The Blu-ray Disc Association has unveiled a new format that will boost the recordable capacity pf Blu-ray discs from the current 50GB to a whopping 128GB and a slap the moniker BDXL on the format.
Unfortunately, the new discs will not be compatible with existing Blu-ray players and are WORM (Write Once Read Many) media. The maximum capacity will be attained by doubling the maximum number of layers from two to four.
They will be destined towards a more corporate usage and may end up competing against more traditional tape format especially as the rewritable version will offer up to 100GB worth of storage space.
There will also be another format called the IH-BD for Intra-Hybrid Bluray Disc, which, as its name says, will offer both a 25GB WORM layer and a 25GB rewritable layer. The IH-BD format will be geared towards the consumer market.
The adoption by the BDA of a higher capacity Blu-ray comes as optical formats face the formidable threat of affordable high speed broadband that allow very large amount of data to be downloaded very quickly.
This is combined with the falling price of high capacity hard disk drives whose cost have been falling significantly over the past few years.
A 1TB hard disk drive for example barely cost more than £60 while a 50GB Blu-ray disk is likely to cost around £16 which is quite onerous.
Furthermore, dual layer DVD blanks, which can store up to 8.5GB, are still quite popular both because they are relatively cheap and because both players and recorders are readily available and widespread. We can't help but think that this is happening too late to become a major threat to existing formats.