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New OWC external Blu-ray recorder reads HD-DVD, too

OWC introduces new external Blu-ray recorder.

OWC

Sony released a new internal Blu-ray recorder, the BWU-300S, a while ago. But if your computer doesn't have an empty bay to take it, you'll appreciate what Other World Computing announced Wednesday: an all new external Blu-ray recorder, called Mercury Pro, that features all four interfaces, including FireWire 800, FireWire 400, USB 2.0, and eSATA.

The new OWC Mercury Pro drive supports 4x Blu-ray write speed (or 150MB per second). At this speed it can finish a single-layer Blu-ray disc (25GB) in 30 minutes or a double-layer disc (50GB) in an hour. While this is only half the write speed of the Sony internal drive, the new OWC Mercury Pro is still twice the speed of its predecessor and for now rated the fastest external Blu-ray recorder.

The drive is compatible with both PCs and Macs, and OWC says it's been tested with third-party recording/playing software, including Apple iTunes, EMC Retrospect Express, NTI DragonBurn, Roxio Toast, Roxio Easy Media Creator, and Nero Burning ROM.

The new OWC Mercury Pro supports reading and recording virtually all optical media, including Blu-ray, DVD-RAM, DVD-R/W, DVD+R/W, and CD-R/W. It also reads HD DVDs, which the Sony BWU-300S can't. This is rather significant as there are still a lot of HD DVD movies on the market, though the format war ended at the beginning of the year.

The new OWC Mercury Pro Blu-ray drive comes in two models: the SW-5583 and the SW-5583T, which cost $499.99 and $579.99, respectively. They are identical and come with all connections' cables plus starter media, with one exception. The SW-5583T also comes with a full retail version of Roxio Toast 9 Titanium for Mac OS X.