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located at http://www.cdrinfo.com.

Appeared on: Friday, April 08, 2011
Sony BWU-500S Review

1. Meet the Sony BWU-500S BD Burner

Today we have in our labs the Sony BWU-500S, Sony's first 12x Blu-ray disc writer. This drive offers 12x recording for the select 6x BD-R media, which means that you will be able to burn 25GB of data in less than 12 minutes.

Basic features of the Sony drive include 12x burning for single layer BD-R, 8x for dual layer BD-R, while . BD-RE are burned at 2x for both DL and SL.

The drive also maintains compatibility with DVD and CD discs for both read and write. TheBWU-500Swrites Double Layer BD-R media at 8X, and reads BD-ROM discs at 8X as well. Single Layer DVD±R discs can be written at 16X, Double Layer DVD±R at 8X and rewritable discs at 8X (+RW) and 6X (-RW) respectively. The drive reads and writes CD-R at 48X and rewrites CD-RW at 24X.

The drive is the retail version of the Sony Optiarc BD-5300S burner.

Below you see the table of specifications:




The drive comes with a generous bundle. It includes the CyberLink software suite 8, which includes programs such as the DVD/Blu-ray Disc playback software, PowerDVD 9, the video editing software, PowerDirector 8, and the DVD/BD authoring software, PowerProducer 5. These programs make it easy to play back 3D Blu-ray Disc videos, edit your own creative video material and produce and burn your own Blu-rays Discs and DVDs with impressive menus. Data archiving is also simple with the PowerBackup 2.5 burning software.

Besides the software disc, the retail box includes a Sony BD-R SL disc for 6x burning, an operating instructions guide, s SATA cable and warranty cards.




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 MediaTEK ARM MT1939MWDU chipset. Notice that the LiteOn iHBS112 12x BD burner is also based on the same chipset and board.

Here is some extra information about the drive once installed:

2. CD, DVD and Blu-ray Disc 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 Sony drive for each type of disc.

CD reading


Advanced DAE Quality

Here is the Nero DiscSpeed - Advanced DAE Quality test. In the On-the-fly copying area, the test determines whether an audio CD can be copied without causing errors at various speeds between 1x and 16x, i.e. indicates if the optical
drive is suitable for use on-the-fly in combination with a recorder for backing up audio discs. The results of two tests are displayed in the Test results area: the Sequential read test and the Random read test. The sequential read test simulates the digital extraction of audio files (DAE) under ideal conditions and then runs a harmonic read test.

There are two different types of error. A search for data errors returns audio samples that were not read correctly, based on a comparison of the read bytes with the known data from the test disc. Minor data errors can be corrected using the drive's error correction feature. Synchronization errors occur when, instead of reading the required audio sectors, an optical drive reads the adjacent sectors. Nero DiscSpeed uses special data on the test disc to check if the correct sectors are being read. Synchronization errors can result in samples being lost or repeated, and these errors can be audible:

The disc was extracted at 33.18X (average) and the quality score was 100. Notice that the drive cannot read data from the Lead-Out area, which means that it cannot always create perfect copies.


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 Sony drive supports "caching ", "Accurate stream" and 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.

With these settings applied to EAC software, we perform a DAE of an audio CD to our HDD. Notice that the specific test will result in a slower DAE speed than what you would get if you simply select to rip the contents of the disc with another application. That's because EAC used its "Secure" ripping mode after we applied the drive's features (Caching, accurate stream , c2 error info) to the software, in order to have a reliable ripping with the specific drive. Since caching need to be defeated, the secure mode will be slow. When no read errors occur, it will usually something around a third to a fourth of the drive's maximum ripping speed (in case we had selected the default fast mode). The Sony drive ripped the audio tracks of the disc at an average ripping speed of 4.5X:

The same disc extracted using the faster "burst" ripping mode at 12.6X:


90/99 mins Audio discs

90min Audio disc

The drive returned an error as it was trying to read the data stored at the outer part of the disc.

It also gave a read error in the seek time test with the 99min CD-R.

DVD reading

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.


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.


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.









