Pioneer’s UHD Blu-Ray Drive

While most people are still getting their home move fix from streaming sources, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, there are still several of us that still enjoys having that physical media.  As for the DIY crowd, the home theater PC is about to get a whole lot better.  Pioneer Japan announced two disc drives, the BDR-S11J-BK and the BDR-S11J-X that it will release in late February, ready to read the triple-layer 4K-ready discs.

Both drives come bundled with a copy of Cyberlink’s PowerDVD software that is ready to play back 4K movies from disc. However, you’ll also need a PC running Windows 10 as well as a 7th-generation Core i7 or i5 Intel processor and an HDMI 2.0a connection that’s HDCP 2.2 capable (just like 4K Netflix on the PC). Once you get past the demands of HEVC compression and the DRM wrapping, it should be all set.

Both drives are capable of reading and writing (read-only for Ultra HD Blu-ray), and are basically identical although the J-X has some extra tweaks for CDs, whether you’re listening or just ripping.  We do not yet know the price, or the exact release date, but surly we will see drives in the US soon.  As both Hitachi-LG and Pioneer are licensed to make the drives, whatever arrives will be coming from one of those two.

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Scott Hart

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10 Comments

  1. Cool. This is encouraging for my hoped-for 4k upgrade in a couple years. My HTPC is 6th-gen i5, but in a couple years I can upgrade the motherboard and CPU, install the drive in the second bay, and upgrade to the latest PDVD.

  2. After some further reading, my enthusiasm is much dampened. As is, this is an overly expensive UHD solution with no benefit over a cheap standalone player. Adding this to an HTPC requires a complete rebuild of your computer to upgrade to a new motherboard, possibly new RAM, and a 7th Gen i7/i5 CPU. This is a $1000 upgrade to do the job of a $300 dedicated player.

    And looking ahead, there's little hope that the current benefits of an HTPC for blu-ray / DVD will be realized for a UHD drive. Making this only a very fussy, very expensive player.

    Time will tell, but this could be an unsatisfying solution for HTPC enthusiasts.

  3. (Speaking in terms of hypotheticals).

    Hypothetically if I were to purchase this pioneer uhd drive, I would be using it to check newly purchased 4Kbluray discs for semi-random bad sectors due to manufacturing defects.  Most likely I would not  be using it for actually watching any 4kbluray movie discs.

    My hypothetical price point for this Pioneer drive, would be somewhat less than $100 for a bare bones oem version without any fancy packaging nor any software discs.

    My current LG rebadged ASUS bluray drive is only used to check my newly purchased bluray discs for semi-random bad sectors due to manufacturing defects.  So far I have never used it for watching any bluray movie discs.

  4. (Speaking in terms of hypotheticals).

    Hypothetically if I were to purchase this pioneer uhd drive, I would be using it to check newly purchased 4Kbluray discs for semi-random bad sectors due to manufacturing defects.  Most likely I would not  be using it for actually watching any 4kbluray movie discs.

    My hypothetical price point for this Pioneer drive, would be somewhat less than $100 for a bare bones oem version without any fancy packaging nor any software discs.

    And as we've discussed elsewhere, that's an extremely niche purpose. A PC-UHD drive whose only value is error checking discs before being put on a shelf and forgotten is a product failure.

  5. (Speaking in terms of hypotheticals).

    Hypothetically if I were to purchase this pioneer uhd drive, I would be using it to check newly purchased 4Kbluray discs for semi-random bad sectors due to manufacturing defects.  Most likely I would not  be using it for actually watching any 4kbluray movie discs.

    My hypothetical price point for this Pioneer drive, would be somewhat less than $100 for a bare bones oem version without any fancy packaging nor any software discs.

    My current LG rebadged ASUS bluray drive is only used to check my newly purchased bluray discs for semi-random bad sectors due to manufacturing defects.  So far I have never used it for watching any bluray movie discs.

    Enlighten me  🙂

    So you own this drive to just check Blu Ray MOVIES? for tiny errors prior to watching them?  or are you checking blank Blu disks?

  6. So you own this drive to just check Blu Ray MOVIES for tiny errors prior to watching them?

    Yes.

    Of the defective bluray discs I have come across via checking on a computer bdr drive, the errors were not "tiny" at all.  The errors manifested as skipping, freezing, etc … when the same defective bluray movie disc was played on any of my standalone bluray players.

    or are you checking blank Blu disks?

    No.

    I don't burn bdr discs at all.  Easier to use flash drives or external hard drives.

  7. And as we've discussed elsewhere, that's an extremely niche purpose. A PC-UHD drive whose only value is error checking discs before being put on a shelf and forgotten is a product failure.

    For the most part.

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