The LiteOn External Blu-ray Disc Combo is an easy way to add Blu-ray playback to your computer. Its slim, stylish design makes it especially useful for small media centre PCs.
Setup was easy – all we had to do was connect the drive to two USB ports (one for data, one for power) and our test computer was ready to read and write Blu-ray discs.
The drive itself is slim and light enough to carry around, and when connected to a laptop with HDMI out, it makes an excellent portable Blu-ray player that can be connected quickly to a HD TV.
The drive comes with Cyberlink PowerDVD software, which allows playback of 3D Blu-rays. It's a good program with well implemented internet features, turning the LiteOn External Blu-ray Disc Combo into an incredibly versatile device. Its 3D Blu-ray compatibility and the fact that it runs almost completely silently will be big draws for dedicated movie fans.
This drive can also read and write to a huge array of disc formats, including BD-ROM, BD-RE and DVD-RAM, which makes it a great purchase for much more than just home entertainment. When it comes to playing Blu-ray movies, performance is unaffected by the fact that the drive is external, and high definition content looked incredible on our test monitor.
If you're interested in playing full-screen high definition material – especially in 3D – remember that your computer needs enough graphical power to keep everything running smoothly; underpowered computers will lead to stuttering. A fairly recent machine with a dedicated graphics card will have no problem playing back Blu-rays though.
Another thing that's worth noting before you buy is that your monitor must be connected to your PC via either DVI or HDMI, because Blu-ray playback isn't possible over a VGA cable.
Reading and writing Blu-ray discs took slightly longer than with internal drives, but in our eyes the convenience of the external drive makes up for the disparity.
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