Review: Sony BWU-100A
Sony Electronics Inc. was kind enough to send us their Blu-ray Disc drive, Sony BWU-100A.
Sony BWU-100A is an internal drive that reads and writes all BD, DVD and CD formats:
- 50 GB BD-R DL, BD-RE DL
- 25 GB BD-R, BD-RE
- 8.5 GB DVD+R DL, DVD-R DL
- 4.7 GB DVD+R, DVD+RW, DVD-R, DVD-RW
- 4.7 GB DVD-RAM
- 700 MB CD-R, CD-RW
With large 25 or 50 GB capacity, Blu-ray discs are an attractive option for many traditional applications like data storage and computer backup. They also open new possibilities such as storing 2 and 4 hours, respectively, of 1080 HD video.
The drive comes with a comprehensive CyberLink software suite that supports Blu-ray and DVD video playback, BD and DVD disc authoring, as well as general disc burning of BD, DVD and CD media.
Sony company logo
Sony Corporation is headquartered in Japan but it is a global company with presence on all continents.
New Sony headquarters, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Sony’s history began during the first year of post-World War II occupation of Japan. In May of 1946, Akio Morita and Masaru Ibuka founded Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo K.K. (Tokyo Telecommunications Engineering Corporation) in Tokyo. The startup capital valued at approximately $4000 was a loan from Morita’s family that ran a sake business for many generations.
By mid-1950s, the company was making and exporting hundreds of thousands of early transistor radios to Europe and North America. In January of 1958, it changed its name to an easier-to-pronounce Sony.
Sony Corporation of America (SONAM), presently known as SCA, was established in the United States in February 1960.
Sony Corporation of America provides the following corporate overview:
Sony Corporation of America, based in New York City, is the U.S. subsidiary of Sony Corporation, headquartered in Tokyo. Sony is a leading manufacturer of audio, video, communications, and information technology products for the consumer and professional markets. Its music, motion picture, television, computer entertainment, and online businesses make Sony one of the most comprehensive entertainment companies in the world. Sony’s principal U.S. businesses include Sony Electronics Inc., Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc., Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc., and a 50% interest in Sony BMG Music Entertainment, one of the largest recorded music companies in the world. Sony recorded consolidated annual sales of approximately $70.3 billion for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2007, and it employs 163,000 people worldwide. Sony’s consolidated sales in the U.S. for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2007 were $18.9 billion.
Learn more about Sony Corporation of America by visiting the company website: http://www.sony.com/SCA/.
Learn more about Sony products at the Sony USA website: http://www.sony.com/.
Sony’s global website is located at http://www.sony.net/.
BD (Blu-ray Disc)
Sony BWU-100A supports reading and writing BD-R and BD-RE, the write-once and rewritable versions of the Blu-ray Disc.
Blu-ray Disc (BD) was developed by the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA), with the first version of it finalized in June of 2002.
The Blu-ray Disc Association is directed by a group of electronics, computer, and entertainment companies, currently including:
- Apple Computer, Inc.
- Dell Inc.
- Hewlett Packard Company
- Hitachi, Ltd.
- LG Electronics Inc.
- Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd.
- Mitsubishi Electric Corporation
- Pioneer Corporation
- Royal Philips Electronics
- Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.
- Sharp Corporation
- Sony Corporation
- Sun Microsystems, Inc.
- TDK Corporation
- Thomson Multimedia
- Twentieth Century Fox
- Walt Disney Pictures
- Warner Bros. Entertainment
Blu-ray media is structurally different from DVD media. The Blu-ray disc consists of a single 1.1 mm thick polycarbonate substrate with a 0.1 mm thick cover layer on the bottom side of the disc, while the DVD disc is made of two 0.6 mm thick substrates. In both cases, two substrates are bonded together by a UV-cured resin adhesive:
DVD vs. Blu-ray disc structure
The larger 25 GB and 50 GB storage capacity of the Blu-ray disc is due to the higher density of pits and tracks on the disc. Unlike previous optical discs, Blu-ray uses a shorter-wavelength, tighter-focused violet laser to read and write pits that are about three times smaller than pits used in DVDs:
CD, DVD and Blu-ray laser beam color and size
CD, DVD and Blu-ray pits and tracks as seen by a scanning electron microscope
Blu-ray disc surface mapped by an atomic force microscope
The following table compares the three current optical disc formats used for video storage: