First, the good news: If you are among the small minority to have purchased a Blu-ray drive, or if you just like keeping tabs on format wars, you'll be happy to know that Sony's dual-layer 50GB discs are headed for U.S. shores. In fact, some of the discs may have already arrived: J&R Music now lists the discs as "in stock" and ready to ship in "one to two business days." Cost per disc: $39.99.
Now, the bad news: a Sony product manager stated last week at an event in Sydney, Australia, that the company's first Blu-ray drive for the PC, the , won't play commercial Blu-ray titles. You're stuck playing just your own recorded content for the time being, thanks to the lack of updated hardware and software. HDCP-compliant graphics cards aren't out yet, and there aren't any retail playback apps for Blu-ray drives that can decrypt HDCP. (An OEM version of WinDVD supposedly can handle HDCP, but it's currently available only as part of the bundle with a Sony laptop.) Add this fact to the list of reasons of why you should hold off buying a next-gen optical drive.