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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > Do you want a DVD Slot in your Next Macbook?

Do you want a DVD Slot in your Next Macbook?
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Apr 4, 2007, 04:21 PM
 
Personally, i think CDs and DVDs are a dying medium which will be replaced by USB Flash Drives, so I hope Apple continues its innovative ways and does away with the slot all together for more battery space!

what are your thoughts?
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Apr 4, 2007, 04:27 PM
 
I think it'll be a long time before people stop watching DVDs and burning CDs on their computer. Also, the slot is needed to install software, rip music, etc. I think there are too many essential needs to do away with the slot loading drive. However, I wouldn't mind seeing an additonal line of ultra portable laptops without slot drives for those who find it unnecessary.
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Apr 4, 2007, 05:03 PM
 
CDs and DVDs replaced floppy discs and Video tapes when? the late 90s? the technology cannot be replaced so soon. Besides, in the future, when the disc technology gets replaced with flash drives, they will cost so much more than the average CD. That is a world I cannot handle yet.
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Apr 4, 2007, 05:40 PM
 
Until a cost-effective (sub-$2) method of tossing a copy of 700MB to 4GB of data at someone to take with them comes along, DVD burners aren't going anywhere.

The floppy could be done away with when 56k internet bandwidth became abundantly available, meaning that you could completely dispense with the floppy medium and just mail the file off.

We haven't reached that point yet for optical media.
     
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Apr 4, 2007, 10:25 PM
 
I agree with some of the responses that it will be some time before optical media will be going anywhere. Also consider that if you filled that same real estate with more battery, it would be considerably heavier than it is now. I really do like some of the manufacurers that essentially call it a "bay" that can either house an optical drive OR an additional battery pack. It's a great idea because it lets the user choose, but then again, Apple has never been very big on giving people choices, so that's not likely to happen.
     
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Apr 4, 2007, 10:52 PM
 
Originally Posted by analogika View Post
The floppy could be done away with when 56k internet bandwidth became abundantly available, meaning that you could completely dispense with the floppy medium and just mail the file off.
I think, more importantly, the floppy died because of its lack of capacity. That's not something optical media suffers from.

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Apr 5, 2007, 02:21 AM
 
Optical isn't going away for awhile. CDs and DVDs might be fading away, but Blu-ray is on the rise.
     
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Apr 5, 2007, 05:28 AM
 
Originally Posted by Kadman View Post
I agree with some of the responses that it will be some time before optical media will be going anywhere. Also consider that if you filled that same real estate with more battery, it would be considerably heavier than it is now. I really do like some of the manufacurers that essentially call it a "bay" that can either house an optical drive OR an additional battery pack. It's a great idea because it lets the user choose, but then again, Apple has never been very big on giving people choices, so that's not likely to happen.
You haven't been around long enough to remember the G3 Powerbooks, have you?
     
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Apr 5, 2007, 08:43 AM
 
I want an HD DVD-ROM/DVD±RW/CD-RW drive in my next laptop.
     
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Apr 5, 2007, 11:24 AM
 
Originally Posted by Big Mac View Post
I think, more importantly, the floppy died because of its lack of capacity. That's not something optical media suffers from.
Sure it is! I always want to put more on a DVD than I can fit!
     
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Apr 5, 2007, 11:33 AM
 
Originally Posted by peeb View Post
Sure it is! I always want to put more on a DVD than I can fit!
That's why an HD DVD or Blu-ray drive would be perfect.
     
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Apr 5, 2007, 01:55 PM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
That's why an HD DVD or Blu-ray drive would be perfect.
From the looks of it Sony may win again and this may be Blu-ray world. Too bad I just got a hd-dvd drive 4 months ago.
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Apr 5, 2007, 02:06 PM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
That's why an HD DVD or Blu-ray drive would be perfect.
For a while....
     
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Apr 5, 2007, 02:23 PM
 
Originally Posted by jaydon34 View Post
From the looks of it Sony may win again and this may be Blu-ray world. Too bad I just got a hd-dvd drive 4 months ago.
You bought an HD DVD burner 4 months ago? From where, and what do you use it for?

Right now, neither side really can be declared a winner, since both formats are in their infancy.


Originally Posted by peeb View Post
For a while....
Most of us don't buy computers to last 10 years.
     
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Apr 5, 2007, 04:41 PM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
You bought an HD DVD burner 4 months ago? From where, and what do you use it for?

Right now, neither side really can be declared a winner, since both formats are in their infancy.
I purchased the HD-DVD for the xbox 360 but I got it for like 50 bucks.
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Apr 5, 2007, 06:05 PM
 
Most of us don't buy computers to last 10 years.
10 years? HD is what, 30gb? 15 if you don't have dual layer? My original comment was that optical drives do suffer from space constraints - for me, even 30 gb is not that much. As a backup medium I still need 7-8 of them to do a full backup of my drive. In ten years time? Well....
     
