Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: Buffalo MediaStation 8x Portable DVD Writer (DVSM-PC58U2VB)
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on November 4, 2011
I bought this drive on Amazon through Buffalo Technology to use on my Mac mini (the internal DVD drive had failed on it).

I have had this drive for around two months and have burned about 50 CDs and about 60 DVDs with it so far. I have also played a few CDs and watched a few DVDs on it too. It works with just one USB power cable on both my 2009 Mac mini (model 3,1) and my 2008 13in MacBook (model 4,1). The other USB cable wraps neatly under the DVD drive and is unnoticeable.

The drive has a low profile and makes a minimal amount of noise. There is an LED that shines through the top back slit in the case. A blue light (which is just bright enough and quite slick looking in my opinion) indicates that it has sufficient power, but red means that you need to use the second USB cable for additional power.

Of note, once there is a DVD in the drive, I can only eject it by ejecting it by clicking "eject" on my computer (the button on the DVD drive itself is non-responsive with a DVD in it). This has in no way been a problem for me. It only caused a bit of confusion when I first used it.

It works just as I expected it to and is more aesthetically pleasing than I thought it would be. Overall, I am very satisfied with the price (I paid $37.88 ), quality, functionality, and convenience of this product, and I highly recommend it.
44 comments|97 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
I am on my 3rd Portable/External DVD drive and this one is the very best so far. I really wanted a slot insert drive, but have not been able to find one. So, for a tray drive (the tray pops out when you click the button), it's the best so far. I've tried LG and HP and I wasn't trilled with either. I ordered an HP with my new HP Envy 15t laptop, but it wouldn't play a DVD.

So here's the scoop, this DVD drive will work with Windows XP, 7, and 8.0/8.1, but it won't necessary "play" DVD's (movies) on 8.0/8.1. For writing and reading data CD's and data DVD's, it should work on all Windows versions (I've tested on XP and will be testing and posting my results on 8.1 in the next month). You will need to install the CyberLink software that is included in the package on a DVD, but that only takes care of data read/writing tasks NOT DVD MOVIE PLAYBACK (aka DVD decoder).

For Windows XP and 7 users you will be fine since Microsoft still included Windows Media Play (with DVD decoder) with those operating systems. So, if you want to play movies on an XP or 7 computer, just plug the buffalo drive in and insert your DVD movie and Windows Media Player should take care of the rest automatically (it did on my XP laptop and worked seamlessly).

Okay, for Windows 8.0/8.1 users, Microsoft no longer includes Windows Media Play with DVD decoder with the operating system, which means they make it impossible to just plug and play a movie with *ANY* DVD brand of portable drive! Ugh!!! They want you to *BUY* movies and music using streaming video *SO THEY CAN MAKE MORE MONEY***...read on Windows 8.0/8.1 users...

Microsoft now sells "Windows Media Center Pack" which includes the DVD decoder so you can play your movies and listen to your music CDs. It is not included in the Windows operating system anymore; you have to *PAY* for it. If you have Windows Professional, you'll pay $10 for it. If you have Windows Standard (most home computer have this), you'll pay $100!!!

To purchase from Microsoft you do it online, just google "Windows Media Center Pack" to find out how to purchase it .I haven't received my Windows 8.1 laptop yet, but will update my review once I receive it in November 2013 (I will pay $10 for it since I ordered Windows Pro....so, more on this later (MOTL)

I've also heard there's lots of *FREE* DVD decoder softwares out there. One that was suggested to me was "VLC Media Player" and I believe it is Open Source and free! I haven't tried it, but it would be worth investigating if you're looking for a free solution!

Frys Computer Center nearby? I went there to look at all the DVD drives. I wanted to see them in person. Found out Frys carried this model and match Amazon pricing, very cool!!!

Hope my review helped. Please let me know if it was helpful and if you have any questions at all about this product. Thanks!
44 comments|47 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on October 10, 2011
Purchased from Fry's electronics for $40+Tax to be used on my New MACBOOK Air 11" i5/4GB/128GB
the drive has been recognized by the MAC running OS X 10.7.1 (Lion) without any problem.
Its been detected & configured automatically with VM-Ware Fusion Version 4 as well to be used by Windows 7 pro.

