Ultra HD Blu-rays are slowly making their way out into the world, and are probably a good way to watch 4K content, assuming you can cobble together the gear to play them back. Pioneer’s new UHD Blu-ray drives for PCs should help, as the first drives that can play back UHD Blu-rays to computers. UHD Blu-ray players are still really scare for home theaters, consisting mainly of Sony’s recently announced X800 standalone player and Microsoft’s Xbox One S, but it’s still nice to have the option on PCs.
Or, some computers anyway. Turns out that to play back 4K content, you’ll need some hefty specs, to the tune of one of Intel’s latest Core i5 or Core i7 Kaby Lake processors, a minimum 6GB of RAM, and a 4K capable HDMI2.0a port. That’s of course in addition to a similarly HDMI2.0a-equipped 4K monitor to actually output the content on.
The drives are the first two Ultra HD Blu-ray readers for PCs on the market, and come in two slightly different versions: the BDR-S11J-BK and BDR-S11J-X models, with the BDR-S11J-X serving as a higher-end, quieter version that Pioneer claims offers improved audio quality when playing back CDs.
Pioneer should be releasing the drives at the end of February in Japan, but no pricing or US release information has been announced yet.