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Writable Blu-ray BD-R Drives

A writable Blu-ray BD-R drive allows you to both read and write Blu-ray discs. Blu-ray is a high-definition disc format used primarily for video. The format allows users to encode more information than the DVD format on an identically-sized disc. Unlike DVD discs, Blu-ray discs support high definition video with more pixels and more colour shades as well as up to eight channels of lossless audio. This is possible because while DVDs are read using a red laser, Blu-ray discs are read with a blue laser, hence the name. Disc manufacturers can therefore write data onto the disc more densely. A single-layer Blu-ray disc contains space for 25 gigabytes of data, compared to 4.7 gigabytes on a single-layer DVD.

Writable Blu-ray Drives

Most ordinary CD, DVD and Blu-ray drives are read-only. This means that while they are capable of reading Blu-ray discs, they cannot write new ones. There are also combo drives, which are capable of reading Blu-ray discs but only writing to DVD and CD formats. If you want to write to Blu-ray discs as well as read them, you will need a drive capable of doing so. Blu-ray burners allow you to store large amounts of data on Blu-ray discs, but are typically more expensive than drives that are only capable of writing Blu-rays. An internal drive fits into your computer’s body, while an external drive is a separate device that can be plugged into your computer using a USB cable.

Formats

Blu-ray is no longer a single format, and not all drives will be capable of writing all formats. Almost all Blu-ray burners will be capable of writing to the most common Blu-ray disc types, which are the 25 gigabyte single layer and the 50 gigabyte double layer. However, in 2010, the Blu-ray XL format was released, capable of storing 100 gigabytes of data on a rewritable disc. In 2016, the Blu-ray Disc Association launched the Ultra HD Blu-ray format, designed for even higher data density in order to take better advantage of the increasingly popular 4K UHD standard. Not only are these discs not compatible with standard Blu-ray burners, they cannot even be read by regular Blu-ray players. Dedicated Ultra HD Blu-ray burners are very uncommon as most desktop computers are not compatible with the format.

Other Formats

While Blu-ray discs offer an impressive amount of storage compared to the older DVD format, not everyone needs to be able to write them. Many users will be able to manage perfectly well with a readable DVD-RW drive capable of reading DVDs and CDs.

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