Sony Unveils Its 1st After-Market Blu-Ray Disc Burner

Sony will begin selling an after-market Blu-ray Disc drive next month that can be added to existing desktop computers.

The BWU-100A drive supports burning to single- and dual-layer BD-R (single use) or BD-RE (rewritable) discs. A single-layer disc can store up to 25GB of data or about two hours of high-definition video, and the dual-layer disc can accommodate double these amounts.

Sony will ship the drive with CyberLink’s BD Solution burning software. The drive can write at 2X Blu-ray Disc speed, so burning a full 25GB disc takes about 50 minutes, Sony said.

Additionally, the drive can burn single-layer 4.7GB DVD+/-R/+/-RW/RAM discs, 8.5GB DVD+R double/dual layer discs, and CDs.

The drive has an ATAPI interface and fits into the standard half-height drive bay that exists in most desktop PCs. Sony recommends minimum computing power of a Pentium III 800MHz or faster processor for data burning. For real-time video authoring and editing, a Pentium IV 1.6GHz or faster is recommended.

Sony cautions that additional software and hardware is required for playback of commercial movies on Blu-ray Disc (BD-ROM), but the company didn’t specify exactly what is required.

The drive will cost US$750 in North America. Sony has not announced pricing or availability for other markets.

-Martyn Williams, IDG News Service (Tokyo Bureau)

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