Plextor to ship Blu-ray burner in October

Fremont (CA) - Plextor today announced that it will be shipping its first Blu-ray writer for PC in October of this year. The PX-B900A is an internal ATAPI drive that will include software to playback Blu-ray movies on computer systems with Windows XP and Vista.

Plextor joins the crowd to offer the crowd offering one of the first Blu-ray drives. Following manufacturers such as Sony and Pioneer, which currently sell their internal drives for $750 and $1000, respectively, Plextor will be offering the PX-B900A in October for a suggested retail price of $1000.

According to Plextor, the new drive will be compatible with 25 GB and 50 GB Blu-ray discs and will burn BD-R/RE media at a speed of 2X (9 MB/s). For DVD, the drive delivers 8X speed for DVD-Rs, 4X DVD+/-R on Double-Layer and Dual-Layer (DL) media, and 5X on DVD-RAM. The drive also supports 8X DVD+RW, 6X DVD-RW, 6X max DVD-ROM, 24X CD-R, 16X CD-RW, and 32X CD-ROM. A

It is unclear at this time how Plextor will justify the $250 premium over the Sony drive. Technically, the drives are virtually identical, but - according to a press release - Plextor includes a 25 GB BD-RE media disc, which typically sells for $25, as well as a software package consisting of Ulead's Video Studio 10 and Intervideo's WinDVD BD.

The software package may not make up for the remaining $225 gap, but it solves at least one of the key problems buyers of Blu-ray and HD DVD drives are facing: While the current Windows Media Player and the upcoming version for the 32-bit Windows Vista will not be able to playback HD media discs, Intervideo's WinDVD BD enables users to enjoy the high-def movies on their computers.

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