Optical Drives Guide

LG GGC-H20L Blu-ray/HD DVD Combo Drive review

LG GGC-H20L (Blu-ray/HD DVD Combo Drive)

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LG has gone with a rather typical design for this drive and our model came solely in black with no option to change the bezel. There's nothing much to mention about the bezel, besides having logos from both competing HD formats. At the back, the SATA interface is evident and again that's no surprise since we expect all new optical drives to be using SATA nowadays.

Unlike some drives which are quiet initially, until they are reading or writing at maximum speed, the LG is relatively silent throughout. Only the flashing blue indicator shows that the drive is active, even though there isn't any noise dampening material lining the edge of the drive tray.

Despite supporting both HD formats, the LG has differing speeds for the two formats. Blu-ray discs can be read at a maximum of 6x (for single layer BD-ROM) while dual layer and BD-RE takes a significant hit to 4.8x and 2x respectively. Meanwhile, the maximum read speed for HD DVD-ROM is 3x, regardless of its size. As for its writing capabilities, the LG GGC-H20L follows the standard speeds you would expect from a 16x writer. It's obviously not the fastest in these days of 20x burners but for most users, it's more than adequate.

Finally, to support its HD capabilities, LG has included a CyberLink BD & HD DVD Solution, which consists of a number of familiar CyberLink applications like PowerDVD, PowerProducer, etc, of which the PowerDVD application is likely to be the most commonly used. LG was at pains to explain the confusion surrounding HDCP when it came to HD video playback and summarized that neatly in a table on the package under System Requirements. Basically, if you're going purely digital in terms of output, you'll need HDCP compliant graphics card and monitor to watch a copy protected HD movie. If you're only using the analog, e.g D-SUB, that is unnecessary.