BDXL Takes Blu-ray To 100+GB Territory, Backwards Compatibility Is Out

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News Posted: Sat, Apr 3 2010 4:39 PM
When it comes to storage and media, "big enough" never really is. Withthe amount of 1TB and 2TB hard drives on the market today, it's easy tosee that the demand for massive amounts of storage isn't fading soon,and even on the optical media side, there's an unyielding desire tocram more and more data onto the discs that we've used for years.Remember the early HD DVD vs. Blu-ray wars? One of the major fightingpoints was storage capacity, and Blu-ray had a huge advantage by beingable to store 50GB on a dual-layer disc compared to HD DVD's maximum of30GB.

But just a few years after release, it looks like the Blu-ray Disc youknow and love will be seeing an overhaul, and it won't make existing BDadopters very happy. The Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) today announcedtwo new media specifications that use Blu-ray Disc technology, and bothof them are far larger than today's maximum. The new formats are calledBDXL (High Capacity Recordable and Rewritable discs) and IH-BD(Intra-Hybrid discs), both of which are expected to be fully ready"within the next few months."



The BDXL specification, which is targeted primarily at commercialsegments such as broadcasting, medical and document imaging enterpriseswith significant archiving needs, will provide customers withwrite-once options on 100GB and 128GB capacity discs and rewritablecapability on 100GB discs. The discs are able to hold that much spacedue to added layers, but that will cause serious problems for existingBlu-ray players. Bottom line: current players won't be able to read orutilize these new discs, so there's a broken backwards compatibilitylink that will no doubt cause lots of debate from those who invested inBlu-ray just a short while ago. A consumer version of BDXL is alsoexpected, particularly in those regions where BD recorders haveachieved broad consumer acceptance. If movies begin to ship on both BDand BDXL, we could see digital distribution really taking off; whowants to deal with all of these physical format wars?



The Intra-Hybrid Blu-ray Disc (IH-BD) incorporates a single BD-ROM layer and a single BD-RE layer so as to enable the user to view, but not overwrite, critical published data while providing the flexibility to include relevant personal data on the same physical disc. This allows for consumer specific applications where combining published content with related user data on a convenient, single volume is desirable. Both the ROM and the RE layers on IH-BD discs provide 25GB of capacity. Here's the BDA's take on backwards compatibility:

"Because both BDXL and IH-BD are specially designed formats with specific market segments in mind, newly-designed hardware is required to play back or record BDXL or IH-BD media. However, because the new media specifications are extensions of current Blu-ray Disc technology, future BDXL and IH-BD devices can be designed to support existing 25GB and 50GB Blu-ray Discs."

We'll see how well this goes over with consumers. Something tells us "not well."


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Well good news is the new devices will be able to support existing Blu-ray Discs! :P

Lets see when they come out with a 1TB disc... Not sure what it would be used for but dam would technology has advanced...

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3vi1 replied on Sat, Apr 3 2010 6:04 PM

Pricing Blu Ray media, I can't see a device like this making sense to any normal consumer. It's just cheaper, faster, and more convenient to buy hard drives.

The only reason to own one of these would be if you're a content producer (or pirate) and want to distribute discs to a mass market.

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

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Well, BD-R 4x are going for 3~12GB a $, BD-R DL 2x for 1.9~4.5 a $, and BD-RE 2x 1~1.93GB a $ (4x around 1.25 a $). Keep in mind that to get the higher GB per $, your buying huge bulk (50~100 disk) or really off brand (often very incompatible).

HDD are in the 12~15GB a $ range as long as your looking at 1TB and up in size (1.5TB HDDs give the best ratio). Smaller then 1TB actually cost you more per GB. So, yes you are much better off buying another HDD for storage. Hell, buy a swappable external enclosure and a new 1~1.5TB HDD whenever you need more space. It'll be cheaper and a lot faster.

All of the above is to show that I agree with 3vi1 (and Sony sucks...).

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Joel H replied on Sat, Apr 3 2010 8:38 PM

A consumer version of BDXL is also expected, particularly in those regions where BD recorders have achieved broad consumer acceptance.

