Optical discs, also known as optical storage or optical media, are devices in which large amounts of data can be stored on the surface of a film that is attached to a thin platter made of plastic.
The discs, which are written and read using an optical drive, come in many different formats; the latest and most advanced of which, is blu-ray. Blu-ray discs are 4.7” in diameter, and depending on how many layers of storage material they contain, can store up to 128GB of data on a single disc (Source).
These devices work by using a laser to cut microscopic pits into the surface of a storage film. At a lower power setting, the same laser is used to read the data by reflecting a beam of light off of the disc, and onto a read sensor located within the drive.
Blu-ray has become the defacto standard for storing and distributing information on discs due to its high data throughput, large storage densities, low cost, and high reliability over time (Source).
Before purchasing a Blu-ray drive, consider the speed, cost, and reliability. You should also consider if it supports additional formats, such as DVD and CD, and whether it has the ability to write discs in addition to reading them.
In this review, we’ll examine the top-rated Blu-ray drives. All of the drives in this article are excellent options, whether you are archiving large amounts of data or just wanting to watch blu-ray movies with the family on your home theater PC.
What is a Blu Ray Drive?
Table of Contents
- 1 What is a Blu Ray Drive?
- 2 Comparing The Best Internal Blu Ray Drives
- 3 1. LG Electronics 14x SATA Blu-ray Internal Rewriter – Best Overall
- 4 2. ASUS Computer International Direct Blu-Ray Writer BW-16D1HT Drive – The Best Disc Encryption Blu Ray Drive
- 5 3. Pioneer Electronics Internal Blu-Ray Writer (BDR-2209 / BDR-209UBK) – The Best Internal Blu Ray Drive Under $100
- 6 4. MCE Technologies internal Blu-ray Drive Burner Writer Player – The Best Blu Ray Internal Disc for Apple MacBooks
- 7 5. Panasonic Laptop Internal UJ-272 UJ272 9.5 mm SATA 6X 3D Blu-ray Burner – The Best Internal Blu Ray Drive for Laptops
- 8 Why Do You Need a Blu Ray Drive When You Can Stream Online?
- 9 Can You Play a Blu Ray Disc in a DVD Drive?
- 10 Is Blu Ray Obsolete?
- 11 Things You Need to Know Before Choosing an Internal Blu Ray Drive
- 12 Ready To Buy The Best Internal Blu Ray Drives?
A Blu ray drive is a reader and writer system designed for Blu ray format discs. To understand it better, you need to know what Blu ray is. In the early 2000s, HDTVs were gaining popularity, and it seemed inevitable that these entertainment systems were going to take over standard television sets.
So, there was a need to develop a disc format that would be able to run high-definition media files without storage problems. It was needed as DVDs were not able to store a large amount of data. As a solution, Blu ray discs were invented, which were read and written using blue lasers.
These lasers have a very short wavelength, thus making it easier to write more data on discs. As a result, Blu ray discs were born, giving consumers more freedom and convenience to watch their favorite movies or play HD games. And the device used for running these Blu ray discs is called a Blu ray burner or drive or player.
Comparing The Best Internal Blu Ray Drives
1. LG Electronics 14x SATA Blu-ray Internal Rewriter – Best Overall
With regards to versatility, the product is compatible with a greater range of optical discs, including Blu ray, DVD+R, RW DVD-RAM and RW DVD-R. With such flexibility, you can easily decide on which disc format to use for each application or task.
One of the things that set this product apart from its competitors is its data protection feature. Additionally, the drive supports M-DISC. Rather than using conventional organic dye, this rewriter is designed to use a rock-like patent recording surface to etch the data onto the disc. This technology has been proven to be superior to the one used on traditional DVDs today.
This LG rewriter employs Silent Play technology. This goes a long way in reducing the noise produced by the drive during playback. The innovative technology enables the blu ray drive to recognize various multimedia.
By so doing, the product is able to regulate its playback speeds for optimal performance, whilst maintaining a silent play experience. With the Power BD-DVD 3D ver software, this product allows you to convert 2D videos to 3D.
- Compatible with multiple optical disc types
- Delivers a silent play experience
- Features a 4 Mb buffer memory
- Compatible with Windows XP, Vista, 7 and 10
- Features a SATA interface
- Offers a max BD-R Writing Speed of 14x
- Enhanced data protection
- Supports M-DISC
- Does not come with installation software
2. ASUS Computer International Direct Blu-Ray Writer BW-16D1HT Drive – The Best Disc Encryption Blu Ray Drive
To begin with, a high burning quality is assured with this drive. This may be attributed to its innovative OTS technology that delivers the best burning quality you can think of.
Additionally, this technology enhances the burning success rate and gives users a high quality as well as fast operation. You will also the ease of use of this disc, allowing you to successfully burn your disks in three simple steps. The intuitive burning interface of this product also allows you to use a Drag-and-Burn Functionality, which makes it even simpler.
