December 27, 2005 1:21 PM PST

Pioneer to sell Blu-ray drive in early '06

Pioneer Electronics announced its first Blu-ray Disc drive Tuesday, the BDR-101A, which will store as much as 25GB of data when it goes on sale in the first quarter of 2006.

The drive isn't expected to be for everyone, Pioneer said. One particular market the company does hope to reach is so-called content creation professionals, who need to make sure BD-ROM movies work properly before they're mass-produced for mainstream consumers.

Blu-ray drives, backed by an alliance led by Sony, are set to compete with HD-DVD drives that are expected to arrive at roughly the same time. Both drive types employ a blue laser that can read and write smaller areas of information, allowing more data to be squeezed onto a single disk. That's important as high-definition video arrives.

However, Blu-ray and HD-DVD formats are incompatible, leading to a bitter battle between the two factions and the possibility of slower adoption by consumers leery after the infamous Beta vs. VHS videotape struggle.

In September, Intel and Microsoft announced their support for HD-DVD, and one reason for the move was data capacity. HD-DVD would be available in 15GB and 30GB versions, but Blu-ray initially would be available only in a 25GB version, they said, with a 50GB version lagging.

The Blu-ray group, however, said 50GB versions would be available in the spring.

Pioneer's drive can record BD discs at 2x speed, Pioneer said. It also can record DVD-R and DVD+R at 8x speed and DVD-RW and DVD+RW at 4x speed.

The company plans to announce the drive's price when the product is available.


Join the conversation!
Add your comment
From, what I have seen and heard , these drives may cost in the region of USD$1000 apiece, the media is single layer only, and costs somewhere between USD$100 to $160 each, is is in very scarce! With a burn speed of 6.5 X DVD, it will take approximately 50 minutes for a 25 Gigabyte burn, give or take!

Further, the advertising, seems to contain no mention of or the level and type of DRM control that applies to these drives, and they have no capacity to read/write or recognise standard cd's and dvd's either!

Oh well, given a choice, looks like the bigger capacity along with the superior speed of the holographic recorders, will blow this slow coach out of the water, and with the possibility of 1.2 terabytes storage capacity by 2010, who indeed would need this so yesterday technology, saddled with SONY's rootkit obsolete absolute control DRM!

Finally, if SONY's DRM and total control concept ideas persist, then there is little or no incentive to buy when it is too user unfriendly and draconian in the extreme, when superior alternatives exist!
Posted by heystoopid (691 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Format vs Content
You are mixing two things together as if they are one. Existing DVDs have copy protection built in for video playback that prevents the movie from being directly copied. This is the content, and DVD being the format. You could put unprotected content on the same DVD.

As for being able to read DVDs (or CDs) they state clearly in the article that it can write to DVD+/-R discs.

As for the price, they also state this is NOT meant for the consumer market directly. This isn't an early adopter Blue player. This is something content creators would be able to use to test the capabilities of Blu-Ray.

As for the next next big thing, where are the consumers now who will be targeted by HD-DVD and Blu-Ray? They are out buying the "so yesterday" DVDs. How about HDTV customers who are still buying old analog TVs? Let's not forget that VHS and audio tapes still exist. Heck I saw someone buying the older X-Box new at Best Buy on Monday, the day after Christmas!
Posted by zaznet (1138 comments )
Link Flag
The FUD machine hard at work
Ian you are clearly spreading FUD to unsuspecting people that are not knowledgeable on the next generation formats.

Sure these drives may start at $1k a piece, maybe, but I recall another format that did too, it was DVD. DVD-R disks ran several dollars a piece, now you can get them for next to nothing and a medicore DVD player can be had for $50. Dual layer DVD disks currently still cost several dollars a piece for you home burners out there.

TDK and Panasonic already have mass production of dual layer and single layers disks ready, and like said above, BluRay has been out in japan for 2 years already.

As far as burn speeds a 1x DVD burner is slower to burn 4.7GB than a 2X Blu-ray 25GB disk. Speeds will increase as time goes on like everything else, I remember when it took an hour to burn a 650 MB CD.

