First External Blu-ray Drive Hits Shops

LaCie takes the honours.

If you’ve read our recent coverage of the HD DVD/Blu-ray format war you’ll have noticed that it is the latter which has garnered most of our early praise but Blu-ray is slowly getting more products on the market and the global launch of the format’s first external drive may just prove a timely shot in the arm.

LaCie takes the first place with its ‘d2 Blu-ray drive’ which goes on sale next week. It doesn’t appear to have taken any short cuts on the way to the chequered flag either with 8MB of cache, rewriteable support for both single and dual layer (25GB/50GB) discs at 2x, 8x DVD and 4x DVD-DL burning as well as the usual 24x support for CDs.

One Panasonic dual layer Blu-ray disc is bundled with the drive – which is gold dust in itself – along with a copy of the latest Roxio software for both Mac and Windows and CinePlayer 3.4 for HD playback on Windows. LaCie also boasts that the drive’s sleek metal design is durable enough to withstand all the carting about it’s likely to get as you visit every friend you know to show it off.

As with all first generation Blu-ray technology however the catch is the price and with an RRP of $1,149 – and an inevitable UK price hike on that still to come – it is a format which remains grossly more expensive than its HD DVD equivalent. Still, it never has been easy being an early adopter…

LaCie UK

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