- Features Green Focus Energy saving technology
- Offers M-DISC support
- Supports BDXL
- Offers 16X ultra fast blu ray writing speed
- Delivers exceptional writing quality
- Features a simple 3-step Drag-and-Burn functionality
- You get Unlimited Web storage by Asus for 12 months
- Does not come with a SATA cable and installation software
3. Pioneer Electronics Internal Blu-Ray Writer (BDR-2209 / BDR-209UBK) – The Best Internal Blu Ray Drive Under $100
With this 5.25-inch SATA internal blu ray drive, you will be able to do much more than watch high-definition movies. For instance, you will be able to burn data onto blu ray discs at high speeds and with a comparatively high success rate. Additionally, the product allows you to create archive discs for data backup. You will also find this pioneer product great at playing 3D movies. With regards to versatility, the drive is also compatible with CDs and DVDs.
- Up to 16x writing speed on BD-R media
- Up to 14x writing speed on Dual Layer BD-R media
- Can play 3D movies
- Supports CDs and DVDs
- Supports an array of optical disc types
- Features QuickPlay Technology
- Allows you to write up to 50 GB onto a single BD-R DL disc
- Not very durable
4. MCE Technologies internal Blu-ray Drive Burner Writer Player – The Best Blu Ray Internal Disc for Apple MacBooks
Having been designed for Apple PCs, this product is a perfect replacement for the 8X SuperDrive that comes with these computers. Basically, this product will give you exceptional writing, recording and player performance at an optimal speed of 8x.
With this product, you do not need to improvise; it will fit into the same screw holes that the previous drive was using. You will also love the fact that this product is comparatively easy to install. With regards to OS compatibility, this MCE drive may be used on Mac OS 10.5 all the way to OS 10.12 (Sierra).
The effectiveness of this product is further enhanced by the Mac Blu-ray Player Software. Unlike the other blu ray drives reviewed above, this one comes with its installation software in one package.
- Sold with installation software in one package
- Compatible with Mac OS X 10.5 through 10.12 (Sierra)
- Best High Definition Blu-ray Movie experience
- Perfect replacement for the drive that comes with Mac PCs
- Can burn up to 100GB on BD-XL TL discs
- The drive is bootable
- Can play and record DVDs and CDs
- May not be used on Windows Operating systems.
5. Panasonic Laptop Internal UJ-272 UJ272 9.5 mm SATA 6X 3D Blu-ray Burner – The Best Internal Blu Ray Drive for Laptops
The SATA interface, along with precise dimensions (measures 128 mm x 9.5 mm x 129 mm) allows it to fit perfectly. In this regard, the product is comparatively easy to install.
As opposed to its predecessor, model UJ-262, the current UJ-272 model is more versatile. The product features upgrades that allow it to support various discs, including BD-RE XL 100GB and 128GB, as well as BD-R XL 100GB. Still on the flexibility aspect, this is one of the products that may be used on Windows and Mac operating systems.
In this regard, it is compatible with Windows 98SE through Win 8. Additionally, the drive may be used on Mac OS 8.6 and higher.
- Compatible with both Windows and Mac operating systems
- Supports an array of optical disc types
- Can read and write CD, DVD and Blu ray discs
- Delivers speeds of up to 6x
- May be used to write data and movies
- Comparatively low write and read speed
Why Do You Need a Blu Ray Drive When You Can Stream Online?
Streaming services might be quite fascinating, nowadays, but they still require a couple of resources to utilize conveniently. Above all, it will need a high-speed and constant internet connection.
Furthermore, the recurring and costly charges of data plans may make it hard for everyone to manage to watch their favorite media. That is why you are going to need a Blu Ray drive or player for entertainment.
Blu Ray drives are still popular among enthusiasts, who want to have a good time enjoying movies and other media files on their home theater systems.
Even though optical media is in decline, it may still last for at least five more years to give you an incredible experience for your home entertainment. Blu ray drives have the power to read and write data in high definition so that you can enjoy it without the need to go online.
As more data is storable on Blu Ray discs, they are suitable for watching high-definition movies without interruptions from a poor internet connection.
Can You Play a Blu Ray Disc in a DVD Drive?
No, you cannot play Blu Ray formats in DVD players, as the latter is not designed to read so much data, comprising of audio and video, all at once.
Another reason for a Blu Ray disc not working on a DVD drive is because of the small size of the holes in which the data is stored. The optical laser on a DVD player, which is red, is unable to read data through these holes. You can only read the data on such discs with a blue laser due to its shorter wavelength.
However, you can play a DVD on a Blu Ray drive or player. If you still want to play a Blu Ray media file on a DVD player, then you will need to use software to convert it to a DVD compatible format.
