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This story was printed from CdrInfo.com,
located at http://www.cdrinfo.com.

Appeared on: Thursday, June 04, 2009
Pioneer BDR-203BK

1. Features,specifications

The BDR-203BK is Pioneer's latest CD/DVD/BD media burner. This drive offers 8x recording for the latest 6x BD-R media, which means that you will be able to burn 25GB of data in less than 30 minutes. Compared to the previous generation of BD burners, this new drive is significantly faster and as such, it could be more attractive to consumers at a time where the Blu-ray format is making some steps forward to become the successor of the DVD.

Though the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) has not yet released the specifications for BD-R recording at 8x, the drive is capable of burning at this speed with specific BD-Rs specified for 6x. However, even 6x BD-Rs (both single layer and dual layer) are currently very hard to find on the market today. TDK/Imation and Panasonic were the first companies to offer such discs, followed by Taiyo Yuden (available soon), Moser Baer India, ritek and Mitsubishi Kagaku Media (Verbatim brand, available in the summer).

Besides the limited availability of the 6x BDR discs, their price is also high for the end users. Let's hope that the situation will change in the following months as the media companies ramp up their production.

Let's now have a look at the Pioneer BDR-203BK drive. Basic features include 8x burning for both single layer and dual layer discs (BD-R SL and DL), using the Partial CAV recording mode. BD-RE are burned at 2x for both DL and SL as well as the new BD-R LTH Type discs.

The drive can be also used as a Blu-ray movie playback device, as soon as your PC's specifications meet some requirements and of course you have the right BD playback software.

The drive also maintains compatibility with DVD and CD discs for both read and write. Below you can see the table of specifications:

Quiet Operation

Most operational noise is generated from the air flow when the disc spins within the drive. Pioneer has redesigned the disc tray structure to control the flow of air and smooth its circulation within the drive. Several tunnel-like air intakes and ducts are placed around the disc tray to realize smoother air flow. The drive's insides have been smoothed, so as not to hinder air flow that can cause noise. Attention to such details allows for the drive's operational noise to be greatly reduced.

But even with attention to such detail, the disc spinning within the drive will create air flow noise. There are 3 areas from which air flow noise escapes from the drive’s front (Above, below, and from the bottom). The interlocking/overlapping design works like sound barrier to trap air flow noise. As a result, Pioneer claims that the drive is 3-5dB quieter than its previous model.

The drive also monitors how it is being used and will adjust its disc rotation speed automatically, meaning it will spin slowly/quietly for audio & movie playback, and quickly for data transfers.


The sound barrier design that traps noise inside also works as a barrier to keep dust outside. With the newly developed mechanism, the drive has achieved approximately four times superior dust durability over previous models .Placed under the same conditions, the DVR-116 outlasted the competition by five fold, making drive failure due to dust practically a non issue.

Particle level≒600cpm
Continuous write/read of media (JVC DVD-RW2-6x)
1cycle= 4x write, 8x read
PASS/FAIL criteria : Disc write/read with no errors
Discrepancy in FAIL time is due to what point on the disc
Became unreadable


Pioneer's performance enhancing features allow for high quality recording characteristics. Liquid Crystal Compensator provides accurate, reliable READ/WRITE performance with a variety of disc characteristics using its three capabilities:


If the disc is warped or its thickness is uneven, it cannot form a precise beam spot, preventing accurate writing. With Tilt Compensator it forms a beam spot that is uniform on both sides, achieving accurate writing.


Standard optical pickups optimize writing to single layer disc. therefore it causes spherical aberrations when attempting to write double layer disc. The Liquid Crystal Compensator makes it possible to focus light to a pinpoint regardless of the disc's single or double layer structure, avoiding spherical aberration, allowing for accurate writing.


Corrects other issues which cause misalignments of the beam spot. The Liquid Crystal compensator is an ideal solution for irregularly curved, thin/thick and double layer discs.

Precision Writing Disc Stabilizer

High speed disc rotation causes disc warping due to disc resonant vibration, which result in unstable writing quality especially in outer area of a disc. With the newly designed top chassis, air flow caused by the high speed rotation is utilized to press the disc surface, which prevents three type of resonant vibrations and stabilize the high speed writing and reading.

Environmental Consideration

Eco Bezel

Pioneer has employed the botanical materials with higher percentage from previous drive models. Entire front panel is made of botanical based plastic materials considering environmental factors.