Version 2.2/5X-SPEED DVD-RAM Revision 2.0

Version 6/12X-SPEED DVD-RAM RAM2

Ripping of a single layer DVD movie:

Blu-ray reading

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


The Sony drive is also capable of reading of BD-R Low-To-High (LTH) discs. Below you can see a reading test with a Verbatim SL BD-R LTH disc (VERBATIMw):



Reading of almost all media was completed fast and without read errors and at speeds that match the drive's specifications.

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: 886400
Errors (Loudness) Num: 48947 Avg: -74.0 dB(A) Max: -36.3 dB(A)
Error Muting Num: 2939 Avg: 1,1 Samples Max: 18 Samples
Skips Num: 0 Avg: 0.0 Samples Max: 0 Samples
Total result C2 Accuracy: 99.7 %
76.9 points (of 100.0 maximum)

The drive's error correction is good, 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 around the 32min mark where the scratch on the surface of the disc becomes bigger.


Errors total Num: 0
Errors (Loudness) Num: 0 Avg: -174.0 dB(A) Max: 0 dB(A)
Error Muting Num: 0 Avg: 0 Samples Max: 0 Samples
Skips Num: 0 Avg: 0.0 Samples Max: 0 Samples
Total result 100 points (of 100.0 maximum)

This time the Sony drive did it pretty well with the ABEX 726 test disc. All the errors seems to have been corrected.

- Nero DiscSpeed - Advanced DAE Error Correction Test

Nero DiscSpeed's Error test determines the capability of a optical drive to prevent errors when creating a copy. The test is run in two steps: The 'Create Image' feature first creates an image file of a test disc and saves it on the hard drive. We extracted data from an A-BEX disc in order to create an error-free image file on the hard drive. After this, the 'Run Test' feature reads the data on the ABEX TDC-721R and TCD -726 test discs in order to compare it with the image file.
the same disc.

To run this test we used a standard test disc of the type A-BEX (TCD-714R, TCD-721R, or TCD-726). All A-BEX discs contain the same data (audio data). The reading surface of the various A-BEX discs contains a series of intentional defects of varying severity.

This results makes sense only if you compare the score of two or more drives. Here we don't have any comparison data so we may just comment on the amount of C2 errors and those which were missed. Both these figures were expected to be high since the TCD 721R disc features a very wide artificial scratch on its surface. Hopefully, no sync errors were reported. Synchronization errors occur when data is correct but has been moved by one or more sectors.

The reported C2 accuracy (83.75%) for the Sony drive was determined based on the results of the test.

As we previously saw, the TCD-726 disc was easier for the drive to read and no errors were reported.

- CD-Check Audio Test Disc

CD players have built-in D/A converters that turn the digital data on a CD into analog signal - what we hear as music. Ideally, all the digital data should be converted to the analog format. In reality, many factors cause digital data to be lost and sound reproduction to detoriate.

CD players handle this data loss using a sophisticated error correction system that allows them to recover it. However, when the data loss is greater than a system's recovery ability, some of the signal is lost. It is then that the CD player uses compensation methods such as interpolation, data substitution or signal muting to make this loss as anaudible as possible. However, this results in altered and often distorted sound.

The level of sound distortion depends on the amount of data loss. Initially, music may sound brittle and there may be subtle problems with stereo imaging or dynamics. Over time, disc skipping, clicks, pops in the signal or audible signal muting may result. CD-CHECK contains a special signal (tone), designed for early detection of the most subtle forms of distortion. 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
Sony BWU-500S


A good performance for the Sony drive , as it successfully played the first 4 tracks and also managed to correctly play the fifth track (heavily damaged area) two times.


Generally the drive showed great error correction capabilities even with heavily scratched media, which was mainly unveiled in the CD Check test. The drive successfully read the data of the TCD -726 disc and managed to correct any read errors.

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 Disc Speed. 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.


Surprisingly, the drive had problems reading the first part of the disc, which does not feature and scratches. After the 0.4GB mark, reading was restored to normal and the test was finished without any read errors.


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.


A successful read here.

- 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.

The drive read the disc but had some problems in the L1, around the 6GB mark.


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 adequate, although they could be improved , especially when the drive reads heavily scratched dual layer DVD's.

5. CD/DVD writing 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 Sony BWU-500S v1.63 Blu-ray disc burner.

6. CD-R burning - TDK (Ritek) CD-R 48x

For this test (and for all ensuing tests with CD-R and CD-RW 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

TDK (Ritek) 48x CD-R

- Writing 48x CAV (36.85X average) in 2:45min

- Reading 48X CAV (36.52X average)

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI


Click for large view

The reported digital errors were correctable and Jitter for both Pits and Lands was increased. Generally, a good burn with the TDK (Ritek) CD-R at 48x.