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Apr 6, 2007, 12:21 AM
 
I want an HD-DVD player/Blu-Ray player/DVD burner/CD burner. I'll forego an HD or BD recorder for now, but just don't kill off the DVD and CD burning.

Though I would like to burn my own HD-DVD's and Blu-Ray discs just for backup.

Removing the optical drive would be silly to do this early. Maybe in 5-10 years. But for now.. really.. how much space are you really gaining? Seriously. You make the thing any thinner and it'll break in half.

Though, if they replaced the optical drive (Offered a USB or FireWire 800 one in the box just in case) with say a really really powerful processor, like a Xeon portable or something... then I'd gladly give it up. As long as it had a 250-500GB HD inside to actually store that stuff the DVD/CD would have been used for.

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Apr 6, 2007, 01:11 AM
 
I don't think you can get rid of the cd/dvd drive quite yet. But, given how little I use one, I wouldn't complain about having to use an external cd/dvd in exchange for less weight or for an extra harddisk or more battery.
     
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Apr 6, 2007, 09:19 AM
 
Originally Posted by jaydon34 View Post
I purchased the HD-DVD for the xbox 360 but I got it for like 50 bucks.
$50 is a great deal. Personally, I predict a stalemate, so hybrid Blu-ray/HD DVD drives will be common in 2 years.


Originally Posted by peeb View Post
10 years? HD is what, 30gb? 15 if you don't have dual layer? My original comment was that optical drives do suffer from space constraints - for me, even 30 gb is not that much. As a backup medium I still need 7-8 of them to do a full backup of my drive. In ten years time? Well....
Optical drives don't have to be your primary hard drive backup method. I use another hard drive to back up.

It's not as if a bunch of USB pen drives is gonna be the solution.
     
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Apr 6, 2007, 09:33 AM
 
I've been considering the MCE optical bay harddrive for my MacBook. They drop a second harddrive into your optical bay and provide you with an external enclosure for the removed optical drive.
     
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Apr 6, 2007, 11:48 AM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
Optical drives don't have to be your primary hard drive backup method. I use another hard drive to back up.

It's not as if a bunch of USB pen drives is gonna be the solution.
Right, but in that case, I don't need one built in. I can plug in a USB/Firewire drive on the rare occasion that I need to read a DVD / CD / HD. Since the optical drive has such limited space, even now, I don't need one built in. In fact, as you point out, another hard drive built in would be much more useful, especially if it was a bay.
     
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Apr 6, 2007, 11:54 AM
 
i think that ultra small laptop , apple is working on, wont have a slot.
     
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Apr 6, 2007, 12:20 PM
 
I'm sure it won't - optical drives are huge compared to most components. I'd love to be able to trade out my optical drive for a hard drive or battery like the G3 PBs!
     
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Apr 6, 2007, 12:22 PM
 
Originally Posted by peeb View Post
Right, but in that case, I don't need one built in. I can plug in a USB/Firewire drive on the rare occasion that I need to read a DVD / CD / HD. Since the optical drive has such limited space, even now, I don't need one built in. In fact, as you point out, another hard drive built in would be much more useful, especially if it was a bay.
The point of optical media is transferability. Another hard drive bay would be useless in this regard.
     
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Apr 6, 2007, 01:48 PM
 
Sure - I'm not saying there is no purpose for them, just that I don't think I want to carry one around all the time. I'd ditch it from my laptop in a moment in return for another hard drive bay. If you often need to burn DVDs for people, then you want one, I guess. I don't, so I don't. That's why a bay system is good!
     
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Apr 6, 2007, 01:50 PM
 
Bay design necessarily adds more bulk to components and makes the laptop design itself (not your use of it) less flexible.
     
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Apr 6, 2007, 02:25 PM
 
Yes, it does. The other way to go is to just junk the optical drive on sub-17inch models and let people use externals if they need them.
     
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Apr 6, 2007, 04:11 PM
 
External drives don't really work well on-the-go.
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Apr 6, 2007, 07:26 PM
 
Slot-load Blu-ray burner.



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Apr 6, 2007, 07:27 PM
 
Originally Posted by sdilley14 View Post
External drives don't really work well on-the-go.
Personally, the only times I use optical drives are when installing software or archiving data, neither of which I need when on-the-go. Do you often need to use an optical drive when on the go?
     
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Apr 6, 2007, 07:42 PM
 
Originally Posted by sdilley14 View Post
External drives don't really work well on-the-go.
What makes you say that? I had a thinkpad that came with a USB floppy and a USB cd burner - carried them around in a laptop case for a year or so, and had no problems.
     
