What’s with External Blu-Ray Drives?

Grammatically speaking, I am not too certain about that headline, but subjectwise I’d like to thank “Reel Advice” from the “Reel Advice Movie review” blog for commenting on my Sept. 4 post about the Portable DVD and CD Drive for $40. They said:

Pretty nice deal for a portable drive but I will wait for portable Bluray drives before buying one of my own!

For me, Blu-ray wasn’t a consideration because I don’t have any Blu-ray discs — data or video — except for one or two accidental purchases, Superman II and Iron Man, which I have long since sold on eBay. Additionally, I bought the Lite-On ETDU10896 External Slim DVD ROMicon from TigerDirect.com purely for installing software and transferring files to computers other than my own. The other consideration was price. I didn’t want to spend more than $60 including tax.

But Reel Advice’s comment made me go back and search for portable blu-ray drives all the same. The results were interesting… for a while.

External Blu-Ray Drives

External Blu-Ray Drives

It turns out there are only two External / Portable Blu-Ray drives out there under $100 from “major” manufacturers: The LG BE06LU10 Super Multi Blue and the Panasonic UJ-120, but, for the most part, they are not available for “retail” sale; they’re pretty much “OEM”. OEM is “Original Equipment Manufacturer” which means they are for purchase by computer manufacturers. So if you are not an equipment manufacturer, and you buy one of these drives, and something goes wrong with it, you won’t be able to get any support from the manufacturer. (I had that happen once with an OEM motherboard I bought. There was a retail version available, but the OEM version was cheaper. Sadly, when I had trouble with the motherboard, I couldn’t get any assistance. I lived with it. Buyer beware, etc. I should have known better.)

So you can’t go to Best Buy and get any of these drives now, but they are available through other sites online.

One such site, TriangleLaptops.com, had a nice list of requirements for the Panasonic UJ-120 to work properly on your PC. Here’s the run down from their site:

  • Required software is not included.
  • This will function fine with your existing DVD and CD viewing and recording software.
  • To watch Blu-Ray movies, you will need HD capable software such as PowerDVD 8 Ultra, PowerDVD Suite 6 or ArcSoftTotalMedia Theater.
  • To use the drive as Blu-Ray player, your system needs to meet the following requirements:
  • Operating system: Windows XP with Service Pack 2 or better or Windows Vista
  • CPU: Core Duo or Core 2 Duo systems are generally compatible with Blu-ray disc drives. If your PC has a single processor (e.g. Intel Pentium 4), it should be at least 3.2 Ghz or have an AMD Athlon 64 FX games model, or an Intel Pentium EE Edition.
  • Memory: At least 1 GB RAM
  • Graphics card: This is the important part! You will need an nVidia GeForce 7600 GT or higher or an AMD/ATI X1600 or higher. You will need at least 256MB graphics memory and your card should support HDCP. Contact the manufacturer directly or visit their site for video adapter specifications if you aren’t sure whether your graphics card is HDCP enabled. You may also want to confirm that you have a graphics adapter driver version which supports Blu-ray discs (AMD/ATI Catalyst 6.7 and higher or nVidia ForceWare 93.71), and download the latest driver if necessary.
  • We know this list of requirements is intimidating. You’ll often be covered if your computer is a fairly recent model. We attached the USB 2.0 Blu-Ray drive to our Dell XPS M2010, installed the PowerDVD 8 Ultra and had no problem at all viewing a Blu-Ray movie.

Good points.

Vista System Properties

Vista System Properties

If you’re interested in seeing if your Windows (XP or Vista) computer meets these requirements, do the following:

  1. On the desktop, right-click on “My Computer”. A list a ppears. (Alternately, you can go to the “Control Panel” on your Start menu, then double-click “System”.)
  2. Click “Properties”. A system properties dialog box appears.
  3. On the screen you will find information for your computer’s “Operating System”, the “Processor” (CPU), and “Memory (RAM)”.
  4. Click the “Hardware” tab (XP) and/or “Device Manager”.
  5. Double-click “Display adapters” to see what graphics card you have. (You may have to do some research here to see if your card meets the requirements on the list above.)

And if you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to contact me here at Skylarking.

2 comments

  1. dvd says:

    Thanks for this valuable information. Kudos to the blog owner.

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