Quite frankly, I'm surprised it has taken this long...
Five years after the TDK unveiled a 100GB Blu-ray disc and two years since Pioneer's 500GB prototype, the Blu-ray Disc Association has announced an official 128GB standard dubbed called 'BDXL' (for obviously reasons).
Possibly with Avatar in mind (and ever more densely packed Blu-ray 3D discs), the final specifications for BDXL and the 'IH-BD' (Intra-Hybrid discs) the standard will run on will be announced "in the next few months". Read-only discs will offer the full 128GB of capacity with writeable and re-writeable discs coming in at a lower, though still sizeable 100GB.
The caveat? BDXL will require new hardware to run as the manufacturing process (which combines a single BD-ROM layer and a single BD-RE layer of 25GB, which are then doubled up) is incompatible with the lasers in current Blu-ray players.
Consequently, the Blu-ray Association is to aim BDXL at business sectors first and it is likely to be some time before it passes down to consumers. Mostly probably this will be when the BDA thinks consumers may start looking for a second generation player. The content to justify larger discs will also need to be there.
So a step in the right direction, though I can't help but think optical media - with its large footprint and easily scratched surfaces - is already feeling somewhat archaic. Then again the price freefall of USB drives has slowed recently and ultra fast broadband still isn't widely available enough and affordable enough for the mainstream so I guess they'll be here for a while yet...
Press Release (Pdf warning)