7. CD-R burning - Taiyo Yuden CD-R 48x

- Disc Info

Taiyo Yuden 48x CD-R

- -Writing 48x CAV (36.80X average) in 2:45min


- Reading 48x CAV (36.46X average)

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI


Click for large view

Reflectivity (RTop) was lower than the limits in the beginning of the disc, although the readout was not influenced. The reported digital errors were corrected by the drive's error correction mechanism and jitter pit was slightly increased. The burn should be considered as a good one.

8. CD-RW burning - Verbatim CD-RW 32x

- Disc Info

Verbatim 32x CD-RW

- Writing 48X CAV (21.61X average) in 4:11 min


- Reading 40X CAV (30.51X average)

- Quality

We tried to measure the quality of this burn using the Opti Drive Control utility and the LiteOn iHBS112 BD burner as a reader. Below you see the disc scan at 8X:

The quality of the burn seems to be fine with low C1 and no C2 errors.

9. DVD-R burning - Ricoh (CMCMAG AM3) DVD-R SL 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.

- Media Info (Ricoh DVD-R SL 16x)


- Writing 16X CAV (11.80X average) in 5:43 min


- Reading - 16X (12.01x average)

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

Here we got a marginally low RI14 (reflectivity) signal at the beginning of the disc, which has not resulted to read-out problems of the data. The correctable PI8 error code is also low and the Parity Outer Code Fail (POF) is zero. Jitter was also higher than the limits after the 49mm radius of the disc.

10. DVD-R burning - Verbatim (MCC03RG20) DVD-R SL 16x

- Media Info (Verbatim DVD-R SL 16x)


- Writing - 16X CAV (11.80X average) in 5:42 min


- Reading - 16X CAV (12.03X average)


- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

Click for large view

The only small issue here is the low Beta value reported from the 40mm - 50mm area of the disc. This could be attributed to either the media properties (dye, dye thickness, groove geometry, metal minor layer) or the writing strategy of the drive. PI8 and jitter was low, POF was zero so there are not much to worry about here.

11. DVD-R burning - Ridisc (TTH02) DVD-R SL 16x

- Media Info (Ridisc DVD-R SL 16x)


- Writing - 16X CAV (11.78X average) in 05:42 min

- Reading - 16X CAV(12.02X average)


- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

Click for large view

The writing strategy of the Sony drive with the TTH02 DVD-R disc seems to have not been optimized and the result was high PI8 after the 52mm radius of the disc, which reached the 576 at 56.7mm! POF was also reported at the end of the data area.

12. DVD-R burning - Taiyo Yuden (TYGO3) DVD-R SL 16x

- Media Info (Taiyo Yuden DVD-R SL 16x)


- Writing 16X CAV (11.80X average) in 05:42 min


- Reading - 16X CAV (12.03X average)


- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI


Click for large view

Another great burn here with the Taiyo Yuden DVD-R disc at 16x. PI8 was low and POF was zero.The Beta and I14I14H were marginally lower than the minimum level at the 33.7 ~33.89 mm radius of the disc. The I14I14H signal is linked with the mark recording or even the thickness of the reflective layer of the disc. In any case, this is a minor issue and it had not any influence in the readability of the disc.

13. DVD-RW burning - TDK (CMCW04) DVD-RW 6x

- Media Info (TDK DVD-RW 6x )


- Writing - 6X Z-CLV (5.76X average) in 10:39 min


- Reading - 12X CAV (9.13X average)


- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI


Click for large view

Here the result is not so encouraging, as PI8 was high for some data areas and a POF was also reported. However, this all EDC fail, PIF and POF signals gave a spike at the same 24mm radius of the disc, meaning that it could be caused by a local defect on the disc. Beta and jitter were was also high after the 31mm radius or the 0.5GB mark, where the drive jumped to the 6x recording speed.

