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'BDXL' 128GB Blu-ray Disc Standard Unveiled

Gordon Kelly


'BDXL' 128GB Blu-ray Disc Standard Unveiled

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)


April 6, 2010, 2:25 pm

this little sentence really stands out for me

'BDXL will require new hardware to run'


April 6, 2010, 3:09 pm

Having finally made the (reluctant) jump to Blu-ray after the Hi-Def format war was won. I find myself more annoyed that Blu-ray won the war. How are they going to sell this to the gullible consumer? Buy more tech/hardware. Yeah right. Are they going to buy my Sony Profile 2.0 player from me and give me a new one? Your having a laugh Sony et al. Having already made the jump, it feels like I shouldn't have bothered and bought online or in store, but downloaded. Well done for irritating your loyal and legal source of revenue and pushing them towards the not so legal.


April 6, 2010, 3:12 pm

The biggest issue being that there will likely be 100m PS3's eventually, who is going to be happy upgrading that???


April 6, 2010, 3:49 pm

No real surprise there in terms of the new hardware. Whether it will be a success when it is released will come down to whether we have and internet infrastructure in place by then that would supplant it. Unless we have the optical cabling in place downloading large files will only be for the few that can afford it in their homes. Incidentally, it's also the reason why I don't think the OnLive service can be successful in this particular period in time.

Chris Beach

April 6, 2010, 4:20 pm

Well this will never make it to consumers (not for movies at any rate).

Already people don't know the differences between blu-ray and dvd or region 1,2,a,b,c. And now they are planning a blu-ray and a blu-ray2? How the hell are they going make that clear on the already packed packading?

Given the miniscule (in comparison) size difference, and the lack other enhancements I guess most people would rather just have multiple disks than having to buy a new (and still far more expensive than dvd) player.

snoop 7

April 6, 2010, 5:02 pm

New hardware required? I'll pass for now. Blu ray is still a niche market, that is why such new variations in the format is still plausible for the likes of Sony et al. Having spent a lot of money on my stand alone Blu ray player I will not be considering another hardware change for some time.


April 6, 2010, 5:13 pm

I think there's already been a bit of over-reaction. For high definition films, the current 50GB discs are more than enough. The 128GB (and more eventually) are really only going to be useful for 3D Blu-ray and ultra high definition, which could be years away.

HDRE and others, Blu-ray will be around for at least a decade in it's current form. If past DVD players are anything to go by, you'll probably have replaced your player once or twice in that time! By the same measure, DVD developed over the years, component, progressive scan, HDMI upscaling etc., so no technology stands still. You'll still have to upgrade/replace at some time in the future, even if it's just hardware that wears out!

I'm not convinced that 3D will be a consumer success. It may be a cinema success though, so your Blu-ray investment will be sound for a good few years yet AND software prices will continue to fall, so it's not all *bad* news!


April 6, 2010, 5:21 pm

Suddenly paying to download movies doesn't seem such a crazy idea.

Why pay money for players that are out of date after a few months? Why pay obscene amounts of money to own a disc?

3D TV will never take off, especially as most people don't have much money and many millions have only recently bought a shiny new LCD TV in the last year or two.


April 6, 2010, 5:51 pm

Simple: ONLY buy the lower priced blue ray players for watching BD movies. 3D is only worth watching on mega cinema screens and then only if they are made to James Cameron's standards. HDD recorders/tivos etc for time-shift viewing. Likewise for SD upscaling use DVD-HDD recorders like the Panasonic's and Sony's. Why pay a £1k for upscaling as for Philips 46PFL9704H!!!

By the time the time (2012 hopefully) the 500GB BD standard is agreed so too will the 3D will have been sorted and sufficient 3D catalogue too. By then your HDD recorders/tivos would be ready for replacement.


April 6, 2010, 6:09 pm

'BDXL will require new hardware to run' => niche product for the forseeable future.


April 6, 2010, 7:04 pm

If you're rich enough to afford a 3D capable TV and a few sets of 3D glasses for your family, then i'm sure throwing a new blu-ray player into the mix won't be too much hassle.

I still like 2D though, it's pretty good.

meeto 0

April 6, 2010, 8:07 pm

I cant believe some of you, including the writer of this post seem to be leaning towards a download only age.

Look at the examples we have. nintendo want you to re buy all dsi ware games if you upgrade your ds. You cant lend or borrow files. Serious price fixing would arise due to lack of competition.

As silly as it sounds its more comforting having hard copies that i can touch


April 6, 2010, 8:24 pm

A lot of intelligent points raised here. I've seen discs that were filled with multiple copies of the same clips which almost doubled the movie size to fill 50GB. Whether its lazy authoring for Commentaries, or part of copy protection, it really shows that a 3 hour movie itself can easily fit onto 50GB, including commentary. Any other junk can be placed on a second disc. Its great to know that technology continually improves, as long as regular blu-ray continues to be supported and gets cheaper.


April 6, 2010, 10:02 pm

media = dead


April 7, 2010, 1:10 pm

Some other points - technology is always changing. If a PC (for example) is on the general market, then it's out of date....

The price will drop - used to pay over £100 for a DVD player not that many years ago, now basic models are available from the supermarket for £15...


April 7, 2010, 4:39 pm

I have to agree with the comment made above ( niftynigel), in that I'm not sure 3D is going to be the success manufacturers hope it will be. After all, who really wants to have to don a pair of special glasses just to watch a film/programme? ( I certainly don't!). In my opinion, unless someone comes up with a way to watch 'active' or 'passive' 3D images without wearing glasses or any other visual aids, I think it's going to be a flop!What I would really like to see is manufacturers copying Panasonic's example and chuck out some blue ray disc recorders with built in HDD's. But I guess we're only going to see that happen when the industry like Freesat etc. start building their HD channels and the copyright is lifted or changed so as to allow at least copy once to disk


April 7, 2010, 10:52 pm

3D is just a cinema gimmick, and a new reason to "go to the cinema". Back in the 50's etc, going to the cinema would be a big deal because you'd get to see a movie in colour, and on a huge screen. Nowadays, 3D is the modern version of that, a reason to go to the cinema.

I really don't see 3D coming to mainstream tv. And all those ps3 owners, me being one, would be incredibly irritated.

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