Asus adds Blu-ray to driveless devices, brings sound with it

Apple owners know all too well that their beloved Mac computers will never get Blu-ray, especially now that the company is killing off the optical drive altogether, but if you still want one, there’s now an interesting external option.

Asus is this week showing off a gadget geared at people who still like Blu-ray enough to want it play it on their computer, and who might want to burn a few at that.


It’s called the Impresario SBW-S1 Pro, and while it doesn’t exactly have a name that explains anything, what you need to know is that it’s a product aimed at people who like entertainment, consuming and creating.

For the consumption side of things, it’s a Blu-ray reader with a 7.1 channel sound card built inside, all of this accessible over a USB connection, allowing someone with a Mac or Windows computer the ability to watch movies externally — both regular Blu-ray, 3D Blu-ray, and even DVDs — and bringing that optical drive back to computers that have seen it removed.

Software is included for Windows computers, though Mac owners will need to find their own Blu-ray playback software, as none is included in the box.


Setup appears to be a wee bit fiddly on the Mac side of things too, and while the manual will provide some of the help, be aware that you’re going to need to dive into Apple’s audio drivers if you want to play with this, setting up the two, four, six, and eight channels of sound depending how many speakers are plugged in, or even just a pair of headphones.

When that’s done, however, you’ll be able to control volume on the computer using the manual volume knob, which is a neat inclusion.


There’s also a bit in the SBW-S1 Pro for those who create content, rather than solely consuming it.

In this situation, you’ll find the Asus Blu-ray player burns Blu-ray discs up to 6X, providing as much as 128GB of storage in a single burn, though of course, you’ll want to bring your own discs, and these aren’t terribly cheap.


Pricing on the Asus SBW-S1 Pro comes in at $279, however, and you’ll find this one in computer stores across the country shortly.