But, this is not recommended, as it ruins the quality of the audio and video file. The best way to view Blu Ray media is through a Blu Ray drive or player only.
Is Blu Ray Obsolete?
Not completely. Old versions of Blu Ray formats might have gone obsolete. But, it is gradually being replaced by more powerful versions of Blu Ray discs. Such discs can store even more data. Such Blu Ray drives can run and play ultra HD Blu Ray contents.
You can choose the latest internal Blu Ray drives and players even to play 4K resolution content on your ultra HDTVs.
Things You Need to Know Before Choosing an Internal Blu Ray Drive
With an increasing number of computer users relying on Cloud storage, you may be tempted to think that a good internal disc drive is not essential.
If you are looking for the best performance with high-definition movies on your computer, you should consider investing in one of the best internal Blu-Ray drives available today.
Like many other users across the globe, you may be willing to upgrade the DVD drive in your computer, but do not know which is the best one.
Choosing the right internal disk drive for your computer may not be as easy as you may think. This is mainly because there are numerous products to choose from. Modern blu ray internal drives are, without a doubt some of the best options today.
If you are looking for the best internal blu ray disk, here are some of the aspects you should consider:
There is not point of buying a product that is not compatible with your computer, right? Well a disc drive may be fast, visually appealing and affordable, but simply not compatible with your computer hardware or software.
As such, it is advisable to check whether your preferred drive is compatible with your PC. To begin with, the internal drive you opt for should be compatible with the operating system installed in your PC.
If you are a gamer, we recommend you to check the list of top rated gaming PC that is compatible with blue ray drive
This should not be a problem as most of the leading blu ray brands manufacture products that are compatible with multiple OS platforms. However, some of the products available today are specifically designed for specific operating systems.
For instance, Blu Ray drives meant for use in Mac will not work in Windows operating systems. To know whether the drive is compatible with your computer, you need to check its specifications before making the purchase.
What can the Blu ray drive do? This is something many computer users tend to overlook while shopping for the best blu ray drive.
What you need to note, in this regard, is that blu ray drives are not exclusively designed to write and read blu ray disks. Therefore, your preferred product should be capable of handling other functionalities as well.
For instance, your preferred dist should be able to read and write dual layer, single layer and quad-layer disks.
Additionally, you should consider getting a drive that accepts CDs and DVDs as well. With such a product, you will be able to read and write virtually any type of disc on your computer.
3. Supported Surround Sound Formats
Exceptional video and sound quality are some of the reasons why an increasing number of consumers today are upgrading to internal blu ray drives. However, you need to check the sound formats supported by your preferred unit.
Basically, you should consider buying a product that supports surround-sound formats, such as DTS-HD Master and Dolby TrueHD audio formats. Unfortunately, not all the blu ray internal drives available today support such formats.
This may appear to be insignificant, but a drive that supports these formats will give you the best surround sound experience. With regards to surround-sound formats support, these are some of the aspects you need to check:
- Bitstream Output
Blu ray internal drives that use this mechanism are some of the best today. Such drives are designed to send the undecoded audio bits, as they appear on the blu ray disc, through an HDMI to the receiver. By so doing, the drive allows the receiver to decode the surround sound format internally, hence giving out the best sound quality possible.
- Internal Decoding
As opposed to bitstream drives discussed above, other blu ray internal drives feature an internal decoder. The internal decoder chip will decode the DTS-HD or TrueHD surround sound formats before sending it to the receiver. As such, the output may either be in HDMI or PCM formats.
While using a blu ray player to enjoy the movies on your external devices, you can use the best computer speakers for amazing sound.
If you use blue want to enjoy the movies with your family using Blu ray player to your external device (e.g. HDTV, Home Theater, AV Receiver, etc.)
Ready To Buy The Best Internal Blu Ray Drives?
Just as the case with many other computer components, choosing the right blu ray burner for your PC is not an easy task. As you may be aware, there are many technicalities at play.
While blu ray internal drives are some of the best today, do you know which of them is ideal for your computer? Well, this does not have to be a daunting task.
If you own a modern laptop, that might not support DVD drives or comes with very limited SSD storage. In that case, you need an external HDD. You can check our step by step guide on “How To Move Files From SSD To HDD“.
This guide will take you through the various things you need to consider while shopping for the best internal blu ray drive.
john arponen says
nice article and thanks but i do like to ask for details for m-disk support and write speed for each drive that would be perfect before ordering from amazon.uk
Iftekhar Bhuiyan says
From my personal experience, I honestly think LG WH16NS40 is a better option over WH14NS40, not only because it is the newer model but also for faster write speed. Panasonic UJ272 is also a great drive for laptop or supported desktop cases as well. I own both of them and they served really well so far. Thank you.