You clearly are trying to appeal to others lack of knowledge on the subject, sony has announced that for the PS3 it will read Blu-ray disks as well as DVD9 DVD-+R and CDs since it is going to backwards compatible to the PS1. Currently DVD players play audio CDs with no problem, do you honestly think that they will sell no units that can't play older media formats? I guess buying the new player means you have to throw away all of your old equipment instantly.

I bet those holographic disks will be super cheap, surely cheaper than todays CD-R and DVD-r Prices especially for that much storage.

You are aware that sony is not the only one running the blu-ray show aren't you? here is the board for it

Apple Computer, Inc.
Dell Inc.
Hewlett Packard Company
Hitachi, Ltd.
LG Electronics Inc.
Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd.
Mitsubishi Electric Corporation
Pioneer Corporation
Royal Philips Electronics
Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.
Sharp Corporation
Sony Corporation
TDK Corporation
Thomson Multimedia
Twentieth Century Fox
Walt Disney Pictures
Warner Bros. Entertainment

Give up the rootkit talk, get over it I am sure the guy that decided to put the rootkit on is the same one that is creating blu-ray. If you would turn off auto-run like you are supposed to this wouldn't be a problem anyways.
Posted by reedsr (37 comments )
Link Flag
Enough with DRM remarks already
Nowadays every headline that has anything to do
with Sony will have someone posting a comment
about the "evil DRM". It wasn't even an issue
before it was found, there was no talking about
problems copying Sony CDs. Nobody seems to mind
DRM that's built into iTunes, RealNetwork, MSN
Music and even new Napster service, apparently
Sony is the only company that's not allowed to
use DRM.

Then there's the rootkit issue. Should Sony have
included it undisclosed ? - NO. But please get
over it already. It's not a virus/trojan and
whatever malware used it to hide itself, gets into
your computer through the same holes Microsoft
left in Windows.

And finally the price of Blu-ray.
Every new technology will be expensive, $1000
isn't far from what DVD recorders started from.
As for recordable media rest assured it won't cost
$100-160 per disc, they have been for sale
for a while now and retail in Japan for ~2,000 Yen (around $16-17) which per gigabyte is around, if
not less than, what DVD-R's were 4 years ago.

Actual BD-R prices:
<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>
Posted by lcrabs (9 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Sony DRM
Sony isn't being attacked for their DRM, but how it works. It is an intrusive system, that installs with or without permission, and without being disclosed. That method takes advantage of the same weakness as most malware out there. That being the ignorance of the users or weakness in the OS.

I will say that a lot of the recent attacks against Sony are not well founded, especaily the suite in Texas. Sony did NOT create the software. They purchased it from First for Internet for their use. You can fault Sony for being as ignorant as the users they were taking advantage of...
Posted by zaznet (1138 comments )
Link Flag
About Napster...
Napster is owned by BMG who in turn is owned in part by Sony. Napster also uses Microsoft's Media Player DRM, not something exclusive to Napster.
Posted by zaznet (1138 comments )
Link Flag
Enough with DRM remarks already?
Your kidding right?

What good are discs that are cheap if you are extremely limited in hos you can use them in your own home.

Sorry bub but thats the whole enchalada, thats where the meat of the issue is, I want to buy a dvd and then use it my home as I see fit, becuase well I own it, not pay a additional license fee or deal with activations or deal with root kits.

HDVD had fair use builtin, Blue Ray does not which is why they have one hell of a bandwagon
Posted by mcepat (118 comments )
Link Flag
DRM Issues Should Make A Difference!
A previous post suggested we stop "harping" on Sony's recent DRM debacle and not let it be a factor in the decision to support Blu-ray. That's like saying we should have ignored Watergate, Enron and the UN's Oil for Food Scandal, because A) Other people were doing it too, B) They promise to not do it again or C) It really didn't harm me.

