Pioneer unveils BDR-211UBK BD/DVD/CD writer with 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray playback support


As more consumers embrace the cloud for storage, and fewer computers ship with optical drives, it is easy to think that the concept of burning Blu-ray, DVD, and CD discs is outdated. Yeah, maybe it is. With that said, some people -- including yours truly -- still like to store data on optical discs. Heck, some people use their computers to play video and audio from these discs too.

The newest type of optical video disc is Ultra HD Blu-ray, allowing the user to experience 4K content. Unfortunately, these discs require entirely new hardware -- they are not backwards compatible. Today, Pioneer (one of the most respected optical drive manufacturers) announces its newest internal BD/DVD/CD writer -- the BDR-211UBK. This drive has a very cool feature -- it can play those newfangled Ultra HD Blu-rays.


"The market for 4K resolution is expected to expand significantly as demand increases for definition higher than full HD. The BDR-211UBK meets that need, enabling PC users to enjoy 4K content via a PC, as well as providing up to 16x maximum BD-R writing speed (BD-R: SL 25GB) and the ability to read and write a variety of BD (SL 25GB/DL 50GB) and BDXL (BD-R XL: TL 100GB/ QL 128GB, BD-RE XL: TL 100GB) discs," says Pioneer.

Unfortunately, most computer users simply cannot play 4K Blu-ray discs with this drive. Why? The requirements are quite strict (and fairly high-end). Windows 10 is the only compatible operating system, meaning those using macOS or a Linux-based offering are out of luck. Also, you must have a 7th-gen Intel Kaby Lake-H or -S processor and 200 series motherboard. No other Intel chips will work, nor will any from AMD. The minimum amount of RAM? 6GB. Of course, you will also need a 4K display to take full advantage of the UHD discs.

Pioneer shares the following BDR-211UBK specifications.

Write Support BD BD-R (Single/Dual/Triple/Quadruple layer)

BD-RE (Single/Dual/Triple layer)

Read Support BD Ultra HD Blu-ray (BD-ROM Dual/Triple layer),

BD-ROM (Single/Dual layer),

BD-R (Single/Dual/Triple/Quadruple layer),

BD-RE (Single/Dual/Triple layer)

CD CD-ROM (Mode 1&2),CD-ROM XA, Photo CD(Single/Multi-session),Video CD, CD-DA, CD-Extra, CD-R, CD-RW
Interface Serial ATA Revision 3.0
Write Support BD -R 2x,4x,6x,8x,10x,12x,16x
-R DL 2x,4x,6x,8x,10x,12x,14x
-R TL 2x,4x,6x,8x
-R QL 2x,4x,6x
-R (LTH) 2x,4x,6x,8x
-RE 2x
-RE DL 2x
-RE TL 2x
DVD -R 1x,2x,4x,6x,8x,12x,16x
-R DL 2x,4x,6x,8x
-RW 1x,2x,4x,6x
+R 2.4x,4x,6x,8x,12x,16x
+R DL 2.4x,4x,6x,8x
+RW 2.4x,3.3x,4x,6x,8x
-RAM 2x,3x,5x
CD -R 4x,10x,16x,24x,32x,40x
-RW 4x,10x,16x,24x
Read Support BD-ROM (single) 12x Max
BD-ROM (Dual) 8x Max
BD-ROM (Triple) 4x Max
DVD-ROM (Single) 16x Max
DVD-ROM (Dual) 12x Max
CD-ROM 40x Max
Data Buffer 4 MB
Mounting Orientation Horizontal or Vertical
Dimensions(mm) 148 mm x 42.3 mm x 180 mm (W x H x D)
Weight 740 g

If you want to buy the BDR-211UBK, you can get it later this month for $130. Even if your computer doesn't meet the UHD-BD playback requirements, you can still use the drive for all other functionality, such as burning.

Keep in mind, this is a retail drive that comes packaged with PowerDVD 14 UHD-BD -- the software needed to play the new 4K discs. The BDR-211UBK also comes with other software for burning an mastering such as Power2Go 8, PowerDirector 14 LE, Label Print 2.5, and more. It is not clear if an OEM drive will be sold without software at a discount.

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