Need External DVD Drive

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Texas_Toast, Jun 20, 2017.

  1. Texas_Toast macrumors 6502

    Texas_Toast

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2016
    Location:
    Texas
    #1
    I want to be able to watch DVD movies on the Retina MBP I bought last fall 2016.

    Was going to buy an Apple Super Drive this morning, and after reading online reviews, I am scared!!

    Sounds like a lot of people have trouble with the Supper Drive...

    Can someone recommend a safer solution?

    BTW, right now I just want a way to watch DVD movies I buy at a used record store. However, it might be nice to be able to watch Blu-Ray movies or possibly use the DVD drive to "burn" CDs and DVDs.

    I have been happy with Apple products, but maybe the Super Drive is a bad purchase idea?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Fishrrman macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #2
    I wouldn't buy an Apple external SuperDrive.

    Instead, buy something "3rd-party".

    I've got a Samsung USB CD/DVD/Bluray burner that's been a great performer. It needs only one USB connection (some burners need TWO USB ports so that they get sufficient "bus power"), I don't recall having had "a bad burn" yet.

    You might also consider something with "M-DISC" support. Ordinary CDs and DVDs are "dye based". The laser tweaks the dye, which is subject to fading over time (kind of the same way old color photographs can fade). M-DISCs use a "mineral-based" layer and don't fade. They have a much longer lifetime (if you want to store data for the long term).

    The Samsung drive I've got is a "506" model.
    Cost a bit more, but as I mentioned above, excellent service.
     
  3. ImBuz macrumors regular

    ImBuz

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    #3
    Hmmm--My apple drives has worked a treat for me--just sayin
     
  4. Texas_Toast thread starter macrumors 6502

    Texas_Toast

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    #4
    Thanks for the suggestion. It looks like that external DVD drive is no longer made.

    What do you think about any of these choices...

    https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/buy/Optical-Drives-Burners/ci/13277/N/3832759801

    Would any of those be as good or better than your recommendation?
     
  5. campyguy macrumors 68030

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    Mar 21, 2014
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    Portland / Seattle
    #5
    I have the Pioneer BDR-XD05B, it's a sweet unit and I'd buy it again - Plug and Play (or Burn!). My SuperDrive hasn't been used since I bought the Pioneer.
     
  6. Texas_Toast thread starter macrumors 6502

    Texas_Toast

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    #7
    The reviews I read on B&H make it sound like it is not plug and play. People say you need software to watch movies.

    As mentioned in my OP, I mainly want an easy and reliable way to watch DVD movies on my new Retina.

    Maybe someday I will try a BlueRay or want to burn music or data to a DVD, but mainly I need an easy way to watch movies I buy at the local used movie and music shop.

    Sounds like maybe your Pioneer isn't the best choice?
     
  7. Fishrrman macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #8
    OP wrote:
    "The reviews I read on B&H make it sound like it is not plug and play. People say you need software to watch movies."

    Well of course one "needs software" to watch movies.
    You're going to need some kind of software no matter WHICH drive you get (including Apple's).

    For movies and DVDs, "VLC" works fine, and it's free.

    Either of these drives look to be a good choice:
    https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1086416-REG/pioneer_bdr_xd05b_external_blu_ray_dvr_drive.html

    https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1101404-REG/pioneer_bdr_xd05s_bdr_xd055_6x_slim_portable.html

    Both cost about what the Apple drive would cost, BUT, both offer not only CD/DVD reading/burning but Bluray as well.
     
  8. campyguy macrumors 68030

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    Mar 21, 2014
    Location:
    Portland / Seattle
    #9
    I've watched several movies, no additional software. My GF has the same player, no BR disks and she uses VLC for playback. I will check to see if one of my applications installed an enabler/extension. I did read your OP FWIW.
     
  9. ApolloBoy macrumors 6502a

    ApolloBoy

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    San Jose, CA
    #10
    I have that same drive and you don't need extra software unless you want to watch Blu-Ray discs. For DVDs you can still use DVD Player built into macOS and iTunes for music CDs. I still highly recommend getting VLC though.
     