Pros:
-short USB cables to be connected to both sides of the MACBOOK AiR 11" & you don't need to purchase any USB extension cable for it but for my connivance I attached a RETRAK retractable USB 2.0 Cable (a $13 multi adapter cable) so I can put the Drive next to my MAC instead of under it!
-light weighted
-Compact
-Usb cable is detachable (T shape not Y)
-Easy to carry (both USB cable heads snap to the chassis of the drive for easy mobility)
Cons:
-I don't like the shape and color of the LED indicator for power supply stability on top !
-you need to plug both USB cables always

Addition:
-there is a plug for a 5 volt external adaptor that can be helpful instead of using Dual USB.
22 comments|42 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 12, 2011
It's been 6 years since I bought a laptop with an optical drive, so a good external disc drive is pretty important. I had been using a feature rich LG Lightscribe for the last 4 years, but it finally gave up the ghost and left me without a reliable method to read or write CD's.

For my next drive I wanted something smaller, as there was nothing portable about the old LG. Enter the Buffalo MediaStation. I haven't had it very long, but I can report one 3 important facts.

1. You can run it off one USB port. The drive has two USB cables wrapped around the side and on the undercarriage. Whether or not you can run this off a single port depends entirely on your computer. The drive does make this easy for you by lighting up red or blue depending on your power needs. If it's blue you're golden; red and you're going to need that second USB port.

2. The drive is pretty fast for a bus-powered external. On a 1.3ghz Intel Dual Core 2 laptop with 4gb of RAM, iTunes encoded 160 kbps MP3's at 20x.

3. The DVD drive can be noisy. There's not a lot of room for insulation in this device, so it's going to rattle around some.

I can't speak for longevity, but so far it's been an excellent buy.
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on May 25, 2012
Despite the two negative reviews about this DVD burner that claimed that this product does not work on Lion... it works very well on Lion. I am currently running version 10.7.4 on my 27" iMac and I did not encounter any problems with this device. I have just recently upgraded to Lion from Snow Leopard so I was wary at first that this may have been the issue that the two negative reviewers encountered. However, from the moment that I plugged it in, my system recognized the drive and I was able to burn DVDs with no problems at all. I didn't even have to download any additional drivers from the Buffalo website (Yes Buffalo offers this. I don't think that the person who went so far as to contact Apple Tech bothered to do any research at all. Perhaps they were not even running Lion).

One possibility on why this drive didn't work for those two negative reviewers is that this drive may have not liked the brand of DVD that they were using. Over the years I've learned that some DVD drives can be finicky with what brand of DVDs that they prefer. My other external DVD burning drive (which is a Sony) refuses to use Fujifilm DVDs... this doesn't mean that the drive is defective (It works fine with Memorex and several other DVD brands). At the moment I am using TDK DVDs with this Buffalo drive. It may give me an error if I switch to another brand... but as of yet it's working perfectly fine.

I wanted to post this review because I almost didn't buy this DVD drive after reading that several people encountered problems because they were using OS Lion. This is a very good alternative to the more expensive DVD burners that are specifically made for Mac (MAC external superdrive which retails for almost 80.00 if bought directly through Amazon with Prime shipping). Since I am working on a newer iMac, the shortness of the USB cable was not an issue since it fits snugly under my monitor. As of right now I'm quite happy with my purchase and I'd gladly recommend it to anyone who is experiencing issues with the built in DVD Rom on iMac or similar products.
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on December 23, 2011
This product is clearly meant for use with laptops and is not a convenient solution for people looking for an external replacement drive for their home PCs. My USB ports are at the top of my tower and the cords are so short I can't even get the drive to sit on top of it. The cords are only 6 inches long!! I had to stack it on top of CD spindles, behind my computer, with my desk pulled out, merely to see if it had any redeeming qualities.