For easier material recycling

Elastic hot plastic materials to inject on a cold drive metal body, this is conventional production methods widely spread in the industry. Though this production method is having disadvantage from the aspect of material recycling because plastics and metals are unified which makes to hard to lip off while in recycling process. Pioneer has employed more environmental friendly production method by paying attention for easier material removal process in mind. Light weight and elaborate package designs are reflected on the drive considering less impact on our environmental aspects.


The drive can be purchased online for approximately $300. The retail package is complete and includes a software package for Blu-ray play back, as well as connection cables and user guides.

In the box you find the following:

The rear panel is typical and has a power and SATA interfaces.

Let's take a look at the drive's internal board. It is recommended not to open the case of your drive since that would void the warranty.

You can click on each picture for a larger view:

The drive's electronics is based on the Renesas R8J32710TF chipset.

2. CD, DVD, BD Reading tests

For our CD/DVD and Blu-ray transfer rate tests we used the Nero Disc Speed utility and a set of data and audio CD-R/RW/ROM as well as BD-R and BD-RE media. Here we test the maximum reading speed of the Pioneer drive for each type of disc. For comparison, we have included the corresponding reading results of another 8x Blu-ray burner based on the Panasonic reference design, the Sony BWU-300S.


Sony BWU-300S Pioneer BDR-203
Average Speed 36.36x 31.47x

The Sony drive was faster here since it reads CD-ROM/-R disc at 48x. Pioneer's drive finished reading at 40x.


The following CD Speed graph shows the reading performance with US-RW media.

Sony BWU-300S Pioneer BDR-203
Average Speed 25.21x 18.87x

Again, the Sony BWU-300S was faster due to the 32x max supported speed.

- AudioCD

In the CD Speed Advanced DAE quality test, the drive's average speed was 22.24X with a quality score of 100.

Sony BWU-300S Pioneer BDR-203
Average Speed 17.56x 22.24x

The test was successful for the Pioneer drive. The 24x CAV reading speed for CD DAE was enough to leave behind the Sony BWU-300S.


Digital Audio Extraction or DAE is important when we try to read the files stored on an audio CD and store them in our hard disk drive. The procedure is not always that simple and the fidelity of the extracted data depend on the way each drive handles these data.

The majority of the software that support this procedure, commonly known as "ripping", will just read the audio files and store them on your hard disk. However, this approach is not recommended for all drives, since it may result to read or sync errors if your drive does not support report of C2 error pointer information and also what the author of the EAC (Exact Audio Copy) software describes as "accurate stream" and " non-caching."

According to EAC, the Pioneer BDR-203BK drive supports "caching ", "Accurate stream" but it doe not reports "C2 error pointer information

Accurate stream and C2 error reporting is always welcome and contribute to reliable and fast audio extraction. Generally, if you select a drive for extraction better have a look that the drive does not cache audio data.

If you are sure about the physical condition of your audio CD and you need faster extractions, you may chose other utilities such as the CD DAE software. A typical ripping task finished at an average reading speed of 26.8X, using CD DAE:

- 90/99 mins Audio disc

90min Audio disc

Sony BWU-300S Pioneer BDR-203
Average Speed 35.93x 25.20x

- DVD Format

Now let's take a look at how the drive performs with DVD media. This time, a set of SL and DL DVD media was used. The drive is capable of reading at 16X maximum speed for single layer DVD ROM and at 12X for dual layer DVD ROM media.

DVD-ROM SL media -

Sony BWU-300S Pioneer BDR-203
Average Speed 12.26x 11.75x


The two layers of a PTP DVD-ROM disc are read sequentially with the drive starting reading from the inner part of the disc, which is the beginning of each layer, progressing towards its outer range.


Sony BWU-300S Pioneer BDR-203
Average Speed 9.20x 9.35x


The first layer of an OTP dual layer DVD-ROM is read exactly the same way as the first layer of the PTP disc we tested previously. The difference here is the reading strategy of the second layer of the disc. The beginning of the second layer is located in the outer part of the disc, so the drive starts reading from the outer tracks and progresses towards the inner part of the disc.

Sony BWU-300S Pioneer BDR-203
Average Speed 9.20x 9.34x

DVD-R- Average read 11.95x

DVD-RW - Average read 9.36x

DVD+R - Average read 11.97x

DVD+RW Average read 9.38x

DVD+R DL Average read 9.48x


The drive seems to have problems to read the datain the end of lyer 0 and right in the beginning of layer 1.