14. DVD-R DL burning - Verbatim (MKM03RD30) DVD-R DL 8x

- Media Info (Verbatim DVD-R DL 8X)


- Writing - 8X CAV (16.17X average) in 19:36 min


- Reading - 12X CAV (9.06X average)


- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI


Click for large view

We cannot be very happy with the results here. First of all, the RI14 is low for both layers, which is generally typical for multi-layer discs. The PI8 graph has some spikes in the L0, which also gave some POF. Jitter was also higher than the limits for both layers.

15. DVD+R burning - Philips (INFOME R30) DVD+R 16x

- Media Info (Philips DVD+R SL 16x)

- Writing 16X CAV (11.75X average) in 06:29 min


- Reading 16X CAV (12.01X average)


- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI


Click for large view

A good burn here with low PI8 and no POF.

You may also notice the spike at the ADER (Address in Pre-pit Error Rate) graph. The parameter is considered as for the DVD "+" formats only. These are part of the so-called "closed loop" signals, which are deduced when the optical head follows the track in the same way as during normal data reading. Tracking signals are switched on and the feedback coming from them allows the head to follow the groove.

There is no specification for the ADER parameters. However, practice shows that when all other features of the wobble such wobble amplitude, wobble beat or wobble CNR are within their specifications, the information encoded in the one can always be read correctly. Unfortunately our equipment does not measure these wobble-related features.

16. DVD+R burning - Moser Baer India (MBIPG101R05) DVD+R 16x

- Media Info (Moser Baer India DVD+R SL 16X)


- Writing 16X CAV (11.80X average) in 05:39min

- Reading 16X CAV (12.03X average)


- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI


Click for large view

Another good burn here with the Moser Baer DVD+R disc at 16x.

17. DVD+R burning - Verbatim (MCC004) DVD+R 16x

- Media Info (Verbatim DVD+R SL 16X)


- Writing 16X CAV (11.78X average) in 05:39 min

- Reading 16X CAV (12.03X average)

- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

Click for large view

This is another good burn with the Verbatim DVD+R disc. Beta is low from the beginning of the data area and until the 49mm radius of the disc, unveiling possible minor issues with the media properties or the writing strategy of the drive.

18. DVD+R burning - Datawrite Titanium (PRODISC R04) DVD+R SL 16x

- Media Info (Datawrite Titanium DVD+R SL 16x)

- Writing - 12X (9.18X average) in 07:06 min


- Reading - 16X CAV (12.03X average)


- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

Click for large view

Great results here with the PRODISC R04 DVD+R disc at 12X.

19. DVD+RW burning - Verbatim (MKMA03) DVD+RW 8x

- Media Info (Verbatim DVD+RW 8X)

- Writing 8X Z-CLV (7.50X average) in 7:44 min


- Reading 12X CAV (9.16X average)


- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

Click for large view

The Sony BWU-500S drive burned the Verbatim DVD+RW disc quite well. No POF and low PISum8 were reported, although jitter was higher than the limits for the complete data area.

20. DVD+R DL burning - Verbatim (MKM003) DVD+R DL 8x

- Media Info (Verbatim DVD+R DL 8X)

- Writing - 8X Z-CLV (6.18X average) in 19:34 min


- Reading 12X CAV (9.07X average)


- Writing Quality - iQB OMNI

Click for large view

The PI8 was low although jitter was increased for both layers. No POF was reported and as such, we may consider this as a good burn.

21. DVD-RAM burning - Maxell DVD-RAM 5x, 12x

- Media Info

Maxell DVD-RAM 5x


- Writing 5X CLV (4.92x average) in 11:19 min


- Reading 5X CLV (5.02X average)


- Media Info

Maxell DVD-RAM 12x


- Writing - 12X P-CAV (10.22X average) in 5:51min


- Reading 12X P-CAV (10.29X average)

The Sony BWU-500S DVD burner had not any reading/writing problems with both the Maxell DVD-RAM discs of this test (@5x and @12x)

DVD-RAM is a rewritable format supported by the DVD Forum. A DVD-RAM can be seen as a removable hard drive. However, as any other hard drive the DVD-RAM must be "prepared" (formatted) before the first use. A DVD-RAM disc must be formatted using the UDF (Universal Disk Format). Usually, a 4.7GB DVD-RAM should be formatted using the UDF 1.5 or the UDF 2.0 format.

