The Pioneer BDR-212UBK. Is It the Best for Burning BD-XL TL (100 gig) M Discs Right Now?

Hello, Friends,

The Pioneer BDR-212UBK was recommended for burning 100 gigs of data onto Blu-ray M Archival Blanks. I needed your advice if my information is solid and correct. And, if someone had some sort of equipment to run tests on the burners, that would be awesome.

My Goals

  1. My foremost goal for now is to reliably burn 100 gigs worth of data onto Verbatim M-Archival blanks. I need to backup about 1-2 TB of my family videos and photos! They are truly priceless.

  2. A secondary goal although nowhere as important is to play UHD 4k Movies. This is secondary because it seems like all players are having problems playing this format. You need to have an upgraded computer that’s just right. I just hope that when the manufacturers work out all the bugs, the player I am going to pick will be one of the ones that are able to play these 4k movies but that would be the roll of the dice.

A few questions I had.

  1. What are the best places to purchase?

  2. Is this the best burner/player for my situation?

  3. From what I can tell, the accompanying software for all these players stink. I was intending to just burn data onto the blank disks with imageburn and play them with something like PotPlayer. Is that good enough or do you have another suggestion?

Can you help a fellow out and tell me if I did enough research? Thank you, everyone.

I think you’ll need a BDR-212UBK (newest model) for 4k UHD movies to work.

Newegg and ebay are alternatives to Amazon.

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Thanks for the suggestion. I’ll check it out!

Thanks for the advice. You were totally correct; only the latest models reads UHD 4k movies.

Reading as much as I can, it seems that the 3 products that are competing at this level are:

  1. Pioneer BDR-212UBK
  2. Asus BW-16D1HT
  3. LG WH16NS60

Reading as much as I can, it seems that none of the 3 make it easy to watch 4k UHD. They all seem to have issues. I’m speculating here that the difficulty is stemming from either the movie industry or native 4k UHD technology comes with some difficulties. But I don’t really care about watching true 4k UHD anyway. I’m guessing it’s going to take at least like 5 years for native 4k UHD movies to be widespread. Only like 4 movies were in native 4k UHD last year.

A major issue was the ability to burn M archival quality discs at 100 gigs. Both the Asus and LG could only burn M-discs at DVD SL (25 gigs). That’s why they are so much cheaper at $80 and $100 respectively. Took me forever to figure this out. LG really tried to hide this fact and also implied that it could actually burn M discs on blu-rays. Very shady.

The Pioneer BDR-212UBK is a lot more expensive at $140 and up but I think it’s worth it since it can burn M discs at 100 gigs. It’s a huge difference from 25 gigs.

*I wonder when M discs double-sided blu-rays will come out (200 gigs). Anybody know a general timeline? It would make backing up data twice as fast!

i am a novice too. but i noted that all models manufactured by pioneer are in this page. you can compare the prices too:
https://www.pioneerelectronics.com/PUSA/Computer/Computer+Drives

regarding UHD playback, you might want to look at this page:
https://www.dvd-cloner.com/knowledge/uhd-friendly-drive-list_377.html
https://www.makemkv.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=16832

i am in no way affiliated to any of the above companies.

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Anniyan,

Thank you for your recommended links!

I already examined the manufacturer’s page. The manufacturer’s page is one of the first sources I rely on to create my comparison spreadsheet to figure out the best model. The info provided is usually correct. I was surprised to find out that a manufacturer’s page is not always correct and even intentionally tweaked with wrong information. I guess that the lure of profits is stronger than the fear of the FTC and the threat of a class action lawsuit.

The process of finding the best model is so frustrating. How many product-comparison websites listed on Google are just fake shill sites for companies? How many websites are paid off by companies to get to the top of the website’s recommended list? It’s so frustrating. Then, you have the retailers contributing by further screwing with the data.

Anni, thanks a lot for the latter 2 links! Totally grateful. I didn’t know that about UHD-friendly drives vs modern UHD drives. I don’t know if I would get the UHD-friendly drives though because it seems like a big pain in the butt and you have to use an older computer which will make your whole system slower. Even if I was a student, I would pay the extra $70 and pay about $150 rather than $70 (and downgrade the firmware myself) or pay $130 for a company like CA to flash it for you. It would take so long and so much effort. Just a waste of time.

I pretty much decided on getting the Pioneer if anybody doesn’t present me with additional info that changes my mind. The main reason is the M-Disc capability. The LG and Asus can’t write M-Discs that large. The entire goal of a backup is that it must work when you need it or you’ll be screwed. If you ever lost a backup that you needed, it’s extremely painful and destroys productivity for weeks. It’s not worth it to play around. I guess you can make 2 or even 3 backup discs with regular blu-ray discs but that sounds annoying if you have to back up 1-2 TB of stuff every year.

