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New Blu-ray Discs Store Up to 128GB Per Disc

Soon, users at home may have a safer alternative to storing their backup data on magnetic hard drives. The Blu-ray Disc Association  has released a press statement highlighting new format enhancements of the Blu-ray technology, including discs that store up to 128GB.

Within the next few months, two new media specifications will hit the market: BDXL (High Capacity Recordable and Rewritable Discs) and IH-BD (Intra-Hybrid discs).

The BDXL specifications will allow a write-once option, and come in both 100GB and 128GB capacity discs, as well as rewritable capacity on 100GB discs. The storage jump is due to an increase in the number of layers the discs can record on. The commonly seen single-layer Blu-ray discs currently hold 25GB, while slightly more obscure (and pricey), but readily available dual-layer Blu-ray discs can hold up to 50GB.

The Intra-Hybrid Blu-ray Disc is designed to allow users to write to the disc via an application, while not being allowed to overwrite critical date. The IH-BD will incorporate a single BD-ROM layer, and a single BD-RE layer, and provide up to 25GB of capacity.

“Professional industries have expressed a desire to find optical disc solutions that enable them to transition away from magnetic media for their archiving needs,” said Victor Matsuda, Blu-ray Disc Association Global Promotions Committee chair.

With businesses and home users ever increasing the amount of data they need to store, the new Blu-ray formats could offer consumers a safer alternative to magnetic drives that can crash and lose data. But there is a catch.

“Because both BDXL and IH-BD are specially designed formats with specific market segments in mind, newly-designed hardware is required to play back or record BDXL or IH-BD media,” according to the press release.

Although the future hardware will be backward compatible, existing Blu-ray devices will not recognize the discs.

A recordable Blu-ray single-layer disc can cost $15 or more, while dual layer discs can run $25. No word yet on the cost of the new discs.