Notice that in the above tests we showcase the maximum recording speeds supported by the drive with the specific DVD-RAM media. In case you are using your DVD-RAM discs as a removable hard drive through your Windows OS, you may experience slower burning. That because the DVD-RAM format features an automatic verification technology that results to safer but slower recordings.

22. BD-R burning - Panasonic BD-R SL 6x (MEI RA1)

From this page and for the following we start our Blu-ray disc tests with the Sony BWU-500S drive. We remind you that the drive supports 12x BD-R SL and 8x BD-R DL recording with specific media certified for 6x recording. For firmware v1.63, the supported media list includes:

Sony BWU-500S v1.63
Write Speed
Disc Maker
Media speed
Manufacture ID
Disc Type ID
Max write speed 12X
Max write speed 6X
Max write speed 8X
Max write speed 6X

Of course, any other BD discs will be burned at speeds up to 4X.

We also used Erik Deppe' s Opti Drive Control software for testing the writing quality of each recorded BD-R/RE disc. The software could give you an idea of the writing quality of each disc. For BDs, the following parameters are measured:

On a good disc, the average LDC should stay below 13 and BIS should stay below 15, according to the author of the software.

If you are interested in the data recovery methods of the Blu-ray discs, continue reading below. If not, skip the following text and proceed directly to the tests found later on this page :)

Blu-ray Data Recovery Methods: Partial Response - Maximum Likelihood (PRML)

For CD and DVD, the method for data detection was based on a zero crossing point method, using a conventional slicer. Basically, when the analogue signal (output from the optical pick-up) crosses a reference level, it indicates a binary transition. This method has its limitations, notably when the feature size (smallest pit/land) is less than the spot size, the modulation of the light is relatively small (the smaller the pit/spot size ratio the smaller the modulation). Thus, the conventional slicer can create data with non-exact mark/space lengths - otherwise known as jitter, and when this jitter becomes greater than 0.5 of a clock cycle, it becomes a bit error.

For BD, the minimum spot radius ratios are 0.88 and 0.85 of the ratio of DVD. This reduced resolution (low modulation of light by 2T pits) means that it is much more difficult to have effective data detection using a conventional slicer. Boosting the high frequency part of the signal has limited effect because this also increases the InterSymbol Interference (ISI), which is where adjacent pits and lands interfere with each other. This is mainly a problem with the shortest run lengths, particularly those that are smaller than the spot size.

Hence for BD, the Partial Response- Maximum likelihood (PRML) method is used for recovering the data from the signal.

Partial Response (PR) equalization is used to limit the effects of ISI, and then a sequence of bits is evaluated to define the most likely sequence of bits, based upon known allowed sequences. This is the Maximum Likelihood (ML) detection and uses a Viterbi algorithm to determine the ML sequence.

The Blu-Ray disc is more sensitive to burst errors compared to the DVD system. Therefore, the error correction system of Blu-Ray disc should be able to cope well with long burst errors, rather with single (random) errors.

The maximum number of errors that can be corrected depends on the number of parity symbols added. For each two parity symbols added, one error can be corrected. But Blu-Ray uses a more efficient approach to correct the burst errors. It uses a burst indicator mechanism that can detect bursts of errors before the correction starts. The advantage of this method is actually the prior knowledge of the error locations on the decoding process.

These burst indicator used in the Blu-Ray format is called picket code. The pickets are columns that are inserted in between columns of the main data at regular intervals. The main data is protected by a Reed Solomon code, while the pickets are protected by a second independent Reed Solomon code. When decoding (reading), first the picket columns are corrected. The correction information can be used to estimate the location of possible burst errors in the main data.

A BluRay Disc Error Correction Block (ECC Block) can store 64 Kilobytes of user data. This data is protected by the Long Distance Code (LDC) which has 304 code words with 216 information symbols and 32 parity symbols giving a code word of length 248. These code words are interleaved two by two in the vertical direction such that a block if 152 bytes x 469 bytes is formed as shown in the picture above.

A Blu-Ray Disc ECC block contains 4 equally spaced picket columns. The left most picket is formed by the sync pattern at the start of each row. If the sync pattern was not detected properly, that can be an indication for a burst error similar to the knowledge that a symbol of a picket column had to be corrected. The other three pickets are protected by the so-called Burst Indicator Subcode (BIS). The BIS code words are interleaved into three columns of 496 bytes each. Both LDC and BIS codes are decoded by the Reed Solomon decoder.

