Are There Blu-ray Disc Recorders?

Why finding a Blu-ray Disc recorder is so difficult

Blu-ray helps consumers enjoy high-definition video and audio in a disc-based format that enhances the home theater experience. Manufacturers initially envisioned both Blu-ray playback and recording capabilities. However, Blu-ray recorders never materialized in the U.S. for consumers. Here's a look at why.

JVC SR-HD1700US and SR-HD1350US Blu-ray Disc Recorders
JVC

No Consumer Blu-ray Recorders in the U.S.

There are two main reasons why consumer Blu-ray Disc recorders didn't emerge in the U.S. market. First, manufacturers were concerned that the growing popularity of services like TiVo and other DVR-type options would limit the competitive success of Blu-ray recorders. This concern seems particularly prescient in light of the modern-day ubiquitousness of internet streaming.

Perhaps more importantly, manufacturers were worried about copyright violations and piracy. Allowing consumers to record high-definition copies of copyrighted content seemed unwise, with the potential to decrease commercial Blu-ray content sales.

What About DVR Recording?

Despite recording limitations, DVR use grew common, particularly with regard to cable and satellite providers' set-top boxes. DVD recorders gained some traction but are relatively scarce today.

Still, manufacturers put copy-protection measures in place to prevent consumers from recording content to disc-based formats, such as DVD or Blu-ray.

What Types of Blu-ray Disc Recorders Are Available?

There are minimal Blu-ray recorder options in the U.S., including JVC's prosumer Blu-ray Disc recorders. TASCAM offered a professional model, but it has since been discontinued in North America.

These units don't allow users to connect an antenna or cable box, don't provide onboard HD TV tuners, and don't have component (red, green, and blue) or HDMI inputs for recording high-definition TV, cable, or satellite content.

Prosumer Blu-ray Disc recorders in the U.S. usually connect using digital AV inputs (firewire or USB) or compatible files on a memory card that are not copy-protected, such as from digital cameras and camcorders.

If you're interested in finding a professional or prosumer Blu-ray Disc recorder, here are some options for North America:

  • JVC SR-HD1350US
  • JVC SR-HD1700US
  • Tascam BD-R2000: Discontinued in North, Central, and South America, but you may find one used or on clearance.
  • JVC SR-HD2700US: This Blu-ray Disc recorder includes an HDMI input, but it can't be used to record from HD cable or satellite boxes, DVRs, or Blu-ray Disc players due to the presence of HDCP copy-protection. The HDMI input can only be used to record from non-copy-protected sources, such as portable or studio HD camcorders or video cameras.

Blu-ray Disc Recording Formats

The two types of Blu-ray recording formats are:

  • BD-R: A record-once disc, similar in concept to a DVD-R, DVD+R, or CD-R.
  • BD-RE: A rewritable disc that can be erased, edited, and reused multiple times, similar in concept to a DVD-RW, DVD+RW, DVD-RAM, or CD-RW.

Additional Factors to Consider

Here are a few things to consider before copying media to Blu-ray:

  • Blu-ray discs that you create can be played only on a Blu-ray Disc player or recorder. Blu-ray Disc recorders can also play commercial Blu-ray discs and DVDs, while select units may be able to play CDs. Blu-ray Disc recorders can't play Ultra HD Blu-ray discs.
  • If you copy a VHS tape onto a Blu-ray disc, the result will still look like VHS. The same goes for DVD copies.
  • The same copy protection rules for DVD recorders apply to Blu-ray Disc recorders. You can only make copies of home-recorded VHS tapes and DVDs. You can't make copies of most commercial VHS tapes or DVD movies.