DVD Ripping speed -

Ripping of a single layer DVD movie:

  Pioneer BDR-203BK Sony BWU-300S
Average 11.798KB/s (8,5x) 6122KB/s (4.4x)
Maximum 17.220KB/s (12,4x) 8497KB/s (6,1x)

- Blu-ray format

Continuing, let's see how the drive reads the various Blu-ray recordable and ROM discs.






The Pioneer drive is also capable of reading/writing from/to the new BD-R Low-To-High (LTH) discs. The discs are not compatible with 1st generation BD drives unless their firmware allows it. Currently, the availability of such media is limited, with only Verbatim and Taiyo Yuden to offer them in Japan. Below you can see a reading test with a Verbatim SL BD-R LTH disc (VERBATIMw):





8cm BD-R SL

8cm BD-RE SL


The reading process of almost all media was completed without read errors and at speeds that match the drive's specifications. Compared with the Sony BWU-300S, the Pioneer drive was slower with the CD-R/ROM/RW media. Both drive read the DVD discs at the same speeds, while the Pioneer drive read the Blu-ray discs at its maximum supported speed for each type. Very good reading performance in general for the BDR-203BK.

3. CD error correction tests

This series of tests checks the drive's ability to correct/conceal possible erroneous data after reading artificially scratched / defective audio discs.

Using a CD-R in best shape to do the DAE test is generally not a safe way to test the drive's error correction capabilities. If your drive would not read audio CDs error free from an error free disc, you would probably bring the drive back to the vendor. It is far more interesting to see how a drive is behaving under critical conditions (which will also tell something about the DAE quality on CDs that have manipulated C2 error information on purpose). For that a special test CD like the ABEX discs from ALMEDIO can be used, that can be used to do a comparison between different drives. The ABEX test disc is actually an AudioCD that has artificial scratches and other physical disc error patterns on its surface.

Using a special software, we compare two audio files using FFT analysis. The first audio file has been extracted by a normal audio disc without physical error patterns on it . The second one is the result of the extraction of the ABEX test discs which hold the same audio tracks, but it also has specific defects on its surface. The similarity factor of the the two tracks unveils the error correction capabilities of the drive.

The differences between the two compared tracks are translated to a signal (noise) illustrated in the following graphs. Each graph tells a lot about the abilities of the drive. The quality of the optical system (and/or of the error correction capabilities of the firmware) is shown in at which time index the error start. The error hiding qualities are shown when the wedge gets bigger. The X position of a grid line is always a start of a new minute position on the CD (in play time, up to 74 min). The Y axis shows the dB(A) value of the error in the extracted file. The 0 dB(A) baseline at the top is marked slightly different. So the graph shows a range of 6 dB(A) down to -120.0 dB(A). Each line represents 6 dB(A) of volume (6 dB(A) louder means that the sound is double as loud).



Errors total Num : 1885784
Errors (Loudness) Num : 107028 Avg : -75.9 dB(A) Max : -18.4 dB(A)
Error Muting Num : 5690 Avg : 1,0 Samples Max : 8 Samples
Skips Num : 0 Avg :0.0 Samples Max 0 Samples
Total Test Result 75.4 points(of 100.0 maximum

The drive's performance on this disc can be commented using the graph above. Error correction is good here, starting at the point where the defect is starting to grow, but error hiding mechanisms are average. We can tell that by the noise that almost all the time exceeds that -60 db(A) level, especially after the 32min mark where the scratch on the surface of the disc becomes bigger.


Errors total Num : 6779
Errors (Loudness) Num : 3902 Avg : -87.2 dB(A) Max : -53dB(A)
Error Muting Num : 45 Avg : 1.0 Samples Max :1 Samples
Skips Num :0 Avg :0,0 Samples Max 0 Samples
Total Test Result 83.5 points(of 100.0 maximum)

We expected a better performance here from the Pioneer drive. Usually, the specific ABEX disc is easily readable, but this time the fingerprint area on the disc caused some problems. As you can see, the error correcting capabilities are not that good, but anyway the error hiding feature is not so bad, most of the errors are lower than -60 dB(A), which means nearly not audible

- CD-Check Audio Test Disc

The CD-Check Test Disc is another tool for evaluating the Sound Reproduction / Error correction capabilities of a CD player. The disc offers a signal combination with disc error patterns to rate the drive's abilities to read music and reproduce it completely. Five tracks on the disc contain a sequence of progressively more difficult tests. These tracks are referred to as Check Level-1 through Check Level-5.