I was considering trying USB extenders if the drive appeared to suit my needs otherwise, but the instructions recommend that "to minimize electromagnetic interference" you should "use only the supplied USB cable." Making matters worse, the USB cables are physically attached to the drive and cannot be replaced. Between folding them back into place for travel and the strain put on the cords by being so close to the hardware they are connected to, it's hard to imagine these USB cords having a very long life.

The drive would not play without stuttering using the USB ports on the front of my computer. It plays smooth and the video looks fine when connected to the back and - because I am using it with a home pc and not a laptop - it appeared to have no trouble getting enough power using only one usb cable.

Though this page does not make mention of it, the side of the box indicates that the drive can read or write dual-layer discs. It does appear to be able to read them but it does not recognize blank ones.

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PROS:

-It's lightweight
-Not bulky
-Reasonably aesthetically pleasing
-Inexpensive
-Playback quality appears fine when properly connected (Requiring USB 2.0 or higher USB Ports)
-Should be recognizable on Mac computers

CONS:

-Extremely short and irreplaceable (6 inch) cords
-May require 2 USB (2.0 or higher) ports, depending on your systems power configuration
-Unable to write dual-layer dvds
-Shiny surface is prone to fingerprints
-Software included will NOT function on Mac computers
-No playback software is provided for Mac or PC. You will have to find a free player you trust or one you consider worth purchasing.

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This drive may be a functional portable drive for casual laptop users. For the price it is really not a terrible device, but it has a lengthy list of flaws that should be examined by potential buyers. This was a disappointing purchase for me.
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on October 13, 2011
Lets face it, USB external laptop DVD drives are all pretty much the same. But what makes this one really great is not having to worry about forgetting the USB cable because its built into the unit and tucks nicely out of its own way so the drive pretty much fits in any bag. The drive itself is quick and burns DVDs well enough as expected, but like I said its all about the design with these things and Buffalo hit the mark perfectly on this one.
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on December 14, 2011
This is certainly a marvelous little unit and just what I needed to add to my Toshiba NB205 Netbook (running Windows XP). Without an optial drive, backups to external media or installing new software can be bothersome. This solves that problem and, in addition, allows me to play movies without having to store the file(s) on the hard drive. Installation was pretty much a brease, except that the computer stated there was an error on installation and that the unit might not work as expected. I have not had any difficulty so far. I have watched DVD's from the Buffalo and copied a rather large file to a DVD+R without a problem. I have not needed to use the boost cord (the other USB connection) on the Toshiba NB205.

Another reviewed stated that the Buffalo is noisy. I did not find this to be the case (unless you're copying files from the Buffalo to the Hard Drive, in which case it does hum due to the speed). It isn't any noisier than any other DVD. It will hum while it spins up to load the inserted disk, but, after that, there isn't any noise. I watched a movie with it and the Buffalo was quiet.

It was also stated in another review that there was a difficulty with ejecting DVDs. The only time I found this to be the case was when the Buffalo was running while finishing up an operation. That is to be expected. When the Buffalo is finished, push the button and the DVD pops out.

The cable storage is fantastic! The cables wrap around the enclosure in specifically provided slots and the plugs snuggle neatly into their own little resting places. The cables are labeled - one is the normal USB, the other is labeled "Boost" in case computer USB slot doesn't have enough power to run the Buffalo. Again, I didn't have to use this on the NB205. The "Boost" cable is not long enough to wrap around to the other side of the computer, so, if there aren't two USB outlets on the same side, some sort of extension will need to be provided (that's mentioned in another review). (Actually, I think I can get one plug on one side of my Netbook and one on the other, but it's a bit of a stretch and the Buffalo would be just about in my lap).

One thing I would like to see is better non-skid feet. The Buffalo actually slid off the table while I was recording (I bumped it with the keyboard drawer for the other computer - I have one computer for each hand). I installed peel and stick feet (called Heavy Duty Bumpers at KMart in the Home Improvement section) and the Buffalo doesn't slide around any more It's also a little easier to get the drawer closed with one hand (I think someone complained about that).