Reference: BD-ROM Physical Specifications

- Media Info Panasonic BD-R SL for 6x (MEI RA1)

- Writing 12X CAV (8.96Xx average) in 11:39 min

- Quality


This time the average LDC was higher 13. Both the LDC and the BIC rise after the 17.5GB mark of the disc and towards the end of the data area, as the recording speed was also increasing to reach the maximum 12x.

23. BD-R burning - Sony BD-R SL 6x (SONY NN3)

- Media Info Sony BD-R SL 6X (SONY NN3)


- Writing 12X CAV (8.92X average) in 11:31 min


- Quality


The reported average LDC is just 8.25 meaning that this should be a good burn at 12X.

24. BD-R burning - Verbatim BD-R SL 6x LTH (VERBATIMu)

- Media Info Verbatim BD-R SL 6x LTH (VERBATIMu)


- Writing 6X Z-CLV (5.77X average) in 16:36 min

With firmware v1.63 installed, the Sony drive supports burning of BD-R LTH 6x media

- Quality

According to the scan above, LDC was higher than the acceptable limit of 13.

25. BD-R Burning - Moser Baer BD-R SL 6x (MBI R06)

- Media Info Moser Baer BD-R SL for 6x (MBI R06)


- Writing - 6X P-CAV (5.94x average) in 15:53 min


- Reading - 8X CAV (6.08X average)

- Quality

The reported average LDC and BIS are low. All jitter, LDC and BIS parameters gave a sudden spike right at the end of the data area, but as you can see from the graph this had no effect on the readability of the disc.

26. BD-R burning - Verbatim BD-R SL 6x (VERBATIMe)

- Media Info Verbatim BD-R SL 6x (VERBATIMe)


- Writing - 6x (5.58x average) in 17:30min

- Quality

The quality of the Verbatim disc looks good.

27. BD-R burning Verbatim BD-R SL 7.5GB 2x (VERBATIMa)

- Media Info 8cm Verbatim BD-R SL 2x (VERBATIMa)


- Writing 2X CLV (2.01x average) in 13:28 min

- Reading - 5X CAV (4.39X average)


- Quality

28. BD-R DL burning - Panasonic BD-R DL 6X (MEI RB1)

- Media Info Panasonic BD-R DL 6X (MEI RB1)


- Writing 8X Z-CLV (46.39X average) in 31:58 min


- Quality


It seems that the high burning speed has a price here. The quality of the burn is low and we got an average LDC of 51.27.

29. BD-R DL burning - Verbatim BD-R DL 6X (VERBATIMf)

- Media Info VERBATIM BD-R 50GB 6x (VERBATIMf)

- Writing 6x Z-CLV (5.57X average) in 34:47 min


- Reading - 8X (6.08X average)

- Quality

The Opti Drive Control software reported very low LDC and BIS for the specific disc.

30. BD-R DL burning - TDK BD-R DL 4x (TDKBLDRFB)

- Media Info TDK BD-R DL 4x (TDKBLDRFB)

- Writing 4X CLV (4X average) in 46:57 min

- Quality


The quality of the recording looks good, according to the software we used. The average LDC was lower than 4 and BIS was just 0.08.

31. BD-R DL burning - Verbatim BD-R DL 2x (VERBATIMb)

- Media Info Verbatim BD-R DL 2x (VERABTIMb)


- Writing 2X CLV (2.01x average) in 90:56min


- Quality

The reported LDC was higher than the acceptable limit of 13.

32. BD-RE burning - Verbatim BD-RE SL 2X (VERBATIM0)

- Media Info Verbatim BD-RE SL 2X (VERBATIM0)

- Writing 2X CLV (2.00x average) in 45:00min


- Reading 8X CAV (6.01X average)


- Quality

33. BD-RE DL burning - BD-RE DL 2x (VERBATIM1)

- Media Info Verbatim BD-RE DL 2x (VERBATIM1)

- Writing 2X CLV (2.01x average) in 89:57 min

- Quality

Both the LDC and BIS (average) values are low indicating a good burn.

34. BD-RE DL burning TDK BD-RE DL 2X (TDKBLDWfa)

- Media Info TDK BD-RE DL 2X (TDKBLDWfa )


- Writing 2X CLV (2.01x average) in 89:54min

- Quality


The reported average LDC is close to its upper limit (13) but still, it remains at acceptable levels.