The tracks are reproduced through a software multimedia player (e.g. Windows Media Player). Each level is considered as passed, if the tone is smooth, continuous without interruptions, skipping or looping. The higher the Check Level passed, the more reliable the sound reproduction of the tested drive.

Error Level 1 2 3 4 5
Pioneer BDR-203BK 5/5 5/5 5/5 0/5 0/5


An average performance for the Pioneer BDR-203BK , as it successfully played only the first 3 tracks.

4. DVD Error correction tests

In the following tests, we examine the DVD reading capabilities of the drive (error correction) with scratched / defective DVD media. For the tests, we used CDVD Benchmark and Nero CDSpeed. The reference test media comes from ALMEDIO.

- Single Layer media


This is a single sided, single layer DVD-ROM with a 4.7GB capacity, and its surface has an artificial scratch of dimensions varying from 0.4 to 3.0 mm.

The reading process was completed successfully.


This is also a single sided, single layer DVD-ROM of 4.7GB capacity. The data structure of the disc is exactly the same as that of the TDR-821, with the difference that there are no scratches on it but instead, defective areas of dimensions ranging from 0.5 to 1.1 mm. There are also fingerprints sized between 65 and 75 micrometers.


Another successful read here. The graph shows us some speed fluctuations, meaning that the drive had some difficulties in the reading process.

- Dual Layer media


This is an 8.5GB dual layer, single sided DVD-ROM disc with artificial scratches of dimensions ranging from 0.4 to 3.0mm, on both layers.


Same as before, successful reading with a few fluctuations.


The disc is a single sided, dual layer DVD-ROM disc with a capacity of 8.5GB. The only difference between the TDR-845 and the TDR-841 is that the first includes defective areas and fingerprints.




The TDV-545 disc is based on the TDV-540 series. It is a single sided, dual layer DVD-VIDEO disc with a capacity of 8.5GB.The TDV-545 includes artificial black dots on the data surface, sized from 0.4 to 1.0 mm. It also has 65 - 75 micrometer fingerprints.

Flawless reading here.


Overall, the DVD error correction mechanisms are quite good.

5. CD DVD quality testing platform

All CD/DVD writing quality tests are done using the IQB Omni CD DVD Analyzer by Quantized. The IQB Omni from Quantized Systems is a physical disc analyzer, covering all CD and DVD formats, designed to meet the Quality Control demands of the duplication and replication sectors.

Omni's features allows you to identify media quality issues and highlight drive performance and recording problems.

The system is based on a Philips CD/DVD drive. It supports the majority of the optical disc formats, including CD-ROM, CD-R/RW, CD-A

The platform can test the media for the following signals:

Reflectivity R-I14H R-I14H R-I14H
Jitter Modulation Modulation Modulation
I11/ITop Jitter Jitter Jitter
Asymmetry/Beta PI Sum 8 PI Sum 8 PI SUm 8
E11 to E32 Error Statistics POF POF POF
Burst Errors Beta Beta Asymmetry
  ADER Unc    

Test speeds for CD media are set at 16X and for DVD media at 4X.

The equipment is capable of providing measurements on the complete data area or at specific positions defined by the user (Quick Test mode). This zone testing procedure allows multiple areas of the disc to be tested in a single operation.

All numerical and graphical data are stored in a database. Data can be recalled with user defined criteria to create sets of related key results. Data can also be imported into most common software packages - MS Excel etc.

For more information on the Quantized IQB Omni Analyzer, visit http://www.quantized.com.

In the following pages, we present the writing quality measurements of various CD and DVD recordable and rewritable media, burned with the Pioneer BDR-203BK Blu-ray disc burner.

6. CD-R writing quality - Taiyo Yuden 48x

For this test (and for all ensuing tests with CD-R media), the CD-R disc was burned to its maximum capacity and at its maximum speed. Then, the same disc is read with the Disc Speed software, and the disc was scanned for digital errors (C1 and C2).

-Disc Info

Taiyo Yuden 48x CD-R

- Writing

Average Writing Speed: 24,96x
Writing time: 03:58min

- Reading

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

Click for large view

A very good result for the Pioneer drive with the taiyo Yuden CD-R at 48x.

