Pioneer BDC-S02 (pre-production model)

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Pioneer BDC-S02 (pre-production model)
  • Expert Rating

    3.50 / 5

Pros

  • Does a good job of playing back Blu-ray titles

Cons

  • Slow DVD burn speeds

Bottom Line

Provided you have the right setup, the Pioneer will make a good job of Blu-ray movie playback. But even given the significant savings over buying a Blu-ray writer, this is still an expensive proposition.

Would you buy this?

It's not surprising that Blu-ray has become one of the most sought-after technologies in the IT world. With up to 50GB of space, its potential for storing huge video files (among other things) makes it a must-have for movie enthusiasts. The price of a Blu-ray drive for your PC is currently prohibitive. But there's another way.

This Pioneer pre-production model offers facilities similar to those on a standard DVD writer - with the additional bonus of Blu-ray playback. You can't record to Blu-ray media, but you can use the drive to view high-definition movies.

Of course, when we say the facilities are similar to a standard DVD writer, we mean quite an old one. With DVD-R/+R topping out at 12-speed and the double-layer alternatives stuck at a miserable quad-speed, the BDC-S02 isn't the fastest of drives.

But this is to miss the point. These speeds are enough for many users, and you get the ability to play Blu-ray. Provided, that is, you have a good PC. You'll need to check you have an HDCP-compliant screen and graphics card. Another thing you need to check before you buy is that it comes with software -- buy an OEM version of the drive and you might regret it later.

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