While an optical media drive might seem like a relic to some users, it's often a necessity for those with PCs at the center of their home theaters. Ultra HD Blu-ray discs are increasing in popularity, and now Pioneer has announced a pair of drives to get the newest discs spinning in our systems: the BDR-S11J-BK and BDR-S11J-X.
Both drives come with a copy of Cyberlink PowerDVD that's just been updated with support for Ultra HD Blu-ray discs. Before you dive in, though, you'll want to make sure your computer fits the minimum requirements. Pioneer says you'll need a 7th-generation Core i7 or Core i5 (Kaby Lake) CPU running Windows 10, and you'll need an HDMI 2.0a connection with HDCP 2.2 compliance.
Both drives also double as Blu-ray writers, though there's apparently no support for Ultra HD Blu-ray writing. The only real difference between the BK and X drives is that the X drive has some additional, unspecified enhancements for CD playback. While the drives may still have region coding for DVDs and Blu-ray discs, Ultra HD Blu-ray discs thankfully don't use region coding at all.
According to PCWatch, the drives are set to release in late February in Pioneer's home country of Japan at prices around $195 for the BK version and $310 for the X model. Western prices and release dates are not yet available.