Against the flow of time and reason, Pioneer has launched a brand new optical disc drive.
Pioneer's newest optical disc drive does more than just play Blu-rays, but will be able to burn large capacity discs as well. According to its Japanese website (via Tom's Hardware (opens in new tab)), the BDR-213JBK (opens in new tab) supports 16x speed recording on single and double layer BD-R discs (up to 50GB) and 14x speed recording on triple and quadruple layer BDR- XL discs (up to 128GB). This means you'll be able to burn 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray discs at a decent speed.
For any confused youngsters who've found their way to this page: back in the day, PCs used optical disc drives that we used to install PC games, burn our dope-ass playlists onto CDs, and even watch DVDs. The Pioneer BDR-213JBK is hoping to find a place inside your PC once again so we can get back to ripping old anime DVDs onto our hard drives.
This ODD supports over 20 different disc formats from CD-RW to BD-R QL, which means you should be able to play any CD, DVD, or Blu-ray from your collection you've got tucked away in the attic. It even has a feature called PowerRead that claims it'll let you play any disc smoothly, even if it's dirty or scratched.
Pioneer says "the demand for optical discs and optical drives is expected to increase," thanks to what it says is the "spread of telework" and the rising need to store large amounts of data of work data and recording meeting calls. Though if Pioneer's argument is that workplaces are using more physical storage, why not just stick with external SSDs or even tinier USB thumb drives?
We started seeing prebuilt gaming PCs phase out optical disc drives a little over 10 years ago as download speeds got faster, hard drives got bigger, and folks were opting for digital versions of games as platforms like Steam got more popular. Music streaming services also became more prominent, eliminating the need for burning our own mixtapes. So, maybe Pioneer knows something we don't. I applaud the optimism, though.
Right now, the Pioneer BDR-213JBK is only available for sale in Japan for roughly $150, which isn't as expensive as we thought it would be. Similar 12x recording drives like this usually cost around $120 so if you were looking for a way to digitize your Blu-ray collection, this might be something you should consider if it ever comes stateside.