If Blu-ray Disc beats HD-DVD in the battle of high-definition optical storage, you will need something to play Blu-ray Discs on. The Pioneer BDC-S02 is a decent solution, offering Blu-ray playback on a standard DVD drive.

It's not surprising that Blu-ray has become one of the most sought-after technologies in the IT world. With up to 50GB of space, its potential for storing huge video files (among other things) makes it a must-have for movie enthusiasts.

The price of purchasing a Blu-ray drive for your PC is currently eye-wateringly prohibitive. But there is another way, and the Pioneer BDC-S02 offers facilities similar to those on a standard DVD writer – with the additional bonus of Blu-ray playback. The Pioneer BDC-S02 can't record to Blu-Ray media, but you can use the drive to view high-definition movies.

Of course, when we say that the Pioneer BDC-S02's facilities are similar to those on a standard DVD writer, we do mean quite an old one.

With DVD-R/+R topping out at 12-speed, and the double-layer alternatives stuck at a rather miserable quad-speed, the Pioneer BDC-S02 isn't the fastest of drives.

But this is to miss the point. These speeds are enough for many users, and you get the ability to play Blu-ray. Provided, that is, you have a good PC. And you'll need to check you have the right screen and setup. Another thing you need to check before you buy the Pioneer BDC-S02 is that it comes with software – buy an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) version and you might regret it later.

More reviews: Lite-On LH-2B1S Blu-ray Disc drive, LG GGW-H10N Blu-ray, HD-DVD combo drive and LG GBW-H10N Blu-ray Disc drive.

Pioneer BDC-S02: Specs

  • Sata interface
  • Blu-Ray/DVD/CD drive
  • CyberLink Suite
  • 1-year warranty
  • Sata interface
  • Blu-Ray/DVD/CD drive
  • CyberLink Suite
  • 1-year warranty

OUR VERDICT

Provided you have the right setup, the Pioneer BDC-S02 will make a good job of Blu-ray movie playback. But even given the significant savings over buying a Blu-ray writer, this is still an expensive proposition.

Visit the PC Advisor Community Zone – a new location on PCAdvisor.co.uk designed to help readers get the most from PCs, gadgets and business tools.

Find the best price