Asus SBC-04DIS-U Slim External Blu Ray Reader

Packaging and looks

Packaging is an odd mix. Whilst it is bordering on professional on the outside, I think the packaging looks an little cluttered. At least it features a decent image of the drive on the outside though.
box front  box read
Moving onto the insides of the box, we see that as usual, Asus have packaged up the drive very tightly. With foam inserts and a compartment for the wiring, the protection is topped off with a covering over the drive itself.
box inside
All in all then, Asus have done a decent job of packaging up the drive, if it might possibly look a little lack-lustre on the shelves of a retailer.
Several things really strike you when you first open up that box. Firstly the drive really is a stylish object. Gloss black with a cross on it (for the LED lighting), the drive wouldn't look out of place sitting next to any modern HTPC setup. Secondly, the drive really is as slim as Asus advertise it and is worthy of it's title.
asus br drive front  asus br drive rear
Above you can see the sleek front styling.
asus br drive front  asus br drive comparison
The drive looks nice from the front too, with a silver bezel for the eject button. Notice the Blu Ray disc logo proudly displayed on the front. Above also you can see I've grabbed an old LG drive to compare sizes. Excuse my finger marks on the drive, but it's worth illustrating a slight downfall of the glossy surface!
drive lit up  drive open lit up
After plugging in, the cross on the front of the drive lights up. Whilst this isn't hugely bright it does become a little disconcerting in a darkened room when watching a movie. Luckily, as we'll see, Asus thought of that. Notice I'm using the stand provided to keep the drive upright. There are rubber feet to allow you to lay it flat too.
All in all then, Asus have provided a great looking, very slim Blu Ray drive you can carry around easily and not be embarrassed to take out and sit next to your stylish Vaio laptop.
Asus have provided you with what you need to get going in the SBC-04DIS-U and not a huge amount more.
We have:
* Mini USB to 2 x USB cable
* SBC-04DIS-U driver and software disc
* Quick install guide
* Gloss black drive stand
Whilst the bundled software does include Cyberlink PowerDVD software, it perhaps would have been nice to see a cheap bundled Blu Ray included to get your collection started, especially at the £150 RRP Asus are asking for the player. 
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Most Recent Comments

02-09-2009, 17:26:58

Outrageous !

Have to be fair, they're taking quite a micky on the pricing of this unit. Whilst I can understand the styling and that it's probably aimed at those who either have a laptop/netbook without, or media center that's currently dvd only, - look stylish - but even so £150.

I'd have to look at a BR-ROM/DVDRW being in the region of £50 and a caddie/adapter being £20?? ish max/min. It's £80 or so worth of style, and as u say, probably lacking in the bundle department - although it'd probably be contract based. But having said that, there are some awesome BBC documentaries, atleast, that would show-off the capabilities. Other than that, if it was a BR-RAM.. it would turn it into an awesome piece of kit.

I look at the construction and I'm thinking a laptop drive in a fancy caddie.

I don't know that an audio connector would work in same way either. For a pc, many of them have atleast coax inputs, I know not many laptops do.

I dunno, good reviewage, but it's a big spend for not so much imo. Could be so much better for the same price I feel.Quote

02-09-2009, 17:55:07

Not sure what you mean about audio connector matey? Using the drive as a laptop addition you'd only be benefitting from the HD video and have to sacrifice the audio imo

If you look at laptop Blu Ray drives, the cheapest around is £120ish I believe (linky), so that ups the price somewhat. However, I do agree (and it's reflected in the conclusion), that the price is too much. Around £100 would most likely be a fairer price for a stylish 'lifestyle' device that plays Blu Ray.Quote

02-09-2009, 18:09:21

I was thinking about something as simple as a pin pass-thru for the hd audio pins u get on bare units. Pins to a phono socket or something. Could just be a jack, and supply u with a jack->phono lead.

Bit confusing perhaps cos the player I was thinking of for £50 or so is like a pioneer regular pc one, not a laptop one. But that's taking all the looks out of the equation and just being practical I guess.

Laptop ones are still quite expensive, so u can see their expense in that department, and keeping in with their slim design, only a laptop one would suffice.Quote

02-09-2009, 18:36:32

Soz mate you've lost me. Currently the only thing that passes HD audio (bitstream) is an HDMI socket or the dual USB interface on this drive.

An AV receiver can decode HD audio and send it out via an analogue connection (RCA out), but the HD audio has to be decoded by the Amp first and usually this is used to pass to a power Amp in a Pre-Power Amp situation with high end audio to power high end audiophile speakers. A PS3 or Blu Ray player (or one of these link link two cards) can decode HD audio then pass 6 channels (5.1), out using uncompressed linear PCM via Digital Optical or Digital Coaxial.Quote

03-09-2009, 05:25:41

Yeah on that drive, but the units essentially have the ability (although not wired up in most cases) to have the pins available ala the drive I got:

With these, similar to oldfashioned ide drives and their audio outputs, u can tap into these sources to channel a socket that a user can use for a decoder or whatever.

Generally, units since the adoption of SATA, have not put the headers for these onto the pcb and u'll just get a SATA & Power ports. Even tho the solder points are there.

As I mentioned tho, this would be an alternative build as ASUS have gone down the latop-in-a-caddie approach.Quote

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