Pioneer Just Made A New Optical Disc Drive For PCs And Yes It's 2022

Pioneer Blu-ray Drive
I haven't purchased an optical disc drive (ODD) for my PC since...actually, I don't even recall the last time I bought one. It's even been a minute since I owned a PC with a 5.25-inch drive bay to stick one into. Pioneer, like the honey badger, doesn't give two flips and has released a new 5.25-inch optical disc drive anyway. Wondering why?

Physical media isn't quite dead, whether we're talking about CDs, DVDs, or Blu-ray discs, all of which Pioneer's new BDR-213JBK can read from and write to (incidentally, the last ODD I wrote about was another Pioneer model released in 2017). And as it pertains to writable Blu-ray discs, the new drive boasts high-speed 16x recording performance to single-layer BD-R discs (25GB). It can also record to 2-layer BD-R (50GB) at 14x speed, 3-layer BD-R XL (100GB) at 8x speed, and 4-layer BD-R XL (128GB) at 6x speed.

Planning to burn DVDs or CDs? It can write to single-layer DVD-R (4.7GB) at 16x speed and CDs at up to 48x speed. Regardless of the media type, Pioneer touts a "disc resonance stabilizer" to reduce errors from bending at the edge of the disc, which tends to happen at faster rotations.

"By attaching a protrusion to the position where the disc bends due to resonance, the gap through which the wind that occurs when the disc rotates is narrowed, and the wind suppresses the deflection of the disc, reducing errors. The "disk resonance stabilizer" realizes stable writing and reading with high accuracy in all three resonance patterns generated during drive operation," Pioneer explains (via Google translation).

Pioneer also talks about a feature called Pure Read 3, which it says can help the drive overcome scratches and dust on audio CDs to keep the music playback going. And aesthetically, Pioneer points to a "textured hairline finish," which when you get up in age like an ODD, it's nice to still have any kind of hairline at all.

Will this find any buyers, though? Well, sure. Just look to the latest generation game consoles (PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X), both of which employ a Blu-ray drive (unlike the PS5 Digital and Xbox Series S). If it's good enough for consoles, it's good enough for PCs, right?

Pioneer thinks so, and says the uptick in working from home has created a bigger need to store large amounts data. As such, "the demand for optical discs and optical drives is expected to increase," the company says. We'll see.

The BDR-213JBK Blu-ray burner is available in Japan for what converts to around $150 in US currency.