Samsung Intros Wi-Fi Optical Drive for Streaming, Writing

TV networks, movie studios and record companies are making it hard for consumers to purchase digital media, seemingly telling paying customers how and where they can stick their purchased content. Movies are the worst of the bunch, as Hollywood insists that video files can only be downloaded to one or two devices. Ripping straight from a purchased DVD is considered piracy.

Samsung looks to change all that with the launch of its Optical SMART Hub (SE-208BW). It's an optical drive with built-in Wi-Fi, Ethernet and USB components to provide a disc-based cloud solution. Sure, there are solutions already on the market that are flash- and HDD-based, but ultimately this method means you can toss in your favorite DVD and stream the movie directly to a Smart TV, tablet or smartphone without having to crank up a desktop or laptop, or go through the annoying rip-and-convert procedure. Eat that, Hollywood.

"For TV’s with data-sharing standard DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) compatibility, the SE-208BW features DLNA Apps, such as Allshare, which enables users to view drive content through the TV menu to play multimedia files on CDs and DVDs," the company said on Monday. "Performing as a Digital Media Server, the SE-208BW will be a keystone of home entertainment, providing a connection between mobile devices and TV or PC, and also a triangular connection among TVs, PCs and mobile devices."

But Samsung's gadget isn't just for playback: it's a fully-functional CD and DVD writer that allows users to back-up their files wirelessly whether it's from a smartphone, tablet or PC. It also provides a variety of speeds across different data media types including 24X CD-ROM, 24X CD-RW, 8X DVD reading and 8X DVD±R, 5X DVD-RAM, 6X DVD+R Dual Layer, 6X DVD-R Dual Layer, 8X DVD+RW, 6X DVD-RW recording.

On the cloud storage front, the Wi-Fi ODD provides a USB port for adding additional flash-based cloud storage, and even serves as an access point so users can extend their network even further across the house or small office. The SE-208BW even supports Dynamic DNS which enables the drive to work as a private server.

An Android app for the Optical SMART Media Hub is already available, with an app for iPhone set to launch soon. Samsung also has plans for a Kindle app and Smart TV app although no specific dates have been given. The drive itself will be available sometime this quarter, and will retail for a not-too-shabby $129.99 USD when it eventually arrives.