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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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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 (blog) 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 (blog) 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.


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