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As expected, Pioneer Electronics, a leading maker of consumer electronics, on Wednesday unveiled its Blu-ray disc read only memory (BD ROM) optical drive for personal computers, which will go on sale next month and will cost $299 in retail.

The Pioneer BDC-2202 drive can playback, read, record and re-write DVDs (12x speed for DVD±R, 6x for DVD±RW, 4x for DVD±R DL) as well as playback and read single- and dual-layer Blu-ray discs (5x for BD-ROM and BD-R/-RE, 2x for BD-R DL/-RE DL), it also can playback and record CDs. It is unclear whether the new drive is meant for outdated Parallel ATA or contemporary Serial ATA interface. In order to playback high definition movies from Blu-ray discs, end-users will also need a graphics card and an output device (monitor, TV-set, etc.) that support HDCP copyright protection technology.

“With the BDC-2202, computer savvy consumers are now privy to what was previously only available to professional users. In addition to maintaining the same benefits of current optical disc drives, the included software means users can now enjoy their favorite Blu-ray disc movies as well as their own personal disc creations,” said Andy Parsons, senior vice president at Pioneer Electronics USA.

Currently Pioneer BDC-2202/BDC-202 is the most affordable new-generation optical disc drive intended for personal computers. Previously released Blu-ray disc drives may cost up to $1000, whereas some external HD DVD ROM drives available in retail may cost $600 - $700. While end-users may also get external HD DVD player for Xbox 360 that costs $199, which works with Windows XP-based PCs as well, they will only be able to watch movies on it.

Pioneer BDC-2202 will be available to consumers beginning next month for a suggested price of $299.

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