Sharp today introduced two new Aquos Blu-Ray disc recorders -- BD-HDW700 and BD-HDW70 -- into the Japanese market, both of which support the new BDXL format.
The BDXL format allows for far greater storage than with regular Blu-ray discs, up to 100GB on triple-layer discs (compared to 50GB), and up to 128GB on quadruple-layer discs.
Sharp's drives are the first in the world to support both recording and playback of BDXL media, and also come with 1TB (HDW70) and 2TB (HDW700) of hard drive capacity. Both drives will be available in Japan on July 30, 2010, with no word on when the company plans to ship these stateside.
It's official folks, the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) has finalized the release of the specifications for BDXL. What this means is that manufacturers can now grab licensing information and licensing applications needed to begin producing Blu-ray media with up to 128GB of capacity.
"The BDA worked diligently to create an extension of the Blu-ray Disc format that leverages the physical structure of the design of the disc to create even more storage capacity," said Victor Matsuda, Blu-ray Disc Association Global Promotions Committee chair. "By using the existing Blu-ray technologies, we have created a long-term and stable solution for archiving large amounts of sensitive data, video and graphic images. We expect further growth of the Blu-ray Disc market as the introduction of 100GB/128GB discs will expand the application of Blu-ray Disc technologies."
It might be awhile before these super high capacity discs see any kind of mainstream use. In this early stage, BDXL discs will be used in commercial segments like broadcasting, medical, and document imaging enterprises with heavy archiving needs, the BDA says.
50GB Blu-ray disks aren't exactly what I'd call "cramped", but just in case you thought the existing spec was getting a bit long in the tooth the Blu-ray association has released a new standard today that will bump capacities up to 128GB (write-once) or 100GB (rewritable). The new format which will be called BDXL sounds promising, but unfortunately won't be backwards compatible with older hardware. I suspect this little caveat will hamper its adoption pretty heavily, but is great to see that optical storage isn't dead yet.
Video applications for BDXL aren't exactly clear at this point, but it's unlikely the 3D craze that's sweeping the media industry is to blame. Existing disk capacities seem to be holding up quite well, so it's likely this will be phased in slowly over time without the vast majority of users even noticing. The new disk technology goes three to four layers deep on the disk, and a more powerful laser requirement is the reason you'll need to upgrade to get it.
BDXL is also expected to be phased into PC consumer grade optical drives over time, but I suspect flash drives will continue to suck the wind out of adoption for this as a backup medium.