Blu-ray might not be supplanting DVD as the preeminent optical storage medium for data and media anytime soon, but it is at least slowly seeing growing market share. Korean-based manufacturer, LG, for one, believes in the future of Blu-ray as it recently unveiled a couple of new Blu-ray-based products, including what LG claims is "the world's first Network Attached Storage device with a built-in Blu-ray
The LG model N4B1 is a four-drive-bay Network Attached Storage (NAS) device that supports up to a total of 4TB of storage. When used with at least three disks, the N4B1 supports RAID 5 and hot-swappable drives. The N4B1 includes a Gigabit Ethernet connection, three USB 2.0 ports, and a memory-card-reader. But what separates the N4B1 from all other current NAS devices is the inclusion of a Blu-ray burner. LG states that the N4B1 is compatible "with all current types of CD, DVD and BD media up to 50GB
." LG didn't provide information on read or write speeds; nor did it provide more detail on the specific formats the N4B1 can write to (for instance, we don't know if the N4B1 can write both DVD+RW and DVD-RW).
The N4B1 includes a "management system
" that generates a "content catalog
" of whatever data is burned to a Blu-ray disc, and it also keeps track of the filenames of files downloaded and saved to the NAS device. LG promotes this feature as a means for "saving business owners and consumers' time and space by not duplicating files
." The N4B1 can be setup to automatically to backup pre-selected folders and files to an optical disk using the N4B1's "Auto Sync
" feature. Also, using the N4B1's "Virtual Disc Library
," the N4B1 permits a mounted optical disc to be accessible to multiple, simultaneous users. The N4B1 is compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems. For those looking to the N4B1 as a possible media server, the device can stream content to networked Blu-ray players.
The other Blu-ray device LC announced was the "compact
" LG BE08. LG states that the BE08 supports both USB and SATA, which leads us to believe that it will be available in both internal and external form factors. The BE08 has an 8x BD write speed (LG claims that the BE08 can burn 25GB of data onto a single-layer Blu-ray disc in 13 minutes). The drive can also write and read DVD+/-RW (16x) and CD-R (40x) discs. During playback, The BE08 can up-convert DVD content to "near-HD levels
;" and it even ships with software that permits the recording of HD content on to Blu-ray discs.
LG also announced the LG GP08 "Slim Line
" portable DVD burner with LightScribe support. The GP08 is USB-powered and can burn DVDs at 20x. LG did not release information on the specific formats that the drive can write and read. As a matter of fact, LG also neglected to mention when any of these three new products will be available or how much they will cost. We have a query into LG, and will update this post once we hear back from LG. One of the bits of info we are looking for is what will be the available storage capacities option for N4B1 NAS device when it comes available in the retail channel.
UPDATE: We heard back from LG, but there isn't that much more to add that we haven't already reported. Pricing for the N4B1 and BE08 have not be set yet, and both products will be available sometime in the "first quarter 2009." The N4B1 will be available in a 4TB "commercial" version and a 2TB "consumer" version. The BE08 will only be available as an external drive. The GP08 is currently available and sells for $109.95.