7. CD-R Writing quality - Memorex (ritek) 32x

-Disc Info

Memorex (RITEK) 32x CD-R

- Writing strategy

Average Writing Speed: 24.71x
Writing time: 04:01min

- Reading

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI


Click for large view

The E32 pointer indicates that there is a problem with the specific disc at around the 50cm radius. Jitter Pit/Land was also slightly increased.

8. CD-RW writing quality - Verbatim 24x

-Disc Info

Verbatim 16x CD-RW

- Writing strategy

Average Writing Speed: 16.01x
Writing time: 05:11min
The drive refused to write the CD-RW discs at any speed higher than the 16x. We used US-RW discs for 16x. 24x and 32x but still, the drive kept reporting the 16x speed as the highest suported.

- Reading speed

9. DVD+R writing quality - CMCMAG M01 16x

We start our DVD writing quality measurements with DVD-R media. A variety of different MIDs were selected and burned at the maximum allowed speed. In each of the following pages, you will find detailed information about each disc, the burning and reading procedure as well as the related signal measurements that construct the overall quality picture for each disc.

You can always navigate across to the different MIDs in this review, using the page navigation drop down menu.

- Media Info

- Writing - 16x (9.53x average) in 07:10min


The drive never managed to reach the 16X speed.

- Reading - 16X (11.97X average)


- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

Although the disc was read successfully by the drive, the test reported extremely high PI error rates, resulting in uncorrectable errors.

10. DVD+R writing quality - DAXON AZ3 16x

- Media Info

- Writing - 16x (11.62x average) in 06:18min


- Reading - 16X (11.92x average)


- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

Click for large view

The measurements for the DAXON disc look quite similar to what we previously got with the CMC MAG M01. PI8Sum errors raised after the 49mm radius of the disc and POF appeared shortly.

11. DVD+R writing quality - Verbatim MCC 004 16x

- Media Info

- Writing - 16X (11.59X average) in 06:23min

- Reading - 16X (11.97x average)

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

Click for large view

A perfect burn here with almost all the parameters to be within the acceptable limits.

12. DVD+R writing quality - Prodisc R04 16x

- Media Info


- Writing - 16x (11.66x average) in 06:09min

- Reading - 16X (11.97X average)

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI


Click for large view

Another good burn for the drive, this time with ProdiscR04 media

13. DVD+R writing quality - YUDEN T03 16x

- Media Info

- Writing - 16x (11.68x average) in 06:00min

- Reading - 16X (11.96X average)


- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI


Click for large view

POF appeared here right at the end of the data area. This happens sometimes and should not be considered as a a major flaw.

14. DVD-R writing quality - CMCMAG AM3 16x

- Media Info

- Writing - 16x (11.57x average) in 06:06min


- Reading - 16X (11.95X average)

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

Click for large view

Another good burn here, with all error rates within limits.

15. DVD-R writing quality - Verbatim MCC03RG20 16x

- Media Info

- Writing - 16x (11.68x average) in 05:49min

- Reading - 16X (11.97X average)

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

Click for large view

A great result for the Pioneer drive with the Verbatim MCC 03RG20 disc.

16. DVD-R writing quality - Prodisc F02 16x

- Media Info

- Writing - 16x (11.68x average) in 05:48min

- Reading - 16X (11.95X average)

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

Click for large view

A rather good burn, and the Pioneer drive is continuing its good streak with DVD media.

17. DVD-R writing quality - Ritek F1 16x

- Media Info


- Writing - 16x (11.63x average) in 05:51min

- Reading - 16X (11.99X average)

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

Click for large view

A rather good burn, and the Pioneer drive is continuing its good streak with DVD media.

18. DVD-R writing quality - TYG03 16x

- Media Info

- Writing - 16x (11.65x average) in 05:48 min

- Reading - 16X (11.96X average)


- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

Click for large view

19. DVD+R DL writing quality - Verbatim MKM 003 8x

- Media Info

- Writing - 8x (7.37x average) in 16:07min


- Reading - 12X (9.48X average)


- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

Click for large view

POF was reported in the beginning of layer 0.

20. DVD-R DL writing quality - Verbatim MKM03RD30 8x

- Media Info

- Writing - 8x in 15:21min


- Reading - 12X (5.89X average)

Switching between the layers of the disc was hard for the drive ,as you can see above.

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

Click for large view

POF was reported in the end of Lyer 0.

