Blu-Ray, Is It The Time To Buy?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Saw a couple of Blu-Ray drive ads on PC Buyer's Guide. And I've been wondering if it's the perfect time to buy one now. With the recent demise of the HD-DVD format, one would think that people would begin diving in. Many geeks are adopting the wait-&-see attitude, save for the few who already own large LCDs or plasma sets in their homes. See, if you don't own a flat-screen display that's bigger than 32", most experts agree that you won't see an appreciable difference in the quality of the picture. An upscaling DVD player would do just fine, they add. The Yamaha DVD-S2700BL and the TOSHIBA Upconverting DVD/CD player would be good alternatives if you're willing to go that route.

Another reason to wait a few more months is the cost of Blu-Ray media. Both movies and recordable media still cost higher than ordinary DVDs. If, however, you must have a Blu-Ray drive now then you have a few options. On buying optical drives, I've stuck to two brands when building machines -- Liteon and LG. Both have a solid reputation about them in the circle of geeks I mingle with. Both have a proven track record in the manufacture of optical drives. I bet you didn't know that Liteon makes optical drives for Sony. LG on the other hand has been making optical drives since way back. Anecdotal information lays credence to LG drives' general reliability.

For Liteon, they've had the DH-401S out for some time now. This drive reads most of the formats in the fastest rated speeds for each one. If your into the nitty-gritty, here they are: BD-ROM (4X), BD-RE (4X),BD-R DL (4X),BD-RE DL (4X), DVD+R/-R (12x),DVD+R/-R DL (8x),DVD+RW/-RW (8x),CD (40X). LG on the other hand has the GGC-H20L. The spec sheet for this unit reveals the following details: BD-ROM/R (6x),BD-ROM/R DL (4.8x), BD-RE SL/DL (2x), HD DVD-ROM SL (3x), HD DVD-ROM DL (3x), DVD-ROM (16x), DVD-RAM (5x), CD-ROM (40x). You'll notice though that the latter can read HD-DVD discs as well, very important if you happened to have bought HD-DVD discs before the major studios and Walmart said they turned exclusive to Blu-Ray. If you want to up it up a notch, you can buy the LG GGW-H20L to have the ability to write to Blu-Ray recordable media.

LG drives are distributed locally by AxisGlobal, while Liteon drives are distributed by Network Essentials. Both costs around Php 8,000, hardly a bargain. But then again, if you must have it then there is no way around it. I'll wait it out for a few more months before I dive in.

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