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.