Optical Drive: LG UH08LS10K BD-ROM/DVD Burner
By: William Van Winkle
We’re in this weird zone, trapped between the VHS/DVD era and the future, which increasingly seems headed toward disc-less, high-bandwidth downloads. No doubt, there would be less ambiguity if the movie studios had quit their squabbling and settled the HD DVD/Blu-ray war way before it ever got started, allowing us all to get a two-year jump on our high-def libraries. As it is, many of us have small Blu-ray collections, and there remains this lingering doubt: should I wait? Should I believe Bill Gates and others who say that the disc is dead?
I don’t think so. There are several indications that what downloads give us in convenience they may take away in quality and freedom of ownership. If you’re a movie buff, the time to stock up on Blu-ray movies is now, while you still can. Now, if you want to rip those movies and make them more portable, I’m sure not the one who’s going to stop you. But you will need a BD-ROM drive to do it, obviously.
This raises an interesting question: these days, do we need a Blu-ray burner or just a reader? It seems almost heretical not to say burner. Cutting off that option is nearly taking a step backward in the technological evolutionary stream. Only it’s not, because the disc is (mostly) dead, right? Why burn your archives to 25GB media when you can back up unlimited terabytes to cloud storage for $4.95/month? And it sure can’t be convenience when 32GB thumb drives now cost less than $70. No, skipping the Blu-ray burning may not be a step backward so much as a push into the future.
In short, you need to read Blu-ray but not burn it, which is why LG’s UH08LS10K makes total sense. The internal SATA drive offers 8X BD-ROM functionality, which is plenty fast, along with 16X DVD-ROM and 40X CD-ROM. The drive is also a 16X DVD burner, which still comes in handy for burning quick video projects and sharing multimedia offline. To this end, LG even supported LightScribe for burning cover art into the surface of compatible media.
Be aware that this is a bare drive with no bundled video software, although Windows 7 64-bit accepts the drive with no trouble. If you want to play Blu-ray movies, you’ll need to buy a separate application. Personally, I recommend CyberLink’s PowerDVD, which, come to think of it, would make another good stocking stuffer.