  10. campyguy macrumors 68030

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    Mar 21, 2014
    Location:
    Portland / Seattle
    #11
    I did check, and there's no additional SW on my Mac, just running through the DVD Player app. My GF is telling me to tell you to use VLC as other posters are recommending here, and she offered that she does have BR Player SW on her Mac and that she can't tell the difference on her Mac for playback between a normal DVD and a BR DVD, but the load time for the BR disks are longer. For burning/reading, which is what I use my Pioneer for, the faster bus speed really cuts the time of archiving data. Cheers!
     
  11. Texas_Toast thread starter macrumors 6502

    Texas_Toast

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    #12
    So if I buy the Pioneer drive, I would just plug it into my usb port, insert a DVD movie, and the app should launch? (On my old laptop that I am typing on, I inserted a DVD movie this weekend into my laptop and the movie just started playing. I wasn't sure about this external drive.)

    Also, since your girlfriend mentioned it, why do people buy Blueray if there is no improvement over regular DVDs?

    And if there is no difference, then would I be better off getting a $30 external DVD drive instead? I think LG had a nice looking one for that much.
     
  12. campyguy macrumors 68030

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    Portland / Seattle
    #13
    Auto start is what I get with the Pioneer, insert the disk, it loads, auto play. Perfect. She gets the same with VLC on her rMBP.

    Each of us bought the Pioneer for two reasons, it was advertised as Mac-friendly and the fast USB 3 interface - it's delivered on both claims. We didn't discuss the drive, rather we'd griped about the really slow external SuperDrive we shared (I'll be selling mine soon!); we both travel and archive data for our companies. One bit about the faster bus, I never hear the drive cache noise during playback which is what I want when we're kicking back trying to relax when watching a movie!

    As to BR, we both archive to BR disks - so much more data fits on one disk! Also, we usually use her machine when watching a movie and we're both watching Star Wars or Bourne flicks on BR (she's got a couple of black belts in something so I never tell her I can't see the difference :oops:). What I can offer is that the soundtracks are really so much better with the Pioneer IMO - I bring my Sennheiser RS185 wireless cans with me: Pioneer player+rMBP (optical out)>RS185 (optical in) with two paired headsets - it's really a killer portable movie watching setup. I had an earlier set of Sennheiser wireless cans until a couple of weeks ago (optical in too) until I saw the RS185 system on Amazon for 1/2 price, the setup works pretty well.

    At the home office my rMBP is connected to a pair of Yamaha studio speakers, and I use the Pioneer for CD playback. Some songs, like Rush's Vital Signs, the detail is amazing IMHO in that I can hear bits (pun intended) that I can't get with slower/streaming interfaces. The Pioneer, it was worth the extra bucks. Again, I'd buy it again… Cheers!:D
     
  13. Texas_Toast thread starter macrumors 6502

    Texas_Toast

    Joined:
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    Texas
    #14
    Wow, thanks for the intimate look into your Pioneer drive and life! :D

    Why do you back up to a BluRay disk? How much data can one hold? I assumed with SSD's, that backing up to optical storage would be obsolete these days? (About 13 years ago I used to backup to CD!!)

    So it sounds like you can't see a difference in BluRay vs DVD. I guess I'll stick with $1-$5 used DVD movies instead!

    You really think Rush sounds better on CD or DVD vs streaming? I have never heard that before.

    Most of the music listen to was recorded off the Internet and then saved into MP3, so I don't have experience with streaming audio and haven't listened to a CD in ages.

    Oh, are there any surprises like how the Apple Super Drive requires a cable adapter?

    Are you in the UK?
     
  14. campyguy macrumors 68030

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    Portland / Seattle
    #15
    About life, I've learned that fat/phat pipes for video and sound are the best pipes - as in, bigger is better. Akin to the USB interface, I finally convinced my mom to move in with me and upgraded her old DirecTV unit to the new Genie - the Genie's 4k capability blows away her old HD receiver and she told me she can hear detail in her favorite shows now that she never could before. Not bad, for an 80-year-old gal!

    About my backup needs, I own and run a small engineering company, mostly structural and civil with projects in the middle of nowhere and publicly-funded agencies as clients. Backing up is a must - I have to deal with the potential of claims, so I record *everything*. Life/Safety is one of my key objectives. A backup of everything and documentation also gets everyone paid on time as well. I can archive so much data on a BlueRay disc compared to 15 years ago, with very fine detail in my videos and photos - and I let everyone know what I'm doing in order to proactively head off claims (the he/she-said, he/she-said bit gets cut off at the knees… I'm from NY, it's a metaphor that suits my upbringing!). I've printed out fine detail of deficient work that was basis for a claim that didn't cost (I don't say/write "saved") a sizable cost for a lawsuit.

