Optical Discs Aren't Dead, as Pioneer's New Drive Doubles BD Write Speeds

Pioneer BDR-213JBK BD/DVD/CD
(Image credit: Pioneer)

Physical media is back from the dead, or at least that's the opinion of Pioneer, which just launched a new optical disc drive (ODD) for desktop or media center PCs with a spare 5.25 inch bay. Yes, it's 2022, but there are allegedly still ODD holdouts. For them, the Pioneer BDR-213JBK doubles the maximum write speed on Blu-ray discs and covers the full gamut of reading and writing optical media including CDs, DVDs, and BDs, plus a multitude of sub-variants.

Pioneer says it improved both recording quality, and this handsome and not at all over-the-hill device has a textured hairline finish and blue LED on its façade, alongside the classic silver embossed Pioneer logo. In case you don't know what you might use an ODD for in 2022, Pioneer has some helpful suggestions.

"With the spread of telework these days, there are increasing opportunities to store large amounts of data such as work data and online conference recordings at home," writes the iconic Japanese Hi-Fi and technology brand. "The demand for optical discs and optical drives is expected to increase," it adds, with some degree of wishful thinking.

Highlights of the new drive include its up to 16x speed recording performance on BD-R discs (single-layer 25GB). If you are looking for greater capacity than speed, Pioneer says that the BDR-213JBK can record BD-R (2 layers, 50GB) at 14x speed, BD-R XL (3 layers, 100GB) at 8x speed, and BD-R XL (4 layers, 128GB capacity). For video playback purposes you might want to burn 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray discs, and these can be recorded at 6x speeds. Meanwhile for DVDs the top recording speed is 16x, and for CDs it maxes out at 48x.

For audio CD recording, a feature called Pure Read 3 may be attractive. Pioneer says this allows the drive to adjust its reading method if it encounters difficulty due to a scratch or dirt on the ODD surface. Another interesting feature of the Pioneer BDR-213JBK is its high-speed recording capability using M-Discs, which are designed for long-term archival storage.

And just in case you need some extra software, besides its own system utilities, Pioneer provides a host of CyberLink software that will help you to edit videos and burn discs. CyberLink? Now that's a name I've not heard in a long time... a long time. (opens in new tab) [Checks calendar again. Yup, it's still 2022.]

Pioneer BDR-213JBK BD/DVD/CD

(Image credit: Pioneer)

Pioneer has a lengthy and multi-layered table to let customers know precisely what ODD formats it supports the reading, playback and writing of. It seems to cover a very wide gamut of formats, but if you are doubtful whether some particular ODD you are interested in using is compatible, then please check out the top linked press release.

Some non-format related specs include; the Serial ATA 3.0 interface, the possibility of horizontal or vertical orientation, the drive's 4MB buffer, its 148 x 42.3 x 181mm dimensions, and 740g weight.

The Pioneer BDR-213JBK is already up for sale in Japan for the local equivalent of about $150, including sales tax. So if you're looking at your PC and thinking, "What this box really needs in 2022 is an optical drive," Pioneer has got you covered.

Mark Tyson
Freelance News Writer

Mark Tyson is a Freelance News Writer at Tom's Hardware US. He enjoys covering the full breadth of PC tech; from business and semiconductor design to products approaching the edge of reason.

  • targetdrone
    SSDs are cheaper, faster, and offer much more compatibility than user writable optical media, which is hard to find in good quality these days.
    Reply
  • hotaru251
    targetdrone said:
    SSDs are cheaper, faster, and offer much more compatibility than user writable optical media, which is hard to find in good quality these days.
    not to mention their durability is greater.

    i've had too many discs get scratched up from beign in a plastic case or sleeve and even had the act of spinning crack the center ring from inside.
    Reply
  • USAFRet
    hotaru251 said:
    i've had too many discs get scratched up from beign in a plastic case or sleeve and even had the act of spinning crack the center ring from inside.
    I once had a DVD explode inside the drive.
    Basically, confetti.

    There was probably a tiny crack. Once it spun up....BANG.
    Reply
  • TechLurker
    I'm probably one of those old farts that still wants a new ODD for my secondary rig, and this seems like a good option, cutting down the number of ODDs it has from 2 to 1 (has an old gen DVD/CD reader/burner and a read-only BD player). I've slowly archived both disc-based and HDD-based backups of some old and extremely precious family photos and videos. As well, making both physical and digital copies of older physical audio CDs I still own because why waste money buying it again just for mp3 quality when I already have the original discs that just need some digitizing and a secondary physical back up.
    Reply
  • USAFRet
    TechLurker said:
    I'm probably one of those old farts that still wants a new ODD for my secondary rig, and this seems like a good option, cutting down the number of ODDs it has from 2 to 1 (has an old gen DVD/CD reader/burner and a read-only BD player). I've slowly archived both disc-based and HDD-based backups of some old and extremely precious family photos and videos. As well, making both physical and digital copies of older physical audio CDs I still own because why waste money buying it again just for mp3 quality when I already have the original discs that just need some digitizing and a secondary physical back up.
    I still have an external DVD, and am slowly working through several hundred CD/DVD from days gone by.
    Either copy and trash, or just trash.
    Reply
  • JerryC
    Admin said:
    Despite the year 2022, Pioneer has released a new SATA optical drive that will let you record data or video on high-precision BD-R media at up to 16x, as well as write and play back a very wide gamut of optical discs and media formats. Designed for built-in 5.25 inch drive bays, this drive is priced around $150.

    Optical Discs Aren't Dead, as Pioneer's New Drive Doubles BD Write Speeds : Read more
    I am pretty sure you could already buy BD-R drives with those specs as far back as 2016
    Reply
  • Co BIY
    Interesting. A major company like Panasonic doesn't develop something like this without a realistic plan to make money.

    I thought I was the last person using disks but haven't burned more than a handful of audio CDs in a few years..
    Reply
  • pixelpusher220
    At the very least, making it USB-C and external seems like a more likely use case, than an internal case install
    Reply
  • Kamen Rider Blade
    If it's good, and priced reasonably, then Pioneer has my $$$
    Reply
  • richardvday
    pixelpusher220 said:
    At the very least, making it USB-C and external seems like a more likely use case, than an internal case install
    You can buy an external case for it, that's what I use. I moved my blueray burner from my system to external and I can always upgrade it later. Maybe soon :)
    Reply