As for me, this was the first Christmas in years that I bought Zero (0) Sony products as gifts. Until I see some high-level (VP or greater) firings/"resignations" at Sony, I will continue to boycott their products and urge my family, friends and clients to do the same.

This being said, the functional differences between Blu-ray and HD-DVD are going to be invisible to most potential users. After all, how many consumers understand or care about the difference between DVD+R and DVD-R today?

A huge barrier to the rapid adoption of either standard will be content vs. cost. What type of content exists to drive either standard? Individual movies fit comfortably on a single DVD. Currently, the only reasonable purpose for greater video capacity would be for storing a series of related video titles, such as a complete season of a particular show or all the sequels of a movie. Although this might appeal to Star Trek and Harry Potter fans, the average consumer probably won't decide that this is worth the $500 - $800 price premium vs. a top-of-the-line multi-format DVD unit. After all $800 buys a LOT of DVD movies!

For most Small to Medium sized Businesses (SMBs) the extra data capacity wont make a difference either. Most companies in this category generate far less archive-eligible data each year, than the 17GB available on a dual-layer, double-sided DVD. With the continual drop in cost-per-megabyte of RAID storage, many SMBs will find themselves replacing their servers before they run out of room! The rapid growth of broadband and economy of scale offered by online storage vendors is going to make it a much more attractive alternative than either tape or optical backup for the SMB users.

So heres the bottom line: Hollywood and other content producers want to replace current DVD formats to further their DRM ambitions. Consumers are NOT likely to invest in a technology that offers them less choice for 10x the price. SMBs dont need the extra cost or features and will likely embrace on-line backup and archive technology because it doesnt depend on the same week link as tape, namely who changed it last!

Until we have a truly compelling content-driven reason (3D Home Movies?) for the extra capacity offered by either Blu-ray or HD-DVD, both technologies are likely to languish for the next 3-5 years. By that time, someone will have figured out how to store 100G on a rewritable crystal with no moving parts that costs less than $100.00 and comes pre-loaded with ALL the Star Trek movies / series ever produced! Now thats something Ill buy!
Posted by westrajc (78 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Re: DRM Issues Should Make A Difference!
You should stop "harping" on just Sony. To put it in
your analogy, you're going after Enron and ignoring
everything else. If you don't like DRM so much then
by all means speak up, just don't be a hypocrite.
Like it or not, DRM is here to stay, be that music
HD-DVD, Blu-ray and even TV (cable) broadcasts
will eventually be DRM-ed.

I'm sorry but your argument that it's cheaper to
get a high-end DVD player is just silly. By the
same logic nobody should've been buying DVD
players when top-of-the-line VCRs were available
for less.

No matter how low RAID storage drops in price it
won't match optical media in cost-per-gig. DVD-Rs
dropped in price to 1/20th from 4 years ago and
nex-gen media is sure to follow the same trend.
Few months ago the price of a 25GB BD-R floating
around on forums was $26 now it's $16, you want to
bet it won't drop to $5 by this time next year ?

Also how is it less choice if they allow managed
copies of BDs vs no (legal) way to copy DVDs ?
Posted by lcrabs (9 comments )
Link Flag
Higher resolution.
First of all the increased capacity of Blu-Ray (or HD-DVD for that matter) allows for HD movies. So the extra space is needed for the higher resolution. It's not just about storing more video, it's much higher quality video, along with the it's other applications.

Also, like it's been said over and over items like this are more expensive when they come and slowly drop in price until they become affordable for the majority of the market. It's cyclical. The next greatest tech will be around in 5 years but won't be accepted and affordable to the masses until 10-12 years from now. That's a given.
Posted by (69 comments )
Link Flag
You're a fool
Blame SONY BMG for rootkits, not SONY CEJ or CEA. While they share the name they are vastly different companies in different markets.

I'd be willing to bet you're a huge supporter of Windows and are looking forward to Vista, which if you haven't seen, is trying to encrypt EVERYTHING from data to video signals.

