One of the first Blu-ray drives to hit the UK will be the LG GBW H10N burner which, if you’re happy for it to become a part of your PC, will be available this month.
You’ll wait a little longer for a nice box to be put round essentially the same technology and sold as a consumer electronics item to sit under your TV, but this kit will be fine if you’ve a PC that can handle it.
A word of warning: if you’re hoping to max out on data storage with Blu-ray’s hallowed 50Gb, you’ll be disappointed – the specs suggest that this will only write single layer (25Gb) discs – still quite considerable storage but not the highest possible. Whether a future firmware upgrade will allow for dual-layer discs to be used we’ll have to wait and see.
It’s really your all-in-one PC drive (unless you wanted HD DVD that is) as it’ll also handle all existing DVD formats plus CD, thanks to LGs Super Multi Blue technology.
Whether you’ll be able to use it to watch Blu-ray movies when they’re released is another matter entirely and one that we talk about quite frequently over at HDTVUK – there’s more to consider including the clout of your processor, and whether everything in the communication chain (interfaces, graphics card, monitor) is HDCP-compliant (ie it caters for the high-def copy protection that is being built-in to commercial releases)
Specs also claim that it’s compatible with XP and Windows Media Centre Editions only. I know Mac OS X isn’t yet Blu-ray ready, but I don’t see why that need to be a permanent problem.
It’ll write single-layer write-once Blu-ray discs at 4x speed and rewriteable ones at 2x speed. There’s a whole host of other speed specs for other optical media that I won’t bore you with. The drive has a 4MB buffer for Blu-ray media and 2MB for DVDs and CDs.
It will be available this month in the UK, at around £499