Nov 6 2013 - Optical drives may be loosing their usefulness but some people still want to be able to watch high definition movies on their PCs. The drives are much more affordable even if the Blu-ray media is still quite expensive. If you are interested in getting a drive for your desktop PC, you want to make sure you spend your money wisely. Here are my selections for the best internal desktop Blu-ray drives based upon my research and experience.
With the introduction of the BDXL format for capacities up to 128GB in size, the LG BH16NS40 is an excellent choice for a burner. In addition to the higher capacity discs, the drive also supports a very fast 16x recording speed for BD-R media . If you also intend to use it with older DVD-R or CD-R, it also can handle them at 16x and 48x speed respectively. With Windows 8 now dropping the required software for playback of DVDs, it is also important to have software to use with the drive. Thankfully, LG has included the CyberLink PowerDVD software for playback capabilities. Priced around $120.
The Pioneer BDR-208DBK offers an excellent compromise between performance and price. At just $70, it is one of the most affordable Blu-ray burners on the market but it is still capable of writing to the BD-R format at up to 15x speeds. The drive also supports DVD and CD recording as well with 16x and 40x speeds respectively. It should be noted that this is a bare drive though that lacks any additional software.
For those that don't need to have BLu-ray writing capability but still want to playback the digital movie format, then the LG UH12NS30 is one o the more affordable choices even though the burner prices are rapidly approaching the combo drive prices. The drive offers 12x Blu-ray playback speeds while it has 16x DVD and 48x CD recording speeds. All this for a price of $50. Unlike the LG Blu-ray burner, this one does not come with any software bundle.
For those that want to add Blu-ray capabilities to their laptop or maybe a small form factor home theater PC that only uses the slimline drives, the LG BT30N is one of a few options out there. The drive does sacrifice a bit of performance for its smaller size recording at just 6x for BD-R media. IT can also record DVD and CD media with speeds of 8x and 24x respectively. Unlike the larger desktop size drive, the slimline drive does not come with any software bundle. Priced at $95.
If you don't need Blu-ray recording capabilities but want to be able to watch the Blu-ray movie format in a laptop or desktop system that uses a slim style drive, the LG CT40N is a nice option even if it is a bit on the expensive size at $75. In addition to Blu-ray playback, the drive can also record to DVDs at an 8x speed while CDs can be recording at up to 24x. This is a bare drive which means that no playback software is included.