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Home > Hardware Reviews > Optical Storage > DVD Recorders Double Layer

Thursday, June 29, 2006
Pioneer BDR-101A Blu-Ray Drive Preview

1. The Drive

The following pages are a brief preview, which will give you an idea of how the first and highly anticipated Blu-Ray drive from Pioneer performs in basic writing and reading tasks. The Pioneer BDR-101A supports the reading and writing of both write-once (BD-R) and rewritable (BD-RE) single-layer Blu-ray discs at the 2X speed, which translates to a data transfer rate of 72Mbps. Single-layer Blu-ray discs provide up to 25GB storage capacity on a single-sided disc.

The BDR-101A was designed for professional users, providing authoring facilities to perform pre-mastering of commercial BD releases in preparation for replication. However, it is also suited for advanced storage - typically demanded by high definition broadcast and video content.

The drive promises the optimum combination of performance and storage capacity. For example, to record a film of 135 minutes at a high definition (HD) bit-rate of 19.4Mbps, you’d typically require 19.6GB of storage space – equivalent to around 4 single-layer DVDs – whereas a single Blu-ray disc can easily accommodate the movie and a range of interactive extras.

- Features

Highlight features of the BDR-101A include reading and writing on DVD and BD, using a pickup equipped with the newly developed BD/DVD compatible lens, which realises high-speed recording at a maximum speed of 2X on BD-R/RE 2X speed media. The drive will read BD-ROM and DVD-ROM discs, and read or write on DVD-R/+R, DVD-RW/+RW and Dual/Double-Layer DVD-R/+R discs.

- Specifications

Write Support
BD BD-R, BD-RE (single layer)
DVD DVD-R/DVD+R (4.7Gbytes single layer), DVD-R/DVD+R (dual/double layer), DVD-RW/DVD+RW
Read Support



DVD-ROM, DVD-R/DVD+R (single & double layer), DVD-RW, DVD+RW

Write Speed
BD-R 2x, 1x
BD-RE 2x, 1x
DVD+/-R 8x, 6x, 4x, 2x, 1x
DVD - RW 4x, 2x, 1x
DVD + RW 4x, 3.3x, 2.4x
DVD + R (Double Layer) 2.4x
DVD - R (Double Layer) 2x
Read Speed
BD-R Max 2x CAV
BD-RE Max 2x CAV
DVD-ROM (Single) Max 8x CAV
DVD-ROM (Dual) Max 6x CAV
ATAPI Interface ATAPI device (ATA-5 & SFF-8090 Ver 5)
IDE Data Transfer Mode

PIO Mode 4, Multi Word DMA Mode 2, Ultra DMA Mode 2, and Ultra DMA Mode 4 (Ultra DMA 66)

Audio Interface Analog Audio Output
Other Specifications
Data Buffer BD (8 Mb), DVD (2Mb)
Mounting Orientation Horizontal and Vertical
Dimensions (mm) 148mm x 42.3mm x 198mm
Weight 1.1 kg, 2.42 lbs

The Pioneer BDR-101A uses an 8MB buffer for BD and a 2MB buffer for DVD content.

Below are the main specs as given by NeroInfoTool and DVDInfoPro:

The drive is compliant with the AACS interim specifications.

- The Drive

The BDR-101A comes bundled with a copy of Roxio DigitalMedia LE v7 software, which provides professional facilities for performing testing and evaluation of commercial BD releases in preparation for replication. Roxio components will also enable image to disc recording, saving of BD disc images and data transfer for file backup on Blu-ray media.

We do not recommend removing the drive's cover, since this will void the manufacturer's warranty, especially when the drive costs around $1000. You can take a look inside the drive with the pictures below. Click on the image below for a larger and more detailed photograph.

The drive is powered by the Pioneer PD5912A chipset.

- Installation

The device was connected to our test PC and was identified as "PIONEER BD-RW BDR-101A" under Win XP. The drive came with firmware version 1.01 installed, which at the time of this preview was the latest available.

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