    About the HD to 4k comparison, no, I really can't tell the difference. So much of the content I watch has been upscaled I really can't see fine detail in the 4k versions. And, I hate fuzziness with a passion - trust me. Heh, me, a NY'er writing "Trust me". OTOH, I watched the first lunar landing on a 15" CRT back in 1969. To your point, on either of our Macs, we can't tell the difference in picture between a BR disk and a decently-encoded standard DVD, ever. The sound quality of the underlying dialog and soundtrack is what makes it perfect for the Pioneer IMHO.

    As for Rush, I've got the original issue, the later 5.1 release, and a 7.1 release of Moving Pictures, which was my second attended concert. The Pioneer works really well with the 5.1 disk, about as nice as it sounds in my Benz with a 7.1 H-K system. Vital Signs is pretty awesome with either playback system IMHO. Not too long after that concert I was watching SRV playing on a tabletop on 6th, still miss that guy.

    Not in the UK. In Portland, heading to Seattle on Friday for work. Take care, ya'll.
     
  15. kschendel macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2014
    #16
    I bought a cheapo Memorex drive for watching the occasional DVD. It works out of the box with my MBP. I had an Apple Superdrive, but I tossed it after it damaged one of my DVD's. :-(
     
  16. Texas_Toast thread starter macrumors 6502

    Texas_Toast

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    Texas
    #17
    You are one fascinating person!

    Interesting.


    Why not just back up to a solid-state hard-drive (SSD)?


    NYC?


    What is SRV?


    Must be weird for a NY'er to live in the Pacific Northwest!
     
  17. ApolloBoy macrumors 6502a

    ApolloBoy

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    San Jose, CA
    #18
    There's a pretty big difference in video quality between a Blu-Ray and a DVD actually, most Blu-Rays are at 1080p (1920x1080) resolution whereas DVDs typically have a maximum resolution of 480p (720x480). It's really noticeable no matter what screen size you have, and it's such a huge difference that I don't even buy new DVDs anymore and go for BDs almost every time. The only exceptions for me are for TV shows that were shot on video tape.

    Stevie Ray Vaughan.
     
  18. campyguy macrumors 68030

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    Portland / Seattle
    #19
    Thanks, my GF thinks so! My employees use another word, but I sign the checks…
    Some of my contracts require a particular archival medium, with periodic updates. I use what the contracts require. Some of my project sites don't have cellular access, and BR disks are easy to dupe.
    I was born on LI - mom is from Staten Island, dad from NYC (Manhattan).
    ApolloBoy called it - Stevie Ray Vaughn. I lived in Austin when Stevie, The Fabulous Thunderbirds (including Stevie's brother, Jimmie), Joe King Carrasco, Lou Ann Barton, W. C. Clark, Joe Ely, and a bunch of others were playing live… Yeah, there's more.
    Nah. Don't miss the heat/humidity, traffic, snow, taxes, personal attitudes. I miss the food, the restaurants - Portland is a "food capital of the world". BS. Most of the restaurants here wouldn't last a month in NYC. Cheers.
    --- Post Merged, Jun 22, 2017 ---
    I'm old with so-so vision, and my GF is very pretty. I guess I'm not paying attention to the quality of what's on the screen when I'm cuddling with her. :D
     
  19. Texas_Toast thread starter macrumors 6502

    Texas_Toast

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    Texas
    #20
    Do you get the benefit of Bluray on older movies that were shot before the technology existed? For example some movie from the 1970s?


    You must know @campyguy and be able to read his mind, because going from talking about Rush to Stevie Ray Vaughn is quite a shift in topic.

    Yes, I know who Stevie Ray Vaughn is. :)
    --- Post Merged, Jun 24, 2017 ---
    LOL


    Oh, okay.

    How durable is a Bluray backup? How much data can you get on one? And how much does a disk cost?

    Maybe I should consider doing that for really important things? Do you think a Bluray disk is safer to protect data than a HDD or SDD?



    You are quite the chameleon!


    You must be a big music fan?