Where, exactly, would that be? I'm not poking at you, Ray, but at the idea. It's not enough. More to the point, it can *never* be enough. Look at the 1990-1995 period (when CD-ROMs first began to show up in computers), and hard drive capacity was running between $9 - 95 cents a gigabyte. (Yeah--it dropped *that* quickly). Even in 1995, however, those 80-95 cent drives only held 1GB which meant a single CD could hold almost the same amount of data as your average hard drive.

I'd peg 2000 as a decent starting point for DVD rewritable adoption. Hard drives are down to about $1.97 cents per MB, or $19.73 a gigabyte. Drive sizes are up into the 20-30GB range, which means a DVD doesn't hold anywhere near as much as a single drive (23 percent, assuming a 4.7GB DVD and a 20GB drive) but still holds far more information than any one program uses.

Modern 2TB drives are pushing below $150, which means that a hypothetical Blu-ray 100GB writable disc can hold just 4 percent of the data on a 2TB HDD. The medium simply hasn't scaled and there's no reason to think it's going to scale anytime soon. Disc media are inherently depressed because people view them as disposable--you burn a disc for backup, you burn a disc for transportation, you burn a disc for listening to in the car while the original stays safely ensconced in its jewel case.

There's another way to look at this. CD adoption was driven by the quantitatively superior audio experience it offered and by the unprecedented multimedia experience it allowed for. DVD adoption didn't deliver anything different on these fronts, but it refined multimedia from "bearable" to good. The reason Blu-ray hasn't taken off the same way is because the number of people who care about moving from "good enough" to "fabulous" is much smaller then the group that wanted to get off the weaksauce CD-ROM standard.

Optical media isn't dead--we'll collectively keep snapping up DVDs and Blu-ray discs as long as it's cheaper to press them than it is to bundle a flash drive, but optical storage as an expanding storage market is. I'm certain there are fringe cases and examples of industries that demand the particular characteristics of high-density optical storage mediums, but outside of those, there's just no need.

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sp12 replied on Sat, Apr 3 2010 9:35 PM

I'm underwhelmed, but at least this opens the option for 3D home movies, or multiple movies on one disk (like, say, the entire LoTR series).

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Devhux replied on Sat, Apr 3 2010 9:49 PM

The way I see it, it's not a case of backwards compatibility here. Backwards compatibility is more if a newer device can use older media (for example, a PS3 playing PS2 games) or a Blu-Ray player handling all your old DVD discs.

There's rarely been technology that's been prepared for upcoming media types. Early DVD players had problems with DVD-Recordable discs and dual-layer media. SD readers can't read SDHC cards, etc.

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Thats what i thought backwards compatibility meant and while reading this i was like wha? :)

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RyuGTX replied on Sun, Apr 4 2010 12:47 AM

People will probably make more of a fuss once this becomes more mainstream like putting movies or tv show seasons on it.

Wonder if Sony will swap out the Blu-ray drive in their PS3 for one that can handle this new format sometime along the road?

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greyad replied on Sun, Apr 4 2010 4:15 AM

this is just sick 100gb is too much

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"The discs are able to hold that much space due to added layers, but that will cause serious problems for existing Blu-ray players. Bottom line: current players won't be able to read or utilize these new discs, so there's a broken backwards compatibility link that will no doubt cause lots of debate from those who invested in Blu-ray just a short while ago."

Now I know my decision to wait on purchasing optical drives came from a good instinct; I was originally going to get a Blu-ray burner. Now I guess I might as well wait for a BDLX burner; although, I'll probably wait even longer to read a few reviews first. Two reasons I was thinking of going Blu-ray in the first place: 1.) If I have an HD monitor, and a video card capable of it, why not? and 2.) Blu-ray discs (at least the ones currently on the market) have an allegedly scratch-proof coating. Sounds like marketing hype to me, but if it's true it raises Blu-ray's status as an archiving medium.