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Apr 7, 2007, 06:16 AM
 
Originally Posted by peeb View Post
What makes you say that? I had a thinkpad that came with a USB floppy and a USB cd burner - carried them around in a laptop case for a year or so, and had no problems.
You need a laptop case for that - that makes them uselessly annoying and would mean for me, for example, that I simply wouldn't have a burner on me if I need it.
     
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Apr 8, 2007, 05:22 PM
 
Actually, I the only thing I have against the slot drive is that fact that it can't handle mini-DVDs, like the type DVD-R camcorders produce. For a media production system (iDVD, Final Cut) that's kind of a big deal.
     
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Apr 8, 2007, 05:30 PM
 
I wish DVD RAM were supported - incremental file backups would be so much easier...
     
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Apr 8, 2007, 07:18 PM
 
No, I want a modular bay so I can have a second battery in 99.99% of the time... I only need a built-in optical drive about an hour a year.
     
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Apr 8, 2007, 09:16 PM
 
Optical media is here to stay, for a long, long time. Currently, optical media has the highest storage capacity at its price point by far (and the gap is still growing exponentially). It is the primary method for data/software delivery right now because it is so cheap and ubiquitous. When someone delivers a storage format that can match or beat optical media on cost/GB and is more practical, we can then start having this debate in earnest.
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Apr 9, 2007, 06:55 AM
 
Originally Posted by nhmlco View Post
Actually, I the only thing I have against the slot drive is that fact that it can't handle mini-DVDs, like the type DVD-R camcorders produce. For a media production system (iDVD, Final Cut) that's kind of a big deal.
Yeah. It's sad that the first slot-loading iMacs and titanium Powerbooks could handle them, but none after that.
     
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Apr 9, 2007, 09:16 AM
 
Originally Posted by quiklee View Post
Personally, i think CDs and DVDs are a dying medium which will be replaced by USB Flash Drives
Maybe long-term you're right, but not quite yet. A 1Gb flash drive might cost about $10. Compare that to the 25 cents you pay for a blank DVD that gives you 4x the storage capacity. When the price per Gb of Flash Drives dips below that for DVDs, then it's time to switch. Not yet.
Originally Posted by quiklee View Post
I hope Apple continues its innovative ways and does away with the slot all together for more battery space!
Not yet.
     
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Apr 9, 2007, 09:26 AM
 
Blu-ray isn't "Sony" it's 7 of the 10 companies that brought us DVD
HD-DVD is only Toshiba of the original 10 companies

and in computers Blu-Ray has 2 important features,
1) Higher Capacity
2) protective layer (it really is good, stands up to most abuse, except physically being snapped)
     
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Apr 9, 2007, 09:34 AM
 
Originally Posted by Eug View Post
$50 is a great deal. Personally, I predict a stalemate, so hybrid Blu-ray/HD DVD drives will be common in 2 years.

Optical drives don't have to be your primary hard drive backup method. I use another hard drive to back up.

It's not as if a bunch of USB pen drives is gonna be the solution.
The last 3 months or so, Blu-ray has outsold HD-DVD by at least 2:1

Backup isn't just about protection incase of one hard drive failing, it's also about the other ways data is lost. Disaster (outside of a computer, fire, flood, etc.), Theft (Just had my G4 tower stolen recently in a house breakin, took my backup drive with the tower) Making 2 copies of an optical disk, 1 for elsewhere in the house, 1 to go offsite just makes sense for the $0.25 or so the disks cost (DVD-R)
(can't wait for prices of Blu-ray burners & disks to drop, if things repeat DVD burners back 7 years ago or so... should only take about 2 years before I get one)
     
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Apr 9, 2007, 10:56 AM
 
Originally Posted by Brian D Marsh View Post
The last 3 months or so, Blu-ray has outsold HD-DVD by at least 2:1
Yep, in a period of a drought of HD DVD releases.

Since inception, Blu-ray discs have outsold HD DVD only by 6:5, despite having something like a 10:1 install base of Blu-ray players vs. HD DVD players now. It seems the PS3 isn't having the effect Sony was predicting. Thus, my prediction of a stalemate still stands.

I would love to have a hybrid HD DVD / Blu-ray burner in my MacBook come 2009.
     
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Apr 9, 2007, 02:07 PM
 
Hell, I want it come 2007! Okay.. 2008 if you want to be realistic.

The question is, are current Macs capable of playing the formats back? (Set aside that they don't have software yet, could they still play them if they did?)

I would love to have the burners now so I could back-up so easily. If they're RW's, I'd buy the largest capacity and backup all my stuff once a week. (I assume we can't just incrementally add files to the discs, right? We'd need to erase them completely and reburn?) I don't even have a DVD burner in my Mac. LOL Just a useless CD burner. (CD's seem so low-capacity now in comparison. Hell, it's still hard to believe the 1GB Flash Drive I got at Christmas time for $15 holds more than a CD.)
     