21. DVD+RW writing quality - Verbatim MKM A03 8x

- Media Info

- Writing - 8X (7.77x average) in 8:21min

- Reading - 12.55X (9.38X average)

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI


Click for large view

A nice burn for the Pioneer drive, with only the Jitter value over the acceptable limits.

22. DVD-RW writing quality - Verbatim MKM 01RW6X01 8x

- Media Info

- Writing - 6x (6.00x average) in 10:18min


- Reading - 12.51X (9.36X average)

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI


Click for large view

Another nice burn for the Pioneer drive, with the DVD-RW disc. Jitter is again slightly increased.

23. DVD-RAM writing tets - Maxell MXL 16 5x

- Media Info

- Writing - 5x (4.98x average) in 11:06min


- Reading - 5X (4.85X average)

24. BD-R Writing tests - Verbatim 25GB LTH VERNATIMw (000) 2x

From this page and for the following we start our Blu-ray disc tests with the Pioneer BDR-203BK drive. We remind you that the drive supports 8x BD-R SL and DL recording with specific media. The discs we used for this test were kindly provided by Mitsubishi Kangaku Media (MKM), the manufacturer of the popular Verbatim branded discs, Moser Baer India, Panasonic and Imation/TDK.

For the first test we used the Verbatim BD-R 25GB certified for 2x burning (VERBATIMw (000)).The specific disc has been manufactured using the "Low-To-High" (LTH) process. The LTH write-once BD-R media feature an organic dye recording layer, making them different that the currently available BD-R discs that use inorganic materials.

Notice that not all the Blu-Ray drives can read the LTH BD-R discs. That because the reproduced signal while reading the discs has a LTH (Low to High) polarity. However, latest hardware as well as firmware upgrades to existing players/recorders could add support for LTH recording.

The advantages of the LTH manufacturing technology is that it can be applied without requiring large-scale manufacturing plant investments, allowing for using modified CD-R and DVD-R manufacturing equipment.

The "Low to High" (LTH, in groove recording) specifications for recording at 2x/4x have been released by the Blu-ray Disc Association.

- Media Info

- Writing - 2x (2.00x average) in 45:36min


- Reading - 2X (4.70X average)

25. BD-R Writing tests - Panasonic 25GB MEI RA1 8x

- Media Info

Panasonic is one of the few manufacturers of recordable Blu-ray discs that are currently offering BD-R SL and DL discs certified for 6x recording. Currently there is no physical specification for 8x speed recording for BD-R media. However, some Blu-ray writers such as the Pioneer BDR-203BK support burning at 8x on 6x-certified media. Notice that neither media manufacturers nor the Blu-ray disc Association (BDA) guarantee the compatibility of these media.

Here we used the Panasonic BD-R SL for 6x (MEI RA1) discs:

- Writing - 8x (6.81x average) in 14:48min


The drive burnt the disc at 8x using the Z-CLV strategy in 14:48 minutes.

- Reading - 8X (5.94X average)

26. BD-R Writing tests - Moser Baer India 25GB MBI R06 8x

- Media Info

Moser Baer India is also among one of the few manufacturers of recordable Blu-ray discs that are currently offering BD-R SL discs certified for 6x recording.

Here we used the Moser Baer BD-R SL for 6x (MBI R06) discs:

- Writing - 8x (6.80x average) in 14:47min


Agaim the Pioneer drive did not have any problem to burn the Moser Baer 6x BD-R at the maximum supported speed of 8x.

- Reading - 8X (5.95X average)

The disc was fully readable.

27. BD-R Writing tests - TDK 25GB TDKBLDRBB (000) 8x

- Media Info

This is TDK BD-R 25GB disc (TDKBLDRBB (000)) certified for 4x recording.

- Writing - 8x (6.79x average) in 14:53min


Again the Pioneer drive pushed the disc to its limits and burnt the data at 8x.

- Reading - 4X (5.94X average)

28. BD-R writing tests - TDK 25GB (TDKBLDRBD (000)) 8x

- Media Info

This is TDK BD-R 25GB disc (TDKBLDRBD (000)) certified for 6x recording.

- Writing - 8x (6.79x average) in 14:46min

- Reading - 4X (5.94X average)

29. BD-R Writing tests - Verbatim 25GB VERBATIMc 8x

- Media Info

This is Verbatim BD-R 25GB disc (VERBATIMc (000)) certified for 6x recording.

