HD DVD/Blu-ray dual format drive on sale now

This is Buffalo's USB 2.0 take on the Super Multi Blue.

We've heard plenty about the dual-format Super Multi Blue drive for PCs that allows them to play both HD DVD and Blu-ray disks, but have yet to see one of the beasts in action. Nevertheless, Japan has just had a taste of them, albeit from suppliers other than Korean firm LG.

Buffalo and I-O Data have both announced rebadged versions of the drive for sale only in Japan, starting with a read-only model from the former that is on sale now.

In or out?

Each company offers a choice of either external or internal drives, with the read-only version from Buffalo available now at ¥47,000 (£206) for an internal SATA drive, while the external USB 2.0 version costs only slightly more.

At the end of September Buffalo and I-O Data will both start selling drives that add the ability to write Blu-ray disks to the above hardware. BD-RE rewritable disks can be burned at 2x speed and BD-R write-once disks at double that. HD DVD functionality is limited to playback only in both cases and all models can handle DVDs and CDs.

Pricing for the top-end kit starts at ¥63,500 (£279) for the I-O Data SATA model and rises to ¥74,800 (£328) for the Buffalo USB drive. There's no word on availability outside Japan from either company.

J Mark Lytle was an International Editor for TechRadar, based out of Tokyo, who now works as a Script Editor, Consultant at NHK, the Japan Broadcasting Corporation. Writer, multi-platform journalist, all-round editorial and PR consultant with many years' experience as a professional writer, their bylines include CNN, Snap Media and IDG.