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Using an Optical Drive with Your Tablet PC

written by: •edited by: Aaron R.•updated: 3/31/2011

While you have little chance of getting a Blu-ray drive to run with an Android tablet, it's a different matter entirely with a Windows tablet PC!

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    Can I Connect My Tablet PC and Blu-ray Drive?

    As new types of computer are made available to buy it isn’t unusual to wonder “what if…?"

    “What if I connected this keyboard to that tablet?"

    “What if I plugged this cable into this USB port, would the tablet PC do that…?"

    Tablet computers come in two main groups: those that are derived from laptops (the true tablet PCs) and those that are derived from mobile phones (iPad and Android devices, often referred to as “slates").

    The tablets that have their roots in mobile communications are less likely to handle expansion beyond the usual dumb USB (and if you’re lucky, HDMI) whereas a full price tablet PC running Windows 7 will have the ability to act as a host to USB devices.

    As such, if you have an external Blu-ray drive it should connect to your tablet PC.

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    Connecting External Blu-ray Devices

    If you’re hoping to connect a Blu-ray device to an Android tablet, then the chances are you are going to have to wait. While it might be a great way to enjoy HD movies on your slate, you best bet is to rip the Blu-ray disc and copy the data from your PC to your Android tablet (the same would be true of an iPad).

    Things are a lot simpler for owners of Windows tablet PCs, as external Blu-ray drives are quite common and can be connected to your tablet via USB cable.

    Such devices typically cost around $100, and since they are USB devices, they come with the necessary driver software built in – you can literally plug and play without any concerns over compatibility.

    Also note that some devices use the e-SATA connector, so these should only be purchased to use with a suitable tablet PC. If your tablet PC doesn’t have an e-SATA connector, then you should either swap your drive for one with a USB connector or find an ExpressCard expansion card with an e-SATA adaptor.

    As with a USB Blu-ray drive, a device with an e-SATA connector can simply be plugged into your tablet PC and will be immediately detected and ready for use.

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    Tablets with Built-In Optical Devices

    Connecting a Tablet Pc with Blu Ray Drive Meanwhile you might find that your tablet PC features a built-in optical drive that you want to swap with a new Blu-ray device. While there is some standardization among laptop components, it would be unwise to rush into purchasing such a device unless you knew exactly which tablet PC model you were using.

    Tablet PCs – and we’re thinking typically of hybrids here, that double up as notebooks or laptops – should feature a clip on the underside of the chassis for releasing the installed optical drive (typically a DVD-RW device) and the connection standard your chosen Blu-ray device will need to match this.

    As such, check with your manufacturer’s documentation or online support pages to find out if there is a suitable Blu-ray device for your tablet PC. Connecting such a device will simply be a case of slotting it into place.

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    Source: Author's Own Experience