    A NY'er who doesn't like "attitudes"? LOL

    Are you British too? (Cheers)


    TMI *LOL*
     
  20. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #21
    You can depending on how the movie was originally filmed. For example the movie Lawrence of Arabia is about my favorite movie ever, and it was shot on 70mm film in 1962, as opposed to the more common and much cheaper 35mm. As a result the image quality is very good. That film has been restored and transferred to BR (here) and IMO looks as good or even better than any quality BR you could buy from a current day film.

    Another good example is the Wizard of Oz filmed on 35mm Technicolor in 1939 and the BR transfer is just stunning.

    So yeah, if the movie has a good source image/film you can get a great looking BR that is far better picture quality than a DVD.
     
  21. Texas_Toast thread starter macrumors 6502

    Texas_Toast

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    Texas
    #22
    How much do new Bluray's cost? Is it like double or triple the cost of a regular movie?

    What about used movies?

    I just found a place close to where I am working that has tons of used DVD movies for anywhere from $1-$5. Of course I can ask when I go back, but I wonder if used Bluray's are so much more expensive if it counters the better quality.

    What do you think?
     
  22. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

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    #23
    You can get new release movies on BR for around $20, sometimes less. The same movie on DVD is usually around $5 or so less, so to me worth it to get the BR.

    But if you just want to get some used DVDs for a couple bucks to watch on your MacBook, I suspect you would be happy with that. A BR vs. DVD is not going to as noticeable a difference on a small laptop screen as it would be on say a 65" HDTV.
     
  23. campyguy macrumors 68030

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    Portland / Seattle
    #24
    Pinched for time, cramming a quick response in this space. Managing a construction project and the temp is working against the contractor as it's 10°F hotter than it's supposed to be and I started to wilt o_O - shooting for 110°F this afternoon! Do read what @Weaselboy wrote, all absolutely spot on. I, too, favor older movies and believe that the quality of what went into a movie makes the flick, filming and acting both. I've watched some DVDs that have better video quality than BR discs (again, 4:3 stuff - not everything is widescreen!). I would rather cook, kick back, and enjoy the movie - no TMI intended, my GF and I and my friends like to have real fun and enjoy the local hospitality - I'm still in touch with clients from 20 years ago on a social level!

    I archive with whatever the contract stipulate, to be honest. And, since I write the contracts… I use good-quality BD-R High To Low (HTL) media, which is quoted at 100-to-150 years; these discs use in-organic inks - this is the media I buy, which passes all Federal requirements that I work with:
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00BBW0970 - I safely get up to 4GB on those disks, and they're "write-once" discs.

    That company makes media called "permanent" that supposedly lasts 1000-to-10000 years. With my forensic engineering background I don't buy that claim; the amount of data that goes on those disks is much smaller - 25-100GB - but that's my client's responsibility, not mine.

    I do like my music, good music. I also like my songs to have some thought put into them, and I do enjoy a good live show - catching shows from Seattle to a flughafen south of Vienna (Die Toten Hosen/Aerosmith/ZZ Top - A-to-Z there, get it?!). Some people play video games, I listen to and play music! I once spent 3 years trying to track down an out-of-print CD of Lowdown Motivator after an acquaintance walked away with my original :mad:, and I'm a firm believer that Martina McBride has one of the best sets of pipes, period. Yep, I like my music. And I still wish the Smiths would put on one more show…

    I'm not a Brit. My GF is from north of Belfast, where I have family as well and she spends time in the UK for work as well. I've spent maybe 3 years of my life working/playing in Canada and have several friends from Britain that I watch football with, and I've spent time in London many, many times. So, there you go. Cheers! Back to work! Ugh.
     
  24. Texas_Toast thread starter macrumors 6502

    Texas_Toast

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2016
    Location:
    Texas
    #25
    Can I burn those disks in the Pioneer drives mentioned above?

    https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1086416-REG/pioneer_bdr_xd05b_external_blu_ray_dvr_drive.html


    @campy, you are a very entertaining individual! :apple:

    Thanks for sharing. :)

    BTW, @Weaselboy, I watched Shaft this weekend on this old MacBook Pro on DVD. Cheesy movie, but so cool to see New York City in 1971!!

    I tried to take your advice and get "Lawrence of Arabia" on Bluray, but the used record store didn't have it, so I got it on DVD. (Wow, 3 hours and 36 minutes long! Will have to save that for a weekend where I am not tired and can start watching it before 10:00pm!)
     

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