So, Blu-ray won the format war and whether you like it or not (I shed a tear for HD DVD at least), now at least we have a clear path of high definition movie purchases.
As you can see from the pricing of this unit listed above, Blu-ray drives are no longer a several hundred pound investment. Of course, it's no £15 DVD-RW drive you can now pick up anywhere, but £90 is not too much to ask if you're making a high definition capable HTPC. And what's more, Pioneer throws in some Cyberlink Blu-ray software as well if you purchase one of the retail boxes.
We've already once spec'd this drive in our previous AMD 780G review when we managed to build a Blu-ray capable Home Theatre PC for the same price as a PS3. Five months later, it now costs £10 less than before (or £22 if you're going for an OEM Blu-ray drive).
The drive may only read Blu-ray disks, so you can't use the 50GB of space for archiving and backup, but it still writes to a whole host of normal (red laser) DVD and CD standards:
Comparing to the Asus BC-1205 PT (another Blu-ray drive we have in the lab) and according to the Asus website, the only area the Pioneer is slightly faster is in DVD±RW (8x versus 6x) and DVD±RW Dual Layer (8x versus 4x) write speed - everything else is identical.