- Writing - 8x (6.79x average) in 14:53min


The Pioneer drive offers a wide compatibility of BD-R media for recording at 8x. The Verbatim 6x disc was succesfully burnt at 8x.

- Reading - 4X (5.94X average)

30. BD-R writing tests - TDK 50GB (TDKBLDRBD (000)) 8x

- Media Info

This is TDK BD-R DL 50GB disc (TDKBLDRFD (000)) certified for 6x recording.

- Writing - 8x (6.71x average) in 29:49 min


Burning almost 50GB of data in less than 30 minutes is exciting at least, don't you think?

- Reading - 6X (4.70X average)

31. BD-R writing tests - Verbatim 25GB VERBATIMe 8x

- Media Info

We also used the brand new Verbatim BD-R SL media certified for 6x (VERBATIMe (000)).

- Writing - 8x (6.81x average) in 14:44min


The drive chose the Z-CLV strategy for the 6x speed as you can see in the screenshot above. The total writing time for a full 25GB data disc was 14:44 minutes.

- Reading - 8X (5.94X average)

Reading was also performed with a Z-CLV mode.

32. BD-R writing tests - Verbatim 7.5GB 8cm VERBATIMa (000) 2x

- Media Info

This is an 8cm BD-R SL disc by Verbatim (VERBATIMa (000)), certified for 2x recording.

- Writing - 2x (1.99x average) in 14:29min

- Reading - 2X (4.38X average)

33. BD-R writing tests - Panasonic 50GB MEI RB1 8x

- Media Info

We proceed with another disc from Panasonic. This BD-R disc (MEI RB1) offers a nominal capacity of 50GB (DL) and it is certified for 6x recording.

- Writing - 8x (6.75x average) in 29:37min


The Pioneer BDR-203BK burner finished the recording of 50GB (actually 45.11GB) of data in just 29:37 minutes.

- Reading - 6X (4.70X average)

The disc was read at 6x P-CAV. More information on the compatibility of this disc with other BD burners is available in the following pages.

34. BD-R writing tests - Verbatim 50GB VERBATIMb 2x

- Media Info

The specific Verbatim BD-R disc (VERABTIMb (000)) offers a capacity of 50GB and it is certified for 2x recording.

- Writing - 2x (1.99x average) in 91:16min


- Reading - 2X (4.70X average)

35. BD-RE writing tests - Verbatim 25GB VERBATIM0 2x

- Media Info

This is another Verbatim BD-RE SL disc (VERBATIM0 (000) for 2x recording.

- Writing - 2x (2.00x average) in 45:34min


- Reading - 2X (5.92X average)

36. BD-RE writing tests - Verbatim 7.5GB 8cm VERBATIM0 2x

- Media Info

This is a Verbatim 8cm BD-RE disc for 2x. The available capacity is 7.5GB.

- Writing - 2x (2.00x average) in 14:28min


- Reading - 2X (4.38X average)

37. BD-RE writing tests - TDK 50GB TDKBLDWfa (000) 2x

- Media Info

This is another TDK BD-RE DL disc (TDKBLDWfa (000)) for 2x recording.

- Writing - 2x (1.99x average) in 91:10min


- Reading - 2X (4.69X average)

38. Summary of DVD, Blu-ray writing tests, Overburning, bit setting

In the following table, we have gathered the findings of the DVD quality measurement tests. On the left side of the table, you can find the discs that did not produce uncorrectable digital errors, while on the right side are the rest of the discs. For detailed measurement data, visit the corresponding pages.

Media type Digital errors within limits Digital errors exceed limits
CMC MAG. AM3 burned at 16x RITEKF1 burned at 16X.
MCC 03RG20 burned at 16x  
Prodisc F02 burned at 16x  
TYG03 burned at 16X  
DVD+R Verbatim MCC 004 burned at 16X. CMC MAG M01 burned at 16X

Prodisc R04 burned at 16x

DAXONAZ3 burned at 16X
  YUDEN000 T03 burned at 16X.
DVD+RW Verbatim MKM A03 burned at 8x  
DVD-R DL   Verbatim MKM 003 burned at 8x
DVD+R DL   Verbatim MKM03RD30 burned at 8x
DVD-RW Verbatim MKM 01RW6X01 burned at 6x  

- BD Media Burning Comparison Chart

In the following chart, we compare the burning speed for BD media of the Pioneer drive to another 8x BD burner we have tested, the Sony BWU-300S. The green boxes indicate the faster performance. Notice that the Pioneer drive is more compatible with the 8x recording speed than the Sony BWU-300S drive.