The software provided is not real great. It's Cyberlink's Power2Go 7 DE version, which has limited capabilities. Even when burning a disk, options such as buffer underrun protection, data verification, and burning speed are not selectable. Cyberlink gives the user several opportunities to upgrade to a better version. I did not find the software very intuitive. I have used many burning packages before. I tried a test burn with this one and did not succeed in copying a large file to a DVD.

Another small thing I hated was that the window for Cyberlink adjusted itself to the full screen width of my netbook. I placed the task bar over on the left to make more room on the screen vertically. This hides the right portion of the Cyberlink window. This can not be adjusted (from what I have seen).

However, the purpose of this is not to review the software. I just want to make the reader aware of what I experienced. I decided to uninstall Cyberlink and use another package (try CDBurnerXP).

BUT, do not let my impression of the software deter you from acquiring the Buffalo.

One might also question the brand name. Who ever heard of "Buffalo" (unless you live in or pass through upper New York State)? Well, I have been involved with computer software and hardware since the 1980's and have used Buffalo products before. They've been around for a while.

Bottom line is this is a good unit (so far, anyway). If you're in the market for this type of hardware, this is good!
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on August 30, 2011
External drive works like a charm. Just unpack from box and plug in. Minimal noise and install. It works immediately. Would definitely recommend to netbook users like myself. No trouble to install office and ancestry.com softare.
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on November 26, 2013
Very nice unit; exactly what I wanted. It's quiet, it was recognized immediately by my Lenovo laptop, it works perfectly using only one USB cable on my Windows 7 system, it's inexpensive, and I like the fact that the blue light indicating proper power usage with the USB cable is clear and easy to see but not too bright or intrusive. A few considerations, however:

1. This unit is intended mainly for laptops. The short cable is not practical for desktops because the cable that comes with the unit is not long enough to reach the desk from the USB ports either in the back or the front of most towers. (See note below, however, on cables.)

2. A lot has been written about the length of the cable(s) that come with this drive. Personally, I like the fact that the cables come with the unit and that they are short and don't get in the way, mainly because I bought this drive to use in place of my laptop's built-in DVD drive, in order to save wear and tear on it. But for those who need a longer cable, the "T" cable system that comes with this drive IS REMOVABLE. The "T" part of the two cable system plugs into a standard USB micro port, so any standard USB cable with a micro plug at the end will work, as long as your system can run the drive from one cable. Simply free up the two cables from the side/bottom of the drive and pull the "T" part straight out. You'll see the USB micro port right there. Just plug in a longer standard USB cable and you're good to go.

3. The AMAZON description of this drive is misleading, as another reviewer pointed out. You DO NOT GET Cyberlink's Power DVD!! You do get Cyberlink's Power2Go, which I happen to like. But the fact that Amazon continues to put out a false expectation is wrong. If I hadn't read the one particular review warning of the false advertising I would have been disappointed and angry when I discovered that there was no Power DVD included in the provided software package. (In the past, Power DVD was more critical. Now that WMP handles DVDs without any fuss, I just use WMP and don't even bother with anything else. However, I DO find Power2Go to be very useful, and am glad it is included. Just don't be deceived by Amazon's false advertising on the main page for this drive when it comes to the Power DVD software.)

4. Unlike another reviewer, I had no problem at all opening the drive by pushing the eject button. Granted, it is black on black, so it might be a little hard to pick up. But I have more problems finding the button on my Lenovo built-in drive than I do on this one.

5. (Minor point) As another reviewer stated...the top of this unit is definitely a fingerprint magnet. But that's not a big deal for me. It's a DVD drive, not a diamond ring. :o)

Update 1/14/14: I've been using this drive a LOT -- ripping TV series on an almost daily basis to have backups in case anything happens to my DVDs. It has never missed a beat. And every time I use it I'm glad I'm using IT instead of my built-in DVD writer. For the price, this baby just cannot be beat.
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