Adding high-definition video-playing capability to a PC is easy with the ASUS BC-1205PT. As well as being a multi-format DVD burner, it can also play back Blu-ray movies and read Blu-ray data discs.
- Multi-format DVD burner, Blu-ray playback, relatively quiet operation
- Slow-rated burn speed for double-layer DVDs, the supplied software had to be patched before it would play Blu-ray movies
Those of you looking for a new DVD burner with Blu-ray playback will be pleased with this drive. It exceeded our expectations in many of our tests and it was a fairly inconspicuous operator. We just wish it had a faster-rated speed for burning double-layer DVDs.
Price$ 349.00 (AUD)
It features a Serial ATA interface, so it can help alleviate some of the clutter in your case if you're upgrading from an older parallel ATA DVD burner, and it isn't an overly expensive piece of gear. In fact, it costs $349 (at the time of writing), which is competitive for a Blu-ray player. It's an ideal device for a regular PC or a home-theatre PC.
For playing back Blu-ray movies and DVDs, as well as burning DVDs and CDs, the drive ships with CyberLink BD Solution, which works under Windows Vista, but requires a patch to be installed for PowerDVD 7.2 before Blu-ray movies can be watched. We used the drive on a 32-bit Windows Vista-based system with an NVIDIA GeForce 8500 GT-based graphics card and a 27in Samsung monitor with a native resolution of 1920x1200.
With this graphics card, the drive couldn't play back Blu-ray movies due to the graphics card not having an HDCP-capable DVI port. Once we switched to an ATI Radeon HD 2900 XT-based card, we were able to watch movies without any more annoyances.
The drive's DVD writing speeds aren't as fast as the speeds of a dedicated DVD burner, but its performance in this area was reliable. It burnt 4GB worth of files in 7min 14sec, at its maximum capable rate of 12x, which is exactly what we were expecting, and it read back the same data in 7min 07sec, which is a few seconds quicker than what we expected. We used Laser-branded media for our single-layer burn tests and the drive handled it without any issues.
Double-layer Verbatim-branded media was burnt at the drive's maximum burn speed of 4x, with which it took 26min 07sec to burn 8GB of data. This result is fractionally better than what we were expecting and ensured that the drive lived up to expectations in this area. However, it's disappointing that the drive doesn't support a faster double-layer burn speed than 4x, which is well under the maximum speed that stand-alone DVD burners can achieve for double-layer discs (18x). It's also much slower than Pioneer's BDC-S02BK drive, which supports a double-layer write speed of 12x.
Reading our burnt, double-layer discs wasn't an issue for the drive; it accomplished this task in only 17min 35sec, which is faster than we were expecting. Verbatim-branded Blu-ray data discs were also read without any qualms, and quite quickly (much quicker than what the Pioneer BDR-202BK could muster). Indeed, it took 27min 41sec to transfer 23GB of data from Blu-ray discs filled with music files. It was also able to read data from BD-RE discs, although music streamed off these discs was prone to stuttering.
As for the drive's physical operation, it's relatively quiet and we didn't notice any excessive vibration with the drive installed in an Antec P190 case, even when transferring data off CDs.
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