I think you're boycotting the wrong company for the wrong reasons.
Posted by (461 comments )
Link Flag
Why use blu-ray when terabyte DVD is on the way (for instance <a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>)
Posted by (8 comments )
Reply Link Flag
of three things...cost, content, necessity.

i love it when a next gen DVD article come up and every geek on earth says 'no way man...holographic is going to kill...'

don't get my poo pooing wrong. i think that its a very promising technology for next generation STORAGE needs (most likely in enterprise/business settings). but probably not in consumer mass produced entertainment applications.

there hasn't been one movie studio to annouce support for this technology. until that happens, holographic challenge to any next gen DVD standard is dead on arrival. sorry man, i don't want to buy all new equipment and watch YOUR home movies.

by most accounts, the holographic drives will start at $15k and discs will start at $100 per. now i realize that over time it'll come down but these starting prices are way higher than both next gen DVDs...and they haven't even started yet. here comes the nasty catch. by the time holographic gets down to some reasonable price, there will be enough next gen optical DVD drives out there (at a lower price mind you) that will continue to put off holographic as a DVD content standard. plus content owners will not want to further confuse the market with another (more expensive) option. prices drop with volume production. volume production comes with consumer adoption. consumer adoption comes with breadth of content.

the last thing is that there is no need for that much storage when it comes to entertainment content. please save your 'but what about having every single episode of MASH on one disk' argument. you know as well as i do that probably 90%+ of the entertainment content out there are movies. even 3 hour movies (and even those are a small minority) will fit just fine in HD on either BD or HD-DVD. and with higher capacity versions of both, this argument becomes less and less relevant.

massive tera storage is useful in enterprise class applications for backup...not in consumer home movie watching.
Posted by tlite722 (160 comments )
Link Flag
Joe's got the right picture....
.... Holographic will have it's place, but it will be ten years before
the consumer will have a competitive holographic option. And then
only if something else doesn't beat it out. So, plan on using Blu-
Ray - it will be around for a long time.
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Link Flag
Not for retail movies
A generalized Shannon-Kotelnikov's sampling theorem says that maximum amount of data bits that can be transferred/stored is number of samples times log2(signal/noise). You either pack more samples, or have better SNR, or both.

The holographic storage manages to pack more data because the samples are stored not only on a surface (like CD/DVD), but in volume. This also means such medium is impossible to replicate cheaply. Which means it is not suitable for content distribution.
Posted by alegr (1590 comments )
Link Flag

<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>
Posted by SqlserverCode (165 comments )
Reply Link Flag
But Panasonic's Bluray will do RAM and DL media
However, Panasonics Bluray drives will do RAM as well, and DL media so it'll write to EVERY disc on the market. For industry professionals... yeah that is pretty important.
<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>
Posted by Electrox3d (8 comments )
Reply Link Flag
And, for some reason,.....
... you think that Pioneer's won't????
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Link Flag
And MS is sucking wind....
.... waiting for the HD-DVD drive on which they bet the farm. What
do you know???? Another stupid choice by MS product managers -
stupid in that they assumed that HD-DVD would win the 'contest',
and of course, stupid in that with Sony was going for Blu-Ray, MS
just had to be different. So now MS is trying to buy OEM allegiance
to HD-DVD. It might even work for a short time, if HD-DVD ever
makes it to production.

But why buy HD-DVD if Blu-Ray is available?
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Reply Link Flag
And MS is sucking mean consumer rights
nope sorry consumers are going to be sucking wind as the big companies suck the wind right out of your control, right before your very eyes
Posted by mcepat (118 comments )
Link Flag
HDDVD=Fair use BlueRay=DRM
HDDVD includes a fair use technology that would allow people to use the DVD for fair use in there home using it on multiple systems and possibly streaming it to other TV, this is the age of the living room so I welcome this approach rather then coming from Sony and there Blue Ray technology. They just got caught with a rootkit on Music CD's wait until Blue Ray, which is why they have all the backing from other media companies, they welcome any format that will have far reaching DRM.

