updated 07:40 am EDT, Mon April 5, 2010
Blu-ray capacity to double again this year
The Blu-ray Disc Association on the weekend unveiled new versions of its optical disc storage to push the capacity past its 50GB limits. BDXL adds the option of third or fourth layers and can permit as much as 128GB of storage on a burnable disc; the extra capacity would be intended for video pros and others who need large amounts of removable storage. Rewritable discs would top out at 100GB.
A secondary format, Intra-Hybrid Blu-ray Disc (IH-BD), would give users a way of customizing a disc but keeping some data permanent. One of the 25GB layers would be a full BD-RE surface that could be re-recorded, but a second would be read-only. An app, game or even a movie with special features could reference custom files stored on the disc.
Since current Blu-ray drives are physically incapable of reading beyond a second layer or of switching disc types between layers, both BDXL and IH-BD will need new drives that can recognize their formats. Official specs should reach drive makers in the next few months and should result in new drives shortly afterwards.
Members of the Association include computer builders like Apple, Dell and HP as well as those that make the drives themselves, such as LG, Pioneer, Samsung and Blu-ray originator Sony.