Pioneer releases a pair of Ultra HD Blu-ray drives for PCs

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.

Comments closed
    • BigDDesign
    • 3 years ago

    I personally am glad that Pioneer is still in the PC game of Blu-Ray writers and players. If you already have the equipment or plan on buying a new machine with a 4K monitor… why not. Pioneer has always been the go to for me and disc creation. Using my Blu-Ray writer today. Lots of us still create Blu-Ray discs from video content. It’s a plus that this is even being allowed on a PC and Intel has opened the door for it. Be happy. You don’t have to buy it. But I’m sure am going to get one. That’s a given. I’m building a new machine this spring. Already have half the parts. DRM used to be worse when it was created years ago. At least now it isn’t in your face everyday.

      • DarkUltra
      • 3 years ago

      I saw a 4K HDR demo on an LG OLED display and I was blown away. Truly a next gen upgrade. I’ll save up money for a couple of years until these OLES displays are cheaper and when I can rip 4K Bluray discs.

    • mcnabney
    • 3 years ago

    The UHD optical drives across all platforms require an Internet connection for the device to contact a server to unlock the disk in order for 4K content to be played. Will these servers be maintained forever? Will they stay up for more than five years? You can be sure that when the ‘next’ standard comes out or when streaming fully replaces optical that the support for the servers that allow 4K content will cease. I think I’ll keep my money.

      • One Sick Puppy
      • 3 years ago

      hack the drive?

      Can’t say I have any sympathy for anyone buying any new optical drive technology these days.

    • CuttinHobo
    • 3 years ago

    Remember that time DRM killed piracy while simultaneously not harming legitimate users in anyway?

    Me neither.

      • Chrispy_
      • 3 years ago

      Or that time when shutting down the illegal torrent sites prevented people from obtaining those torrents?

    • albundy
    • 3 years ago

    Will this work with my RealMagic Hollywood Plus decoder card? I might need to adjust the jumper settings.

    [url<]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kpC0maEsh0M[/url<] edit: forgot my blue shirt. need that too.

    • ronch
    • 3 years ago

    $115 more for additional unspecified enhancements in CD playback?

    “Sir, just add $115 more for the X model. It’s better. ”

    “What extra features does it have?

    “Well, it has some enhancements for CD playback but unfortunately I cannot tell you what they are.”

    “Cool. I’ll take the X model. ”

    😀

    • strangerguy
    • 3 years ago

    “Pioneer says you’ll need a 7th-generation Core i7 or Core i5 (Kaby Lake) CPU running Windows 10”

    I can see these selling like 1000 units, tops.

      • brucethemoose
      • 3 years ago

      Oh, they’ll sell plenty of them.

      People don’t need 1500W PSUs either, but you still see plenty of them for sale just because some people like to buy the “best”.

      • adamlongwalker
      • 3 years ago

      When 30% of the world still runs on windows XP you do have to wonder. I know this to to be true (early 2016) due to my years of play testing video games. I do not like it when companies decide what is obsolete and what is not.

      My most recent board game is being created on an my 8 year back up computer mostly open source software.

      I don’t need something fancy nor cutting edge, I need something that works long term.

    • wingless
    • 3 years ago

    For this price I may as well get a peasant XBox One S to be my Blu-Ray drive and player. This requirement to have a Kaby Lake CPU is NONSESNE!

      • Shobai
      • 3 years ago

      Nonsesne, indeed. MS gets your money either way though, don’t they…for them, it’s both ‘nasty PC users don’t want UHD!’ and ‘Xbone demand is great!’

    • Chrispy_
    • 3 years ago

    DRM killed optical media and Ultra HD Blu-ray has even worse DRM than previous generations. Some people are still upset about region-locked DVDs!

    As if the DRM wasn’t enough, the cost/GB is silly. It’s [i<]at best[/i<] 50% higher than USB hard drives [b<]AND[/b<] you have to buy a $195 or $310 drive just to even use UHD-Blu-ray. I'm not even sure BD-R discs are even competitive in other metrics either, like TB/cubic inch, MB/second transfer rate or TB/ounce. I'm of the opinion that Blu-ray lovers are just puppets of the MPAA and RIAA. So many non-trivial hoops to jump through just to have access to media that you [i<]supposedly[/i<] own. Except you don't. Compatibility with that rare Asian kung fu movie you imported could get pulled by a stealth W10 update one day right under your nose....

      • cobalt
      • 3 years ago

      [quote<]I'm of the opinion that Blu-ray lovers are just puppets of the MPAA and RIAA.[/quote<] But for streaming services you're at the whims of licensing arrangements, and even with versions you've "bought" (ha ha ha) in the cloud, you're really just renting long-term and it can be taken from you at any time. Not that you can really "buy" the disk either, it's still just a license, but it's harder for them to come take it from you, and as long as international companies make DRM-breaking software, there's at least some potential way of extracting the video off the disk you paid for. Of course, pretty much every solution sucks here....

