By Martin Vedris

SYDNEY: Sony Australia today announced its second generation internal Blu-ray Disc (BD) writer drive for the computer aftermarket, the BWU200S, with 4X BD-R and 16X DVD+R recording speeds that allow a full 50GB BD-R disc to be recorded in around 45 minutes.

At 4X speed, the new BWU200S model cuts BD-R burning time by half compared to the first generation model (BWU100A).

Sony stated that the BWU200S is one of only a few drives that support both 25GB and 50GB Blu-ray Disc. It also features improved DVD burning speeds at 16X making it a multi-format combo burner that eliminates the need for more than one drive in a system.

The BWU200S can record up to 50GB of data for random access storage and backup on BD-R (write once) or BD-RE (rewritable) discs, or up to 230 minutes of high-definition HDV 1080i video on a BD-R/RE 50GB disc. It also supports recording on standard single layer 4.7GB DVD+R/+RW/RAM discs, 8.5GB DVD+R double/dual layer discs, and CD-R/RWs.

The drive comes with CyberLink BD Solution software that provides a comprehensive application suite for capturing, authoring, editing, burning and viewing high-definition personal content captured in the native HDV 1080i format from an HDV camcorder. In addition, the software supports recording on DVDs and CDs, as well as playback of DVDs recorded in the AVCHD format.

As a bonus for customers purchasing from Australia only, the package also comes with a free 50GB BD-R disc.

The internal drive features a Serial ATA (SATA) interface and standard 5.25-inch form-factor for easy installation inside a desktop PC with Microsoft Windows XP or Windows Vista operating systems. Interface cabling is also supplied.

“As each Blu-ray Disc holds more than 5X the capacity of DVD, consumers and professional videographers alike can enjoy the huge storage capacity to record and experience high-definition video with the BWU200S,” said Vincent Bautista, Product Manager, AV/IT Business Technologies Marketing, Sony Australia.

“As Australian adoption of the Blu-ray Disc format continues to increase, we are seeing this reflected in the demand for Blu-ray Disc drives, as the storage capability is incredibly appealing to those that have large amounts of data to archive.”

Apart from the CyberLink software suite supplied in the box, the new drive is also supported by Adobe Encore CS3 which is bundled within Adobe Premiere Pro CS3 software, providing video production professionals with another option for outputting high-definition video on a Blu-ray Disc with MPEG-2 or H.264 compression. The drive is also supported by the new Sony Vegas Pro 8 software which allows transferring to Blu-ray Disc directly from the timeline. Other software vendors are also expected to add Blu-ray Disc functionality to their offerings.

“Advanced optical storage technologies, such as Blu-ray Disc technology with its vast capacity compared to DVD technology, will be key enablers for next generation PC applications like HD personal video content and high-definition TV recording,” said Wolfgang Schlichting, research director for removable storage at IDC. “Sony’s many innovations in optical storage have prepared the company to be a leader in the Blu-ray Disc writable market.”

The BWU200S drive will be available from the 1 November at RRP $899.00 through, Sony Authorised AV Dealers and IT Distributors nationally.