Sony will begin selling an after-market Blu-ray Disc drive next month that can be added to existing desktop computers.
The BWU-100A drive supports burning to single and dual-layer BD-R (single use) or BD-RE (rewriteable) discs. A single-layer disc can store up to 25GB of data or about two hours of high-definition video and the dual-layer disc can accommodate double these amounts.
Sony will ship the drive with CyberLink's CyberLink BD Solution burning software. The drive can write at 2X Blu-ray Disc speed, so burning a full 25GB disc takes about 50 minutes, Sony said.
Additionally the drive can burn single layer 4.7GB DVD+/-R/+/-RW/RAM discs, 8.5GB DVD+R Double/Dual Layer Discs, and CDs.
The drive has an ATAPI interface and fits into the standard half-height drive bay that exists in most desktop PCs. Sony recommends minimum computing power of a Pentium III 800MHz or faster processor for data burning. For real-time video authoring and editing, a Pentium IV 1.6GHz or faster is recommended. Mac support and/or requirements haven't yet been revealed.
Sony cautions that additional software and hardware is required for playback of commercial movies on Blu-ray Disc (BD-ROM) but the company didn't specify exactly what is required.
The drive will cost $750 in North America. Sony has not announced pricing or availability for other markets.