LG Super Multi Blue Blu-ray Disc Rewriter (BE06)
HD-DVD and Blu-ray in a single package
- Can be used on any desktop PC or notebook, supports HD-DVD playback in addition to Blu-ray, can write to Blu-ray discs, attractive design
- It doesn't have LightScribe or SecurDisc (but they aren't essential features)
It looks great, and it supports virtually every optical media format that's present on the market today. While it's capable of playing Blu-ray and HD-DVD discs, as well as writing Blu-ray discs, it doesn't compromise on DVD and CD write speeds.
Price$ 549.00 (AUD)
You know technology moves fast when a brand new optical drive is released to market and one of its main features is an obsolete disc format! It's easy to make jokes about the demise of HD-DVD, but it's not all bad news for the format — there are still a few movies to buy at bargain prices (for example, Amazon has a small selection). Home entertainment enthusiasts will appreciate the BE06 for being an external, high-definition optical drive that will play any disc you throw at it, and which can also write to Blu-ray discs.
Because it's an external drive with a USB 2.0 interface, it doesn't have to be confined to a single PC: you can use it on every PC and notebook that you own. You'll have to install the supplied video playback software (CyberLink Hi-Def Suite) on each computer, and you'll have to make sure that your computers are powerful enough to handle high-definition decoding. This drive is definitely a good way to enter the age of high-definition video playback, not mention high-capacity optical data storage.
It played HD-DVD and Blu-ray movies without problems through the supplied CyberLink software, and it had no problems copying CDs and burnt DVDs. The great thing about the BE06 is that it can be used to burn to BD-R and BD-RE discs. However, BD-R discs are still very expensive (they work out to be approximately $1.28 per gigabyte) so they aren't yet a cost-effective way of archiving data. Nevertheless, it's convenient to burn one hit of 25GB of data, rather than six lots of 4GB or even three lots of 8GB. BD-RE discs are even more expensive (approximately $1.76 per gigabyte). Of course, if you are shooting high-definition video footage, then this drive will definitely be worth it, as you can store just over two hours of video encoded at 24Mbps.
It'll burn Blu-ray data at 6x, as long as the discs you use are capable of being written at that speed. For BD-RE discs, the burn rate is 2x. This was shown in our tests: the drive wrote 11GB of data to a BD-RE disc at a rate of 9.1MBps (megabytes per second). For DVD and CD burning, the drive's speeds are almost as good as a stand-alone burner: it'll burn DVDs at a rate of 16x, which means a 4GB disc will finish burning in around 6min, and it'll burn CDs at a rate of 40x, which means a full disc will finish in just over 3min.
Physically, the BE06 really stands out. It has a slanted bezel and a feather-touch eject button. It definitely looks classy, and LG supplies a stand with it so you can position on your desk either flat or upright. It weighs about 1.5kg with its power supply, and it ships with all the software and cables you need to get it running straight out of the box. For $549, it's probably the best value external high-definition burner on the market and its ability to play HD-DVDs is definitely useful.
For Blu-ray playback you will need an HDCP-capable graphics card and monitor, as well as a decent dual-core CPU. The drive itself is HDCP-capable.
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