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Pioneer BDR-206MBK review

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Our Score

8/10

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In 2007, with Blu-ray still in its infancy, a drive for your desktop computer, such as the LG GBW-H10N would have cost you an astonishing £435. Yet mere months later, in December of the same year, you could pick up a Pioneer BDC-S02BK for under £100 - progress if ever we saw it. And now in December of 2010, a Pioneer DBC-206MBK Blu-ray writer can be yours for £190 or so, justifying its higher asking price by being the first BDXL writer on the market (or rather, soon to hit the market, as the drive isn't actually available to buy quite yet, though it should be imminently).

BDXL, for the unfamiliar, is the name given to the latest evolution in disc capacity of Blu-ray, specifically encompassing triple- and quad-layer discs, boasting 100GB and 128GB capacities respectively. Those of us who remember the days when fitting 650MB of data on a CD-ROM was a feat should be suitably impressed by a disc format that offers some 200-times the capacity.

As well as multi-layer BDXL discs, the BDC-206MBK will record to dual- and single-layer Blu-ray, DVD+/-R and RW, and CD-R and RW. However, as has become traditional for Blu-ray players, read and write speeds for DVDs and CDs are lesser than for dedicated writers for those formats. In the case of the BDC-206MBK quad- and triple-layer Blu-rays are read and written at 4x, dual and single-layer discs at 6x. Moreover, Pioneer's own BDC-205BK will write the latter two at 12x, as will other manufacturers' drives, so if you're not after BDXL capacities you'll want to save your cash.

To ensure you can write to BDXK Blu-rays, Pioneer is bundling Cyberlink Media suite (which includes Power DVD, letting you play Blu-ray movies and even offered GPU-accelerated decoding). We've no complaints about Power2Go as a disc writing tool, and it's good to see Pioneer offering a complete solution, not just a drive that's useless without additional expenditure.

In our testing 94GB of data transferred to a 100GB disc in just under two hours, at a transfer speed of about 13MB/s - somewhat under the 18MB/s 4x should offer. With so little BDXL media available, we can't tell if the drop is to be expected, or a result of the relative infancy of BDXL, but we're inclined to give Pioneer the benefit of the doubt. If you plan on writing a lot of DVDs and CDs you'll probably want to invest in a dedicated burner, as the 8x read and write speed for DVDs and 24x read and write for CDs won't be setting any records.

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Xamph

December 17, 2010, 4:57 pm

The best price I've found for a spindle of 10 Blu-Ray Dual Layer media (50 GB) is around $80. That's $80 for 500 GB of storage - assuming no coasters. God alone knows what the quad-layer ones will cost.


At these kind of prices, that 2 TB drive starts looking more appealing...

Hugo

December 17, 2010, 5:55 pm

But when the Feds come bursting through the door it's a lot easier to smash a Blu-ray than a hard drive ;)

Chocoa

December 17, 2010, 11:44 pm

Truecrypt Hugo ... Truecrupt! :)

Max

December 18, 2010, 12:07 am

"These new format discs are intended to be the delivery vessel for 3D Blu-ray films, as the extra capacity makes fitting the extra that data 3D-encoded films require much easier."





This is patently wrong. I know I'm on the naughty step for whatever reason, but please don't spread misinformation. BD-XL is a writeable format, and under the BD 3.0 and 4.0 specifications only single write and multiple write specifications are defined. No 5.0 specification defining a ROM format has been discussed. In fact 3D-BD is based on the original spec of 50GB and 1.5x (54Mbit) speed.





The PS3 is compatible with 3D Blu-ray, and BD-XL is not going to be used as a ROM format by content publishers, it is and always will be a home format for backing up data and Japanese PVRs which record OTA HD.

Xamph

December 18, 2010, 4:15 pm

@Hugo, what, you mean you don't have 16-Tesla electromagnets lying around the house for just such eventualities?





And apropos of nothing at all, I'd forgotten what the units of magnetic field strength were and looked 'em up on Wikipedia - did you know that a "mere" 16 Tesla is strong enough "to levitate a frog" ? I am not making this up:


http://www.newscientist.com/ar...





"The levitation trick works because giant magnetic fields slightly distort the orbits of electrons in the frog's atoms. The resulting electric current generates a magnetic field in the opposite direction to that of the magnet. A field of 16 teslas created an attractive force strong enough to make the frog float— until it made its escape."


To which I can only add: video! video! video!

Pbryanw

December 19, 2010, 3:57 am

@Xamph - It's amazing what you learn from reading the comments of a humble Blu-ray recorder. And, yes, video of a levitating frog or I don't believe you :)

Enigma

December 19, 2010, 8:25 pm

@Xamph - Or if you're Al-Qaedah then a nuke to take care of all the problems in one go!





Was the frog alive afterwards? Or, more to the point could he remember anything?





I think there may be one, Google it and for reason of impartiality Yahoo it!





Before I direct the readers to my comments on storage media, and IN PARTICULAR the obsolescence of the Blue Ray: given the 'speed-typo' mistakes can I add my request to the very old long list of people for ability to edit posted comments. Likewise, can we have a bigger comment window PLEASE.





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