Blu-ray Gets Bigger with 100GB BD-XL Discs

By · Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

Pioneer 100GB Blu-ray BD-XL DiscsIt was almost exactly a year ago that we wrote about the new high capacity optical disc format called Blu-ray XL. With three or more data layers on one side of a disc, we predicted that BD-XL discs would be the next “big” thing in data storage. Since that time, we have blogged about Pioneer’s BD-XL drive which was released in December of 2010, as well as BD-XL media from Sharp and Verbatim. Now, Panasonic is ready to release their own BD-XL media…with a twist!

The fact that these new Blu-ray discs from Panasonic hold 100GB of storage is pretty exciting, but what really makes these new discs special is that they are rewriteable! Unlike Sharp and Verbatim, Panasonic’s discs can be completely erased and rewritten time and time again.

You may be wondering what type of situation would require such a high storage capacity and also be rewriteable. In fact, I can think of several! Many newer digital SLR cameras are capable of recording HD video at 1080p, which consumes vast amounts of storage. Burning the videos on a disc may be one of the simplest and most convenient ways to store large video projects.

Another use for these massive discs would be professional photographers. Anyone who shoots RAW images is already accustomed to huge file sizes. When you combine that with prosumer cameras that have 15+ megapixel sensors, space starts to disappear quickly. With BD-XL, a photographer who shoots weddings or takes an extended vacation can dump several 16GB or 32GB memory cards worth of photos to a single disc.

As we have mentioned in the past, Blu-ray discs feature an extra hard-coated surface that makes them far more resistant to scratching and damage than traditional CD and DVD media. Blu-ray XL discs also feature this same coating, which is absolutely essential when storing such large quantities of data on a single disc.

Finally, corporate and enterprise users could make excellent use of these discs when performing regular system backups. The high capacity allows for storing email messages, databases, and server backups of hundreds or thousands of different users on a single disc. The ability to rewrite the discs on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis is extremely convenient when compared with tape backup systems because the information is instantly accessible.

Panasonic has announced that their new discs (SKU: LM-BE100J) will be on sale in Japan starting April 15th, 2011. Initially, the discs will cost about 10,000 JPY each, or about $118 US dollars. While that sounds like a lot for a disc, keep in mind that this is the beginning of a new technology for the industry. CD, DVD, and Blu-ray discs weren’t cheap when they first came out, either.

Over time, the price will come down as better manufacturing processes are developed and more companies begin manufacturing the high-capacity discs. It looks like Blu-ray XL is the next big step for the Blu-ray disc format. We’ll keep you updated on the BD-XL scene as more information becomes available.

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