I can’t play the UHD 4k movies because of the minimum requirements of the computer equipment. But, I figure that UHD 4k movies aren’t going to come out in mass for another few years. By that time, I hope I will be able to upgrade my equipment.

Thanks for all helpful info!

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Well the Pioneer support page provides media support list (PDF file) for their specific drives:

https://pioneer.jp/device_e/product-e/ibs/device_e/dev00003r_e.html

Firmware upgrades as well:

https://pioneer.jp/device_e/product-e/ibs/device_e/dev00001r_e.html

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Thanks for the links. I think it would be very helpful as it will provide a hint for where to look for compatible discs. It doesn’t seem though to provide info on M-discs.

Where did you get that from, that ASUS cannot burn M-disc at more than 25 GBs? IMO it is not true at all. ASUS BW-16D1HT should be able to burn ANY M-disc of ANY size… In fact, M-disc blu-ray discs are not really different from standard HTL BD-Rs are they? They both are based on INORGANIC material, unlike DVDs… A lot of people here will tell you the same.

Tommik,

I would have doubted the Asus BW-16D1HT could burn M-Discs at any size since it’s an older model. But, as proof, you can easily look up the specs on this unit on the Asus website:
https://www.asus.com/us/Optical-Drives-Storage/BW16D1HT/specifications/

You can see that the Asus BW-16D1HT can only burn at 2 settings:

  1. DVD+R (SL, M-DISC): 4X (4.7 gigs)

  2. BD-R (SL, M-DISC): 4X (25 gigs)

With respect to your 2nd claim that M-Discs are not really different than standard HTL Blu-ray Discs, I would definitely have to disagree with you. The M-Discs are definitely much more resistant to scratching and even rough handling. First proof comes from own personal experience. I don’t know if you handle a lot of regular blu-ray discs, but I’ve found that if they are not handled carefully, after a while, they actually stop reading when you can see slight scratches. (By the way, toothpaste does indeed work seem to work.) I own a few hundred CDs, DVDs, and Blu-ray discs. CDs used to be troublesome. DVDs were less so and blu-rays appears to be even lesser. But, I’ve have blu-rays that look pretty much fine when you look at them with the naked eye but they can’t be read after a while. And, that’s a very scary proposition if you want to store data on these discs that are supposed to last forever. This is why I definitely would choose M-Discs or another brand that is archival quality. My second reason is one person’s informal test below that demonstrates how much more resilient M-Discs are than to regular discs.
http://www.microscopy-uk.org.uk/mag/indexmag.html?http://www.microscopy-uk.org.uk/mag/artsep16/mol-mdisc-review.html

So, my experiences with regular blu-ray discs combined with this website leads to the conclusion that M-Discs are indeed different and one should use them to store my precious home videos of my kids.

Conclusion
I think you’ve got some wrong info on the older Asus BW-16D1HT. The Pioneer BDR-212UBK seems to be the only one that can currently burn M-Discs at 100 gigs.

Well, the ASUS BW-16D1HT has been out for many years and I am pretty sure the new versions are based on slighty different parts (LG based right?) and updated firmware. If you search for this model you will find it even bundled with BD-R DL M-Discs and such. And generally Verbatim claims that for instance BDXL M-Discs are basically supported by BDXL burners in general. Personally I don’t use M-Discs so I cannot prove that, but I still think the ASUS should be capable of burning any M-Disc. Someone can confirm this from his own experience?

It is possible that M-Discs have better surface quality being more scratch resistant and such. But since I store all my BD-Rs precisely in slim jewel cases packed inside black plastic bags and storage boxes, I am not worried about such things. And you should not store your optical media in anything that allows the contact with the surface anyway. Since the price difference is quite high, HTL 25 GB BD-Rs by Verbatim are just the right option for me. Still the fundamental improvement over DVD+/-Rs as for the quality of the archival material.

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I reread my response and I sounded a little critical rather than in the nature of sharing information. Sorry about that. I was totally just trying to share info and not necessarily prove you wrong.

I think but not sure that the ASUS BW-16D1HT is the only blu-ray player they sell. I don’t know if their new versions are based on new parts. If I was Asus, I would never do that because you are selling yourself short. People think the player is only capable of this, but it’s capable of more. Why wouldn’t Asus just make a model number to indicate the upgraded capabilities?

Are the price differences really high between regular vs M-Disc?