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Apr 9, 2007, 02:22 PM
 
Originally Posted by analogika View Post
Yeah. It's sad that the first slot-loading iMacs and titanium Powerbooks could handle them, but none after that.
Um, not they didn't, slot loading drives physically can't handle mini optical discs, period. Think about it, there's no way the mechanism can handle it properly, just the nature of the beast
     
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Apr 9, 2007, 02:26 PM
 
In this country at least, laptops with external drives have been sales death, no one wants them. I know the ultra-portable market in Japan accepts it, but they've never caught on with Americans. I'm probably part of that "problem", I would never buy a laptop with an external drive again. I had a PowerBook 2400 back in the day and loved the size, but regretted it's limited useability VERY fast. Maybe someday, but we're not there yet, it would be a HUGE mistake for Apple to remove optical drives at this point.
     
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Apr 9, 2007, 03:21 PM
 
Originally Posted by Brian D Marsh View Post
The last 3 months or so, Blu-ray has outsold HD-DVD by at least 2:1
What does that figure look like if you take out the disks that were bundled for free with players?
     
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Apr 9, 2007, 04:15 PM
 
It means that Blu-ray sold 2 disks, to HD-DVD's 1. Both of the Blu-Ray ones were bundled.
     
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Apr 9, 2007, 06:39 PM
 
Originally Posted by sdilley14 View Post
External drives don't really work well on-the-go.
If you took a slot loading drive and put it in a super-slim case with a 6 in USB (or FW400) cable I'd say it would work well for people who rarely use their DVD drives (like me)

Originally Posted by Wiskedjak View Post
Personally, the only times I use optical drives are when installing software or archiving data, neither of which I need when on-the-go. Do you often need to use an optical drive when on the go?
Ditto.

Originally Posted by peeb View Post
What makes you say that? I had a thinkpad that came with a USB floppy and a USB cd burner - carried them around in a laptop case for a year or so, and had no problems.
Like I said before, If you took a slot loading drive and put it in a super-slim case with a 6 in USB (or FW400) cable I'd say it would work well for people who rarely use their DVD drives.

Originally Posted by nhmlco View Post
Actually, I the only thing I have against the slot drive is that fact that it can't handle mini-DVDs, like the type DVD-R camcorders produce. For a media production system (iDVD, Final Cut) that's kind of a big deal.
The Wii I believe can handle them (the old GameCube games). Stick a Wii's slot loading drive in a Mac with the right drivers and ta da!

Originally Posted by bloodshot View Post
Um, not they didn't, slot loading drives physically can't handle mini optical discs, period. Think about it, there's no way the mechanism can handle it properly, just the nature of the beast
See above.

One other thing, I predict that DVD drives will disappear from laptops in 2-5 years but external slim drives will still be available and internal DVD dives for desktops will stay for some time.
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Apr 9, 2007, 07:12 PM
 
Originally Posted by bloodshot View Post
Um, not they didn't, slot loading drives physically can't handle mini optical discs, period. Think about it, there's no way the mechanism can handle it properly, just the nature of the beast
As noted above, the Wii is the most recent example of this. It handles the mini disks just fine (from the Gamecube). There have also been a fair number of slot load car CD players that did this as well. I can remember the first time I tried one in CD player I owned nearly 15 years ago. As I gingerly pushed one of those small "sampler" CDs into the slot, it grabbed it and handled it fine (as visions of ripping the dash apart to get it flashed through my head, lol).
     
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Apr 9, 2007, 07:25 PM
 
Originally Posted by Jasoco View Post
Hell, I want it come 2007! Okay.. 2008 if you want to be realistic.

The question is, are current Macs capable of playing the formats back? (Set aside that they don't have software yet, could they still play them if they did?)
DVD Player.app can play back some HD DVDs right now, but only a particular subset that are made with H.264 (or MPEG2), and have no DRM. These are the ones created by DVD Studio Pro and other applications, but they do meet the official HD DVD specifications.

In terms of the hardware, you can simply plug a Blu-ray drive or an HD DVD drive, and it will be recognized just fine even in Tiger (I've tried it), but the discs themselves need UDF 2.5 support which Tiger doesn't have. However, IIRC, Leopard does support UDF 2.5 natively so that won't be an issue once Leopard hits.

So, the basic features are there, but what we are missing are:

I don't know if Apple will add full (DRM + VC1 + AACS etc) playback support to Leopard, but if they don't a 3rd party will offer it, like they've done on Windows XP. In terms of HDCP support (if necessary), I suspect that is also coming 2007 too.
     
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Apr 10, 2007, 01:27 PM
 
Originally Posted by bloodshot View Post
Um, not they didn't, slot loading drives physically can't handle mini optical discs, period. Think about it, there's no way the mechanism can handle it properly, just the nature of the beast
Um, bloodshot:

I HAVE a slot-loading 400 MHz iMac DV. It handles mini-CDs just fine.

You are wrong. Period.
     
 
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