bit expensive.

I think I will hold out for the $50 hybrid reader with full DVD and CD burning options.

By Flunk on 7/30/2006 7:19:28 PM , Rating: 2
$20 says HDCP will be cracked before everyone even gets a Blue-ray or HDDVD player.

“So far we have not seen a single Android device that does not infringe on our patents." -- Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith

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