35. Summary of DVD, BD quality tests, Overburning, Booktype

In the following table, we have gathered the findings of the DVD and CD quality measurement tests. On the left side of the table, you can find the discs that did not produce uncorrectable digital errors (POF or E32), 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 Uncorrectable digital errors
Ricoh (CMCMAG AM3) burned at 16X. Ridisc (TTH02) burned at 16x
MCC 03RG20 burned at 16x
TYG03 burned at 16X
DVD+R Verbatim MCC 004 burned at 16X.  

Philips (INFOME R30) burned at 16x

Datawrite Titanium (PRODISC R04) burned at 12X  
MBI PG101R05 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 (POF, PI8, jitter)
DVD-RW   TDK (CMCW04) burned at 6x (Pi8, POF)
CD-R Taiyo Yuden 48x CD-R burned at 48x  
TDK (RITEK) 48x CD-R burned at 48x
CD-RW Verbatim 32x CD-RW (US-RW) burned at 24x  

- Blu-ray disc quality

In the following table we have gathered the writing quality results we got with the BD-R/RE media of this test using the Opti Drive Control software. We remind you that for BDs, the following parameters are measured:

On a good disc, the average LDC should stay below 13 and BIS should stay below 15, according to the author of the software.

Media type
average LDC (<13)
average BIS (<15)
Verbatim BD-R SL LTH 6x VERBATIMu burned at 6x
Verbatim BD-R 8cm 2x VERBATIMa 7GB burned at 2x
Verbatim BD-R SL 6x VERBATIMe burned at 6x
Moser Baer India BD-R SL 6x MBI R06 burned at 6x
Sony BD-R SL 6x SONY NN3 burned at 12x
Panasonic BD-R SL 6x MEI RA1 burned at 12x
VERBATIM BD-R DL 6x (VERBATIMf) burned at 6x
Verbatim BD-R DL 2x VERBATIMb burned at 2x
Panasonic BD-R DL (MEI RB1) burned at 8x
TDK BD-R DL 4x (TDKBLDRFB (000)) burned at 4x
Verbatim BD-RE SL 2x VERBATIM0 burned at 2x
Verbatim BD-RE DL 2x VERBATIM1 burned at 2x
TDK BD-RE DL 2x TDKBLDWFA burned at 2x

- Bit Setting

The drive supports the Booktype setting with DVD+R/RDL and +RW discs.

- Overburning

We managed to burn up to 4,482MB of data on a DVD+R SL disc and up to 84:57:05 (+04:57:08) on a 80min CD-R.


36. Final words

The Sony BWU-500S BD is a very fast Blu-ray disc burner that will burn a complete 25GB disc in less than 11 minutes. The drive burned the Sony and Panasonic and BD-R SL discs at 12x fast most importantly, the Opti Drive Control utility indicated that the quality of the specific recordings was good. With BD-R DL discs, the drive will burn the Panasonic BD-R DL disc for 6x recording at 8x. Generally, quality of the BD burnings was high with most of the disc we used in our tests, with some exceptions. We also liked the to see the Sony drive supporting BD-R LTH discs.

When we tested the LiteOn iHBS112 BD burner some time ago, we had identified that the firmware needed some extra tweaking in order the drive to unveil its full potential. Sony's BWU-500S drive - which uses the same Mediatek chip and it is based on the same design - showed a much better behavior, in terms of burning stability with CD and DVD media. The result was a great CD/DVD burner that produces quality burns even at its maximum supported speeds of 48X for CD-R and 16X for DVD, although some extra work in the firmware could be done with the Verbatim MKM03RD30 DVD-R DL discs.

Regarding the reading capabilities 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 met drive's specifications. Most reading processes were nice producing smooth graphs. As far as error correction is concerned, we can say that the drive can handle defective CDs pretty well while there is space for improvement when it comes to reading defected DVDs.

Being compatible with all the optical media formats - CD, DVD and BD, the Sony drive could replace your current CD/ DVD burner and bring the Blu-ray disc experience to your desktop, in terms of both data storage and HD entertainment. A recommended solution if you are thinking of purchasing a fast and reliable BD burner. The drive retails online for less than $150.



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