Sony BWU-300S v1.0d Pioneer BDR-203 v1.10
Verbatim BD-R SL LTH 2x VERBATIMw 2.00x average CLV (2x max) in 45:14 2.00x average (2x max) in 45:36
Verbatim BD-R 8cm 2x VERBATIMa 7GB 1.99x average CLV (2x max) in 14:16 1.99x average (2x max) in 14:29
Verbatim BD-R SL 4x VERBATIMc 3.98x average CLV (4x max) in 22:52 6.79x average (8x max) in 14:45
TDK BD-R SL 4x 3.99x average CLV (4x max) in 22:51 6.8x average (8x max) in 14:53
TDK BD-R SL 4x TDKBLDRBB (000) 3.98x average CLV (4x max) in 22:51 6.8x average (8x max) in 14:45
TDK BD-R SL 6x TDKBLDRBD (000) 5.47x average Z-CLV (6x max) 6.82x average (8x max) in 14:46

Verbatim BD-R SL 6x


5.48x average Z-CLV (6x max) in 17:19 6.81x average (8x max) in 14:44
Moser Baer India BD-R SL 6x MBI R06 5.48x average Z-CLV (6x max) in 17:18 6.80x average (8x max) in 14:48
Panasonic BD-R SL 6x MEI RA1 6.95x average P-CAV (8x max) in 13:47 6.81x average (8x max) in 14:48
Verbatim BD-R DL 2x VERBATIMb 1.99x average CLV (2x max) in 90:31 1.99x average (2x max) in 91:16
TDK BD-R DL 6x TDKBLDWFD 5.51 x average Z-CLV (6x max) 6.74x average (8x max) in 29:49
Panasonic BD-R DL 6x MEI RB1 6.94x average P-CAV (8x max) in 27:24 6.75x average (8x max) in 29:37
Verbatim BD-RE SL 2x VERBATIM0 1.99x average CLV (2x max) in 45:14 2.00x average (2x max) in 45:34
Verbatim 8cm BD-RE 2x VERBATIM0 7.26GB) 1.99x average CLV (2x max)in 14:08 2.00x average (2x max) in 14:28
TDK BD-RE DL 2x TDKBLDWFA 1.99x average CLV (2x max) in 90:30 1.99x average (2x max) in 91:10

- Bit Setting


- Overburning

The drive is not able to overburn DVD media, according to CD Speed.

39. Final words

The Pioneer BDR-203BK is the fastest BD burner currently available. The supported 8x burning speed is fast enough to offer you a complete 25GB disc in less than 14 minutes - a record that would sound unrealistic if you asked us a couple of years ago when we tested the first 2x BD burners. What we really liked with the drive is the fact that the 8x burning option is available with BD-R DL discs and that it supports read/write of the new LTH BD-R discs.

The drive will burn many BD media at 8X, although there are no 8X certified discs at the moment. We were able to burn discs that were not even 6X compatible at the stunning speed of 8X.

Other than that and regarding the reading aspect of the drive, we have to say that it turned out to be pretty good and all the CD and DVD disc were read at speeds that agree with the drive's specifications. Most reading processes were nice producing smooth graphs. Furthermore, the drive turned out to be able to read BD media fast enough, reading 2X BD-R DL at 6X, BD-R at 8X and so on.This is a very good aspect of the drive, as fast and reliable reading of the stored data is always useful, especially when you are dealing with 25GB or 50GB media. As far as error correction is concerned, we can say that the drive can handle defective media DVD pretty well. Error correction on CD media was average and could be improved.

Next on, are the writing tests that we performed. DVD media were burned at speeds of up to 16X and CD media at 48X .However, the drive refused to write CD-RW discs faster than the 16x, although its specifications indicate that it can go up to 24x. Writing quality tests were performed at CD and DVD media, and the drive turned out to be pretty good at this point. Both DVD+R and DVD-R media produced generally good scores, and this applies to the RW media, too.

So the standards are set high with this one. Pioneer BDR-203BK can be used for fast backups of data on Blu-ray discs, as well as for entertainment allowing you to watch your favorite BD movies on your PC or HD screen. It is a strong competitor for the other 8x BD Burners and allows you to burn at 8x even with previous generation discs certified for lower speeds. The drive can be purchased online for approximately $230.


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