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ASUS BC-1205PT BD-ROM / DVD-RW / CD-RW combo drive review
Ahh, format wars, how we missed thee. After the infamous battle between VHS and Betamax (which many will argue the inferior technology won, leaving Betamax relegated to little more than a place as a villain in an episode of The Mighty Boosh), the successor to the tried and trusted VHS was conceived with little in the way of argument, with all and sundry welcoming DVD with open arms. Sure, some tried to rock the boat, but at the end of the day DVD had everything required to take over the mantle as the video entertainment format of choice - Improved picture and sound quality, a friendly physical format, and great price and usability. It's for those myriad reasons that we all have at least one DVD player in our home these days, to the point where it's hard to remember buying a new movie release on anything but DVD.
Of course, technology being what it is, things rarely stay still for long, which is why we're now seeing an intensive effort from the movie industry to get us to embrace the world of High Definition. Further improved picture and audio quality together with greater storage capacities on a DVD-sized disc sounds irresistible, particularly with HD-capable LCDs and plasmas gracing more and more homes. But what format to choose? With the various interest groups that make up the optical storage industry divided when it came to creating a new format to succeed DVD, we're now left with a nasty split - On the one hand you have HD-DVD, and on the other sits Blu-Ray. Both have the backing of some big players in both the hardware and movie industries, and both offer their own set of pros and cons. With the lack of dual-format players capable of supporting both HD-DVD and Blu-Ray at present, the public are torn between these two choices, leaving most of us with something of a 'wait and see' approach. After all, you don't want another expensive piece of hardware to join that Betamax player gathering dust in your basement, do you?
However, the purpose of today's review isn't to fret over the current format war, or the advantages and disadvantages of the two standards. For this article, we're going to assume that you've chosen to take the plunge into a world of High Definition video, and that you've already decided upon Sony's Blu-Ray format as your chosen champion. If so, today's offering is a BD-ROM drive courtesy of ASUS capable of bringing Blu-Ray playback to your desktop PC. Sound deliciously tempting? Then read on.