I just checked. As of today, 2020/9/21, a DVD-R SL M-Disc is 2/disc while a DVD-R SL is .25/disc. That’s a huge difference.

I then looked up prices at blu ray 100 gigs. To back up my 1 TB of home videos, it will cost about $11 to back up 100 gigs. So, it will cost about $110 to back up 1 TB with M-Disc vs $60 to back up 1 TB with non-M-Disc. I only did a superficial check but it’s not so bad.

$110 to save 1 TB of your most precious memories?

It’s costly…

i am a novice. i am looking to buy a blu-ray burner too. i was initially confused with the myriad of choices. but from what i researched on the internet, there are some things i found (feel-free to correct me if i am wrong):
there are 3 types of drives based on UHD-capability:

  1. UHD-incapable
  2. UHD-official
  3. UHD-friendly

type 1 is self-explanatory and the cheapest in price. type-2 can play UHD discs but not rip them; they are costlier due to UHD-playing feature. type-3 can play and rip UHD discs, but they are not officially manufactured - they are made capable, by flashing the firmware unofficially (either downgrading or crossflashing, etc.,) of (some, not all) UHD-incapable drives or (some, not all) UHD-official drives. but the downside of this is that it voids the warranty by the company and/or can brick the drive if not done correctly.

so, my preference (but that is just mine), is to get (the cheaper) UHD-incapable drive and get it flashed to make it UHD-friendly. and the flashing can be done by someone who is well-versed with it, for a small fee. this is just for future-proofness, coz i currently have no UHD discs. :stuck_out_tongue:

pioneer drives make the best burns, but unfortunately, they cannot be flashed to be UHD-friendly. if UHD-ripping is not your need, you can buy a pioneer drive.

please let me know if you have decided on a particular model, so that it would help me too.

PS. i dont gain any money by recommending anything, coz i am affiliated to no one.

Hi,

I’m not going to explain everything because you don’t really need to know. For example, you were referring to the fact that there are drives that you can flash to a earlier version because companies didn’t want you to break the DRM (UHD friendly). Some websites actually sell those because you can end up bricking your player by flashing to an earlier version. Don’t bother with those. Those were from a few years ago and it’s not necessary to waste your time and money anymore. They cost the same as UHD capable so why bother getting it, no?

The Asus BW-16D1HT has been out for a while now and it was the best Blu-ray player on the market. It was a pain to get it to read UHD though; you had to make sure you bought it with the earlier firmware. (By the way, UHD and 4k mean exactly the same thing. The industry couldn’t get their act together and just agree to use the same terminology. Some say UHD 4k. UHD. 4K. They are all the same.) The Asus is what you are referring to UHD friendly. I wouldn’t get it though because to buy it non-bricked, it’ll cost about $130 by a third party ($80 if you want to do it yourself but why waste the time?).

The 2 burners below are $90 and $150.

Now there are 2 new burners on the market that can actually read UHD. Pioneer BDR-212UBK and the LG WH16NS60. UNFORTUNATELY, you need a recent computer to make it read UHD. You can use it to play regular Blu-rays (1080p) but you need recent hardware to get it to work with UHD unlike the Asus. This isn’t some shenanigans I think by the companies. You just simply need stronger hardware. This is what you need:

For the LG, you need at mininum (doesn’t have to be exactly this):
UHD System Requirements are listed as an Intel 7th Gen. Kabylake Core i3 or higher CPU, an Intel HD Graphics 630 or higher GPU, an Intel SGX* / HDMI 2.0a / HDCP* 2.2 & 1.4 Support Chipset, a minimum of 6GB of RAM, and a UHD (3,840 x 2,160 pixel) Resolution / HDMI 2.0a (HDR*) / HDCP* 2.2 & 1.4 Support Display. If your AMD CPU and GPU have the same specifications, you can still use the drive with it.

For the Pioneer, you need slightly better specs:
Requirements for 4k Ultra HD Blu-ray
System: Windows10
CPU: 7th generation Intel® Core™ i7/i5 processor
GPU: Intel® HD Graphics 630 (Internal GPU for 7th generation processor)
Memory: 6GB minimum
Motherboard: Intel® SGX(Software Guard Extensions) support Intel® 200 series motherboard, HDCP 2.2/HDMI 2.0a output compatible, Intel® internal GPU output compatible
Display: HDMI 2.0a and HDCP 2.2 compatible, 4K display (3840 x 2160 minimum display resolution), HDR compatible (Incompatible display reproduces HDR contents with HDR>SDR format.)