"I can't see a device like this making sense to any normal consumer. It's just cheaper, faster, and more convenient to buy hard drives.

The only reason to own one of these would be if you're a content producer (or pirate) and want to distribute discs to a mass market."

I have to disagree. Sure, for pure data space, hard drives are much more cost-efficient: you can get at least a 1TB drive for the price of a Blu-ray optical drive. But, if my previous statement about their "scratch proofing" is true, they would be great for archiving things like family photos taken on a DSLR, or home videos shot with that new HD camcorder. With hard drives, the question is always "when," not "if" they will fail. SSDs are a different story, but they too are for now cost-prohibitive, and who drops down several hundred on an SSD just to use if for storage?

I also disagree with the "pirate" thing. I own all my games, but I rip the images so I don't scratch the CDs, and that as you can imagine takes up lots of space. If I used Steam, that would be a thing of the past, but for now I could really use the space of a few Blu-ray discs. Just one disc, even a 50GB single-layer, could hold between 5 and 10 games, maybe even more.

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realneil replied on Sun, Apr 4 2010 11:15 AM

InfinityzeN said:" Sony Sucks"

Boy-oh-boy is that spot-on!

I wonder if they ever figured out that TOTALLY undetectable rootkit that they were trying to develop? (we detected the last one) Are we all infected again and don't know it? Who can trust these jerks?

Now that they have won the HD format war you can expect your scheduled 'bleeding's' to continue. This is only just the first one of many down the 'rocky-road' of Blu-Ray.

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Kyouya replied on Mon, Apr 5 2010 2:23 AM

As a PS3 owner, I'm not too happy with the idea that it's not backwards compatible. This is just a money grubbing scheme to get people to purchase new blu-rays. I don't understand the reasoning of changing the blu-ray specs in almost a yearly basis. I blame HDMI for this. When we had the DVD format, I don't recall constant specification changes to be made. Am I wrong here?

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It is good that this is coming out. You will be able to backup mass amounts of data, freeing up HD space.

The more fun part will be when they figure out how to utilize these towards your video games. This will give texturing more than twice the available space for quality.

Then again this also might turn out to be another way to squeeze us into buying new players and burners? Or to buy new 2160p players and TVs! :o

It would be fun to see things like Gran Turismo5 in Higher quality than it is, or things like Halo with larger worlds and higher textures. I just hope they can implement this without raping everyone. Yeah Sony suck! What sucks even worse is that they own and produce every BD laser reader on the planet. So no matter what you buy the inside is still Sony. With that type of control they can Brick your PS3 after 2 years so you have to buy a new one.

This will probably be necessary for 1080p3D! which will double the space requirements. So I am sure When Avatar 3D rolls around Y'all will have to rush out and buy a new $500 player along with the New $60 HBDXL Deluxe Edition or the $90 Deluxe 3D Directors Edition! Did you wonder why all of the sudden the Blu-Ray players are now down to $170? Get ready for next Christmas folks!

This should prove very useful for HD Games and PC home theatres. Hopefully that market will see reasonable prices from the beginning. now if they could just come out with Star Trek in 2160p 3DHD, Or make a HD Star Trek game that doesn't suck!

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RyuGTX replied on Mon, Apr 5 2010 8:14 PM

Kyouya:

As a PS3 owner, I'm not too happy with the idea that it's not backwards compatible. This is just a money grubbing scheme to get people to purchase new blu-rays. I don't understand the reasoning of changing the blu-ray specs in almost a yearly basis. I blame HDMI for this. When we had the DVD format, I don't recall constant specification changes to be made. Am I wrong here?

 

Earlier post that I feel answers your comments.

 

Devhux:

The way I see it, it's not a case of backwards compatibility here. Backwards compatibility is more if a newer device can use older media (for example, a PS3 playing PS2 games) or a Blu-Ray player handling all your old DVD discs.

There's rarely been technology that's been prepared for upcoming media types. Early DVD players had problems with DVD-Recordable discs and dual-layer media. SD readers can't read SDHC cards, etc.

 

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