Blu-ray Disc Association Unveils Higher Capacity Discs

Aimed at professional industries like broadcasting, the BDXL and IH-BD discs offer increased storage capacity and read-only and rewritable layers. The Blu-ray Disc Association said the discs will be available in a few months.

The Blu-ray Disc Association announced the upcoming release of the BDXL classification, which allows more than twice the amount of information than the previous generation to be stored on Blu-ray discs.

The association also announced that IH-BD, or "Intra-Hybrid," discs that offer read-only and rewritable layers, will be hitting the market in a matter of months.

Both formats are able to operate on current-generation Blu-ray players, the BDA said. Marketed toward commercial applications, the BDXL discs, which have a storage capacity of 128GB, are well-suited for broadcasting, the medical profession and industries requiring document imaging, the BDA said.
The discs reach these capacities by incorporating three to four recordable layers. A consumer version of BDXL is also expected. While the new discs will be compatible with older Blu-ray players, the BDA noted users would have to upgrade to new players in order to fully realize the potential of the BDXL discs. 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. A single-layer Blu-ray disc holds up to 25 gigabytes of data, and a double-layer Blu-ray disc holds up to 50 gigabytes of data.
The IH-BD discs incorporate 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 single volume is desirable. Both the ROM and the RE layers on IH-BD discs provide 25GB of capacity.
"Professional industries have expressed a desire to find optical disc solutions that enable them to transition away from magnetic media for their archiving needs," said Victor Matsuda, the BDA's global promotions committee chair, said in a statement. "Leveraging Blu-ray Disc to meet this need provides professional enterprises with a compact, stable and long term solution for archiving large amounts of sensitive data, video and graphic images using a proven and widely accepted optical technology."
In January, Sony and Panasonic announced a data evaluation technique that could boost Blu-ray's storage capacity to 33.4GB per layer from 25GB, resulting in a total storage capacity of 66.8GB. The companies developed a technology called i-MLSE (Maximum Likelihood Sequence Estimation), which improves optical quality while reading or writing discs.