Like I said this is the age of living room where I want to do with my purchased media pretty much anything, anywhere anytime because I own it, if blue ray comes out welcome to the prison age.
Posted by mcepat (118 comments )
Reply Link Flag
HDDVD=Fair use BlueRay=DRM
I'm sorry to break it to you, but both formats will
have DRM. Both formats implement the same
mechanism to allow making a copy, and looks
like both will require internet connection to
authorize the copy.

Prison age ? A little dramatic isn't it ?
I'm guessing you haven't heard of how Toshiba
scrambled to assure movie studios that they
have the same copy protection schemes as Blu-ray
after its specs were released.

Take my advice if you will, do some research
and/or ask around. If you did you'd know that as
far as average consumer is concerned the only
differences between HDDVD and BR are as follow:
BR has higher capacity and wider support from
movie studios and electronics manufacturers.
Posted by lcrabs (9 comments )
Link Flag
Blu-Ray vs HD-DVD to Be Decided By ...
the Blu-Ray vs HD-DVD winner will be decided by ... porn. yeah, no matter what you might think of that industry, and as much as i hate to say it, porn is in the best position to decide the winner between these two technologies--it's not about capacity, it's not about drm, it's not about psp. it's about content and porn has **always** been the leader in the acceptance of new video content delivery technologies.

as best as i can find out, porn is sitting this one out right now. if/once they select one of these technologies, that will be the winner, hands down. if they chose to continue publishing in dvd, that will be the death-knell for both of these technologies.

think about it: if you were either of these competing camps, how much would you give to buy the porn industry's support?

mark d.
Posted by markdoiron (1138 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Porn deciding battle
You know what you are totally right. I remember watching this documentary on the adult video industry. It was basically that industry that decided to switch to vhs that made vhs the winner, and also their decision to switch to DVD because of greater storage and replay value that made DVD the sought after format it is now. I hope that blue-ray wins. I hate microsoft!
Posted by thetick999 (1 comment )
Link Flag
YAY! Now people can copy PS3 games -- What is bluray thinking?
does anyone else find this incredibly conviently stupid? Before the PS3 comes out, lets release a bluray burner that can be used to copy the discs! Game Hackers rejoice

Personally I think bluray is a bit to proprietary, and I don't really trust sony either. They were the ones who wanted Apple's fairplay to make music playable only by ONE computer and ONE ipod. Imagine whats in store for bluray DRM.

In the battle of HDDVD and Bluray, Sony is already a step ahead with the ps3, just like they were with the ps2 when DVD was out.

One thing that I think would be a deciding factor is the durablility of the discs. I like CDs because you can butcher them and they still play. DVDs get a hairline scratch and screw up. Hopefully these new revisions will do better.
Posted by eviltoaster (31 comments )
Reply Link Flag
About durability
Yes, I hope they are more durable as well. But if you think about it, it would make sense if these are less durables because there is much much more data packed into the same surface area, meaning that it would take even a smaller scratch to make the disk unreadable. Hopefully they use better plastic or something...

<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>
Posted by Roman12 (214 comments )
Link Flag
go pioneer!
<a class="jive-link-external" href="" target="_newWindow"></a>
Posted by 208774626618253979477959487856 (176 comments )
Reply Link Flag
why 25gb or 50gb for movies??
correct, why use a 25GB disc if a single sided dual layer DVD can hold a HD movie (if you use the right codecs like h264) with all the sound formats you like...?? I mean who needs the raw stream data of approx 20GB (1080p, long Film with DD and DTS), the raw stream even looks worse then a perfect encoded, smooth h264 playback...??? and who wnats any DRM or other Nanny State. If you pay for something you can do what you want with it (for example make a copy to be able to play it in your holiday flat... ever thought of legit copy use????)
Posted by xxxomxxx (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag

Join the conversation

Add your comment

The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Click here to review our Terms of Use.

What's Hot



RSS Feeds

Add headlines from CNET News to your homepage or feedreader.