      • I.S.T.
      • 3 years ago

      So… The streaming services with the [i<]incredible[/i<] amounts of DRM and media you can't physically own... They are the underdog we should rally behind? Not the physical media which still has too much DRM but less than the streaming services as well as having better audio/visual quality at the same resolution in addition to special features and alternate audio tracks if that's a thing you like. We rally behind the much, much more restrictive streaming services?

        • brucethemoose
        • 3 years ago

        But do you really own it anymore?

        You need an active internet connection and very specific DRM hardware and software combination just to play it, and post processing, custom audio tracks or ripping for personal use is out of the question.

        Streaming has all those same disadvantages, but it’s cheap and easy. And when you start losing all the benefits of physical media, it starts to look alot more appealing, even with the quality difference.

          • I.S.T.
          • 3 years ago

          I’ve played my BRs with my internet dead. *shrug* Also, the superior audio/video quality.

            • Ikepuska
            • 3 years ago

            The new UHD BRs have a different DRM scheme. They require an internet connection to download the key to decrypt the disc on a per disc basis. Which is why all UHD BR players list an internet connection as a requirement. Without the active internet connection they drop back down to regular 1080p playback.

            • I.S.T.
            • 3 years ago

            Oh, I see. I Didn’t realize they had done that. My bad.

            • brucethemoose
            • 3 years ago

            4k BRs?

            Normal UHD ones don’t need it.

            • I.S.T.
            • 3 years ago

            IF you read a bit further than my post, you’ll see I was corrected by someone already

            • brucethemoose
            • 3 years ago

            Im suffering through unthreaded comments on my phone, and I see it now.

            Yeah, I have no problem with 1080p Blu Rays, btw. But the internet DRM scheme changes everything.

        • Chrispy_
        • 3 years ago

        One movie on UHD Blu-ray pays for something like 90-120 days of subcription service which entitles you to access thousands of hours of content. If you were nuts enough to actually watch everything available on your subscription service for the duration matching the cost of a single UHD Blu-ray, you’d be talking about a cost difference between the two options of >1000:1

        The two are not comparable, even in the slightest and the DRM is irrelevant since you sign up to a rental service knowing full well that the content can (and will) be changed at a moment’s notice. Unlike a disc that you buy to own, where DRM matters because you didn’t buy that disc to rent it and you didn’t invest in the playback hardware to rent it.

    • Farting Bob
    • 3 years ago

    You really should stress that CPU requirement (Kabylake 7xxx CPU) is not like a games requirement where its flexible. Its an absolute requirement. As is Windows 10. Without a 7xxx Intel CPU these drives [b<]WILL NOT[/b<] play any 4k content. At all. Any other CPU, from $1000 6xxx CPU's to literally any AMD CPU's will not play these discs.

      • Krogoth
      • 3 years ago

      I, for one, welcome our planned obsolescence hardware platforms!

    • not@home
    • 3 years ago

    I remember back in the days of Napster, I think it was Sony Music, would deliberately nerf their CDs so that if someone tried to play it back (or rip it) in a PC, the sound would be all garbled. It was a simple trick, audio CDs use a constant velocity spin rate, where the velocity of the section of the CD that was being read by the laser was always at a constant velocity, and the CD would spin slower as it got towards the outer of CD. PC CD players use a constant RPM and would use the time stamps encoded into every sector to get the music to play back seamlessly. Sony just deliberately messed up the time stamps. I had a few of those CDs. Sony lost a class action law suit and TDK come out with CD burners for the PC that could operate in either way, rendering the Sony scheme useless. I wonder if the “additional, unspecified enhancements” of the BDR-S11J-X are just the ability to spin the CD using either method.

    • jackbomb
    • 3 years ago

    Really, Kaby Lake? They’re just begging the folks at RedFox to crack this thing, aren’t they?

      • Farting Bob
      • 3 years ago

      Kaby has a new form of DRM baked in. Its only in Kaby and that is the only way to use these discs. Netflix is the same with their 4K content only being available on Kabylake CPU’s. Its stupid, but Intel likes it because its an artificial reason for people to buy and media distributors like it because its (currently) more secure.

      I cant recall if AMd has announced compatibility for their new CPU’s, but i dont think they do have it.

        • Chrispy_
        • 3 years ago

        Well then, Qualcomm, Samsung and Apple are gonna be pissed, aren’t they!

          • Shobai
          • 3 years ago

          I’m guessing that the number of mobile devices you’d plug plug one of these into is going to be vanishingly small… having said that, my understanding is that Netflix’s Android app is not artificially hobbled in this way. I’m not sure about other platforms

    • DPete27
    • 3 years ago

    Wow, they’re worse at determining system requirements than game developers!

      • madmilk
      • 3 years ago

      Actually, it’s because of the DRM on UHD Blu-Rays. AACS 2.0 implementations are supposed to use a secure enclave to prevent reverse-engineering the player software. Only Skylake and Kaby Lake support that with Intel SGX. The chipset/motherboard also has to support SGX for it to work, and most 100-series motherboards don’t actually support it.

      Probably best to just buy a separate player…

        • Krogoth
        • 3 years ago

        This product is going to fail hard.

        Not even die-hard videophiles are going to through such massive hoops to play 4K content on their PC.

        Big media just shot themselves in both legs with a shotgun.