I got a souped up computer 2 years ago and it barely doesn’t meet the above specs. I have a capable CPU, memory, and integrated graphics BUT the motherboard is HDCP 2.1 (instead of 2.2) and my monitor is HDCP 2.1 (instead of 2.2). I barely missed it. If I probably bought my computer a few months later, I would have been ok. I still bought the Pioneer though last month. I can’t watch UHD but I can still play it without the monitor if I get a new motherboard. It’s not that expensive but I’m not that computer handy so it’s going to probably take me a whole Saturday and Sunday to unplug everything off my motherboard and put on another $100 motherboard on. Sadly, I won’t be able to see the UHD quality though because I still have to buy a 4k monitor which is HDCP 2.2. I guess I’ll just wait to get a new motherboard until I get enough money to buy a new monitor. I don’t want to spend something like $500-$1400 for a capable monitor right now.

If you don’t have the money to spend, you can buy the Asus but then you’re always stuck with a slow computer because the Asus only works with a older computer which will be slower. I don’t think it’s worth it then. Also, it can only burn single layer M discs. That’s something I wouldn’t want. It’s not worth the 4k. I’d rather have a much faster computer than 4k when 1080p is pretty decent. I love 4k though but in life, you have to compromise sometimes.

The real purpose why I purchased a burner though is to burn M-Discs . These are blu-ray discs that last MUCH longer than regular blu-rays. They legitimately last hundreds of years vs perhaps years for a regular blu-ray. There are a lot of fakes out there but get a legitimate Verbatim M-Disc to back up your data. TY is another good brand but they don’t sell 100 gig discs. The Pioneer player can burn the largest M-Discs. The LG can burn up to 4.7 gigs while the Pioneer can burn up to 100 gigs. The LG though is $90 vs $150 which may sway your decision. Supposedly, M-Discs are going to come out with 200 gig discs in the future which I hope the Pioneer can handle. Cross my fingers.

Good luck!

Yes, you are correct. If you buy official UHD drive like that from Pioneer you will NOT be able to rip the movies.

No, you need UHD-friendly drive and then downgrade the firmware. UHD-incapable = no UHD movies…

https://www.makemkv.com/forum/viewtopic.php?style=11&f=16&t=19634
https://www.dvdfab.cn/4k-uhd-drives.htm

Hey Tom,

Are you sure about the info with respect to the Pioneer not being able to rip the movies? I have no clue but I thought ripping (removing the DRM and then copying the movie) is based on the software, not the hardware. For example, are you saying that a program like MakeMKV can’t rip a 4k movie with the Pioneer drive even if the motherboard is HDCP 2.2 and the HDMI is 2.2?

If you have that Pioneer you can try. But it should not be possible. “UHD friendly” drives are all based on some sort of exploit in firmware which Pioneer did not have, aren’t they?

I don’t think that’s how it works. The Pioneer has the ability to read Blu-ray discs and so just ripping them (removing the DRM so you can make up a backup copy) is completely possible. That data is sent to the motherboard and the motherboard forwards the data to the CPU.

The UHD friendly drives are just old drives that were able to read any Blu-ray discs, regular HD or 4k. The Asus, for example, was capable of reading 4k discs years ago but a firmware a few years ago prevented that. This is just a money grab by the industry. Previously, before 4k became prevalent, they didn’t care if drives could read 4k or not because there were no 4k discs at all. But, as 4k discs sales are starting to explode so I guess they are forcing players and other devices to pay for the privilege to play 4k content. I would think this is fraud by the industry. If you bought a device like the Asus that can play 4k, how could they take the ability away from you? Unless it specifically says on the box that 4k content cannot be played and you need to get another device to ensure 4k content, then I think the firmware upgrade that prevents 4k capability is completely illegal.

I am also guessing that Asus doesn’t want neither fight nor pay for the privilege of playing 4k because despite the explosion of sales, 4k content is still very far from being prevalent. So, a firmware upgrade preventing 4k content from being played is not a big deal I guess. But, you can downgrade the firmware and 4k can be viewed and ripped, although you risk bricking the player.

But, I agree. What is the big deal anyway? Current 4k content is not “true” 4k content anyway. Movies aren’t filmed in 4k. So, 4k Blu-ray discs are merely movies that have been expertly upscaled. This is why there are so many classics among the sudden explosion of 4k Blu-ray discs. There was no way those classics were filmed in 4k but they are just upscaling it, repackaging it, and selling it to hardcore fans. I understand. It’s a lot of money. I just think that you sold the ability to play 4k content but not you are taking that ability away. They know it’s not right and it isn’t right.

If I ever have time to try ripping it with my Pioneer or I know if someone did, I’ll let you know. But, what I said seems to all make sense.