Pioneer announces $299 Blu-ray drive

Written by Brett Thomas

May 3, 2007 | 14:45

Tags: #writeable

Companies: #blu-ray #pioneer

Here's a quick news byte from the front lines of the format wars:

The "battle" for HD video has been pretty lacklustre, hasn't it? Blu-ray, HD-DVD...the truth is in the numbers, folks, consumers really just don't care. Part of that reason might be the expense of moving to one of the formats, like having something that can read the disc that doesn't cost you an arm and two legs.

Enter Pioneer, which is hoping to kick Blu-ray sales up with a cheap combo drive in June. The new player will be BR/DVD, so it could be poised to be a great transition piece. Unfortunately, that may also be its undoing - the drive reads Blu-ray discs at 2x or 5x (depending on the media), but it only writes to DVD.

This makes cheap a very relative term - the internal drive will retail for a low, low $299 USD. Oh, is that all? In comparison, a DVD-RW drive will set you back roughly $30, and all you're losing is a format that nobody has really moved to yet anyway.

Will the drive be worth its salt? Well, it depends if you want to play Blu-ray content on your PC, I guess. For an HTPC, it seems like it may not be a "bad" investment if you really want BR functionality, and it is the cheapest player to date. It's not like you're losing any functionality, thanks to the DVD writer built in.

Unless, of course, you consider that $269 USD extra you just spent to be "functional..."

Have you got a thought on the new drive? Is BR/DVD a wiser way to go than BR/HD? Could you make use of it? Tell us your thoughts in our forums.
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