Build Your Own Silent HTPC – Blu-ray, HD DVD and HDTV Combined

Optical Drive – LG GGC-H20L

Silent HTPC Blu-ray HD-DVD DVB-S2

Not all that long ago, PCs were sold with two optical drives – one for DVD playback and one for burning CDs. Back then, while there was a definite will on the manufacturers’ side to combine both functions into a single drive, they still lacked the technology. Today this situation is reversed. Any company theoretically has the technology at its disposal to create a combined HD DVD and Blu-ray drive, but most pick one side to protect company interests and investments while the HD format war drags on. Their rationale seems to be that they will be able to gain some sort of advantage by supporting only one of the technologies. This fails to take the buyers’ wishes into consideration, though, who just want access to the full range of HD video content.

  • Scenario 1 – The buyer installs two optical drives into a computer, one for HD DVD and one for Blu-ray discs, dissolving into a fit of rage after the third bottle of beer because he keeps putting the discs in the wrong drive and had to pay through the nose for those two drives in the first place.
  • Scenario 2 – The buyer initially has “faith” in the superiority of one of the two technologies, dissolving into a fit of rage when he can’t watch his favourite movie in HD because it is only being offered in the other format.
  • Scenario 3 – The buyer can lean back and relax, smiling because he can play back both HD DVD and Blu-ray discs with a single drive. (Feel free to guess which one we prefer.)

LG offers not only one but several optical drives that can handle Blu-ray and HD DVDs. We chose the GGC-H20L which is already selling for less than €300. This drive can also burn standard DVDs of practically any type, but neither of the HD formats. If this is also on your wish list, you will have to spend a little more. The LG GCC-H20L uses the SATA interface and does not require a separate driver. It ships with the Cyberlink PowerDVD software player for playback of HD DVDs and Blu-ray discs.