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Let’s Get Optical: Shop CD DVD and Blu-ray Burners

Thanks to the fact that most laptops no longer have a CD DVD drive, it can be surprisingly challenging to play and burn optical media today. That can be a problem for media professionals who might need to distribute files on DVD or for film fans who cherish their library of Blu-ray discs.

The standard solution to this dilemma is an external CD DVD burner and player. These USB peripherals connect to your laptop and do pretty much exactly what you wouldd expect them to do: read and write CDs, DVDs, and possibly Blu-ray discs depending on the model. Most include burning software that is easy to set up and install, and they also offer the option of simply functioning as a DVD or Blu-ray player for viewing optical media.

If you regularly deal with optical formats, keeping a DVD Blu-ray CD burner on hand can save you a lot of hassle. What’s more, these drives are a mature and affordable technology, so it is a smart move to pick one up if you can see yourself needing it at some point.

Choosing a CD DVD Drive

When you are evaluating CD, DVD, and Blu-ray drives, these are some of the most important aspects to keep in mind:

Internal vs. External: Internal DVD drives are made for installation in a desktop PC and typically connect via a SATA interface. External drives, by contrast, are self contained units that connect to a laptop or desktop via USB.

Blu-ray Support: Some CD DVD burners can also read and write BD-R Blu-ray discs. Look for a phrase such as Blu-ray Compatible if you need a DVD writer that can use these formats. Those who need the high density BDXL format should check specifically for BDXL support, as it is not always included alongside traditional Blu-ray.

M-Disc Support: The M-Disc format is a common choice for creating archival records due to its high fidelity and durability. Much as with Blu-ray, look for a callout for M-Disc Support.

Read and Write Speeds: These metrics tell you how quickly your drive can read and write optical media. A higher number means a faster drive, and most models you will see today are at least 8X speed. Faster speeds are most important for users who need to burn a lot of media quickly.

USB Interface: USB 2.0 is still commonplace in DVD drives, and it is sufficient for many users needs when reading and writing optical media. However, if you are looking for the very best performance, look for a USB 3.0 model.

Operating System: Some DVD drives may be compatible only with macOS or Windows operating systems, so check which OS a drive supports before you buy.

Browse all of our CD, DVD, and Blu-ray drive options here — or see our full selection of Blu-ray and DVD players and check out the best options for enjoying optical media in your home.

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