BDA: 50GB Discs Here To Stay

In early September, Sharp Corp. announced it had developed a process for fitting up to 100GB of data on one Blu-ray Disc, double the current 50GB.

Not to be outdone, TDK Corp. in Japan Oct. 6-10 reportedly will show off its new process for fitting 320GB on one disc, squeezing 32GB on each of the 10 layers of the disc.

But don’t hold your breath for a complete TV series on one Blu-ray any time soon, cautions Andy Parsons, SVP of corporate communications and new product planning for Pioneer and chair of the Blu-ray Disc Association promotion committee in the United States.

“I think there will be applications for larger capacity recordable discs, but it would be difficult for [discs larger than 50GB] to achieve compatibility with the installed base of players,” he said. “This is because player manufacturers design players to meet published specifications that define maximum media capacity, which in the case of Blu-ray Disc, is 50GB on two-layer media.”

For now, higher-capacity Blu-ray Discs from companies such as Sharp and TDK will likely stay in the recordable media realm and won’t be found among the read-only published discs sold at retail, Parsons suggested.

He said future Blu-ray players could support higher capacity Blu-ray Discs, “much as how tape formats such as VHS gradually added higher recording capacities that were playback-incompatible with older decks.”

“But interestingly, virtually all published content in VHS was released in two-hour SP mode, since it was the lowest common denominator among the installed base of tape decks,” he added. “Pretty much any VHS deck could play pre-recorded movies regardless of their age. This is synonymous with my argument for the longevity of 25/50GB Blu-ray Disc media for publishing.”