Pioneer BDC-S02 review

£77
Price when reviewed

Blu-ray writers have been available for over a year now, but when we looked at them in issue 146 even the cheapest cost a stratospheric £407. Today, prices have plummeted, and an ever-expanding range of high-definition movies makes Blu-ray an increasingly attractive option.

Pioneer BDC-S02 review

The cheapest HD drive we’ve found is the Pioneer BDC-S02. This forgoes Blu-ray-writing capabilities to keep its price to a very reasonable £77, although it still reads both single and dual-layer Blu-ray discs and successfully played every Blu-ray movie we threw at it. DVD-writing capabilities are underwhelming, though: single-layer DVDs write at a maximum of 12x, which we found translated to 7mins 15secs for a DVD+R and seven minutes flat for a full DVD-R. Dual-layer discs are limited to 4x – a tedious burn time of 27 minutes. If your priority is watching Blu-ray movies then speedy DVD-writing isn’t crucial, but it’s still a limited drive.

Conclusion

If you want to make cheap, fast data backups, DVD is still the format to beat. With even the cheapest write-once Blu-ray discs working out at around 45p a gigabyte, Blu-ray has a long way to go before it becomes a viable medium for anything other than HD video authoring.

If you’re building a media-centre PC or fancy watching HD movies on your TFT, however, LG’s GGW-H20L brings HD DVD and Blu-ray playback into the realms of affordability.

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