          • I.S.T.
          • 3 years ago

          PCs weren’t and aren’t a big driver for BR. That is primarily home consoles and players. Turns out most PC people don’t give a damn if the quality is overall good enough.

        • eofpi
        • 3 years ago

        [quote<]Probably best to just buy a separate player...[/quote<] Or let this format die a well-deserved early death.

    • adisor19
    • 3 years ago

    Wow optical media is still a thing ?!

    Adi

      • I.S.T.
      • 3 years ago

      My preferred way to watch movies. Streaming often does not have subtitles and is usually lesser quality. I watch movies very close to my screen, so I notice the differences better.

        • DancinJack
        • 3 years ago

        I’m not sure what service you are using, but almost every, if not every single one, streaming service I use has subs that are just fine. Netflix, Amazon, HBO all work wonderfully.

          • I.S.T.
          • 3 years ago

          I’ve found Netflix and Hulu sometimes do not have subtitles for lesser known things. More often Hulu, though.

          Many discs don’t either, to be fair. I try to avoid those when possible. My hearing is best described as odd, so I tend to prefer subtitles and watch stuff with them whenever possible.

            • DancinJack
            • 3 years ago

            I like them, a lot. My hearing is impeccable but I just like knowing for sure what was said. I’m weird.

          • Jamietre
          • 3 years ago

          They have subtitles. Unfortunately, they don’t have the vast majority of movies that are available on blu-ray. I get that people are lazy, but the selection of movies on Netflix is absolute garbage.

          So unless you want to choose from the C list of movies made three or more years ago, your choices are to rent a streaming movie one-time for $7.99 or more for HD, or actually buy a Blu-ray for sometimes around the same price unless it’s a brand new release. You then own it, you can watch it whenever you want, and you can rip it and watch when you aren’t online.

          The way Hollywood delivers content is ridiculous. Until it’s not, I will still buy optical media.

        • rudimentary_lathe
        • 3 years ago

        For me price is a factor too. I can usually buy physical media for much cheaper than digital. I would have thought that would be the other way around, but unfortunately not in my experience.

          • I.S.T.
          • 3 years ago

          It really depends on what you’re buying and etc. I find physical is insanely good for out of print stuff rather than trying to obtain it through other methods. It’s also really good if you’re willing to go used on something that doesn’t have Marvel/Disney in the title and/or it’s a mostly forgotten movie.

          Digital can be damned nice for finding gems that are out of print physically and can’t be obtained any other way. Or, if you’re like me and you like to watch stupid action movies from the 70s-90s, you can just enjoy those with little cost.

          If you are like me and like those, a good place in the U.S., providing you’re okay with ads, is tubitv.com. They have a whole bunch of stuff too. For a while they had Night of The Hunter. They got the original version of Oldboy and etc too. It’s worth checking out.

        • dragontamer5788
        • 3 years ago

        I still prefer BluRays as well.

        Netflix is somewhat unreliable: movies come and go as studios make and/or break deals. Its more of an issue for me, since my typical watching is about long-running anime series (or series in general. Such as Stargate SG1).

          • I.S.T.
          • 3 years ago

          Doesn’t help if you want to watch the latest stuff on Home Video you are usually(But not always) ****ed hard. Physical media or stuff like Vudu/etc are your only choices then.

      • Vhalidictes
      • 3 years ago

      Yeah, I’m not sure what the use case is here. You can’t play back 4K video on most PCs, and decently sized Blu-Ray blanks still cost a fortune.

        • Waco
        • 3 years ago

        *you can’t play back idiotic DRM 4K video on PCs. You can play any other 4K video without issue on most modern PCs.

      • 223 Fan
      • 3 years ago

      Some people still think 3.5 mm headphone jacks are a thing!

        • adisor19
        • 3 years ago

        WHAT ?! That’s crazy talk.

        Adi

      • Krogoth
      • 3 years ago

      Yes, it is superior for long-term archival data storage. It is also the cheapest route for physical media distribution (it is dying though).

    • the
    • 3 years ago

    I wonder how long it’ll take for some one to break copy protection on the 4K discs so that people can rip them to their hard drives and re-encode as appropriate.

      • Fonbu
      • 3 years ago

      That will remove the Kaby Lake, Windows 10 and HDMI 2.0a requirement also.

      • egon
      • 3 years ago

      Trouble is even if it gets broken at some level, that’s far from the end of it. As it stands, Blu-ray ripping software requires continual updates (on either client or server side) to handle the latest discs, and there’s still no way to remove Cinavia without messing with the original audio. That makes the process of removing copy protection less reliable and more vulnerable than in the past.

      Rule #1 violation removed – Captain Ned

        • davidbowser
        • 3 years ago

        I thought Redfox AnyDVD had a method of suppressing Cinavia during a rip.

          • DarkUltra
          • 3 years ago

          This site say it can even remove Cinavia, but you end up with ac3 instead of the HD Audio track.

          [url<]http://www.myce.com/news/slysoft-removes-cinavia-signal-from-blu-ray-movies-with-anydvd-hd-and-clonebd-combination-75695/[/url<]

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