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Blu-ray Proposes Incompatible BD-XL and IH-BD Formats 252

Posted by Soulskill
from the it's-that-time-again dept.
adeelarshad82 writes "The Blu-ray Disc Association announced upcoming specifications for high-capacity write-once and rewritable discs. The BDA proposed two new formats, BDXL, the name given to new 100GB and 128GB discs; and IH-BD, a so-called 'Intra-Hybrid' disc that will incorporate both read-only and rewritable layers. Specifications for both disc types will be published during the upcoming months. Both formats will be incompatible with existing hardware; however, new players designed to take advantage of the new formats will be able to play back existing Blu-ray discs, which are available in both 25 and 50GB capacity points."
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Blu-ray Proposes Incompatible BD-XL and IH-BD Formats

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  • by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Monday April 05, 2010 @04:59PM (#31740800)
    How many Blue Ray players am I supposed to buy before they stop coming up with new formats? I bet they keep this sh!t up until the next video format wars. Asshats.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 05, 2010 @05:05PM (#31740910)

      FTFA:

      "Professional industries have expressed a desire to find optical disc solutions that enable them to transition away from magnetic media for their archiving needs."

      Not that anyone expects you to RTFA.

      • by Anpheus (908711) on Monday April 05, 2010 @06:41PM (#31742360)

        Why? Hard drives are fantastic, 1TB for $100 and have superior read/write characteristics. Why worry about WORM when you can digitally sign the data and replicate it offsite cheaply without having to invest in niche burning and changing equipment that would be necessary to switch away from hard disks?

        Switching to optical media is like switching to tape. Unless you're already invested, I don't see why you'd want to get involved there.

      • by Grishnakh (216268)

        The BDA is going to have to do a lot better than a measly 100 or 128 GB if they want to make a viable alternative to magnetic media. You can buy cheap 1TB hard drives for $75 these days, and I doubt these new BD discs are less than $7.5 each. Plus, hard drives are fast, and you don't have to swap them out as often with their huge capacities.

        • by dgatwood (11270) on Monday April 05, 2010 @10:06PM (#31744110) Journal

          And remember that as usual, by the time these things hit the market, hard drives will be comically larger. I commented on this problem way back when Blu-Ray came out. Basically, the comment was that 50 GB capacity would be great because I could back up my entire hard drive on just three or four discs, but that by the time they were actually available at a reasonable price, they would be worthless. They're still not affordable as a backup medium and at 50 GB apiece, it still would take nearly an entire 25-pack mini-spindle to back up my home machine (not to mention taking 12 hours with somebody swapping discs twice an hour).

          It was the same story for DVD-Rs, and CD-Rs before that. The only difference in this case is that the format is already obsolete in terms of capacity and was just proposed. Anything short of a terabyte disc capacity at this point is a complete joke, and is a pretty clear signal that the optical media format is likely to fall further and further behind hard drives on the cost-capacity curve. In short, optical discs as currently designed are unlikely to ever be a viable backup medium. (Well, maybe holographic optical or something, but certainly not any optical discs that are remotely similar to what we have today.)

          For anything other than distribution of fixed content (movies, computer games, etc.), optical media doesn't make sense, and those types of content really don't have much need for larger and larger capacities beyond a certain point.

          Stick a fork in it. Optical is done.

    • by DragonWriter (970822) on Monday April 05, 2010 @05:18PM (#31741114)

      How many Blue Ray players am I supposed to buy before they stop coming up with new formats?

      The succession of newer, higher capacity formats stretches way back before blu-ray. Personally, I think that the fact that, since CD-ROM, there's been a focus on allowing older media to play in newer devices is a good thing.

      • The succession of newer, higher capacity formats stretches way back before blu-ray. Personally, I think that the fact that, since CD-ROM, there's been a focus on allowing older media to play in newer devices is a good thing.

        I agree. For most people, this is no different than the transition from CDs to DVDs, they are just trying to leverage the branding by sticking with the BD in the name.

        What's worse - BD-XL with backwards compatible hardware or trying to read a 5.25" floppy disk on a 3.5" floppy drive?

    • by Jeng (926980)

      Depends on how many of the players can be firmware updated to deal with the formats.

      The two formats they are talking about appear to be in pipedream stage. They will be obsolete before they are released, if they are released at all.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by causality (777677)

        Depends on how many of the players can be firmware updated to deal with the formats.

        The two formats they are talking about appear to be in pipedream stage. They will be obsolete before they are released, if they are released at all.

        No joke, and that's why I am having a hard time understanding the point of this. If you are just now going to start designing a new optical disc format, why only 100-128GB? Why not use ultraviolet lasers (or whatever else it takes) and aim at a 1TB optical disc? That way, by the time you have gone through the design, engineering, manufacturing, and marketing stages and finally bring a product to market, it will have a useful quantity of storage for backup and archival purposes.

        • by BobMcD (601576)

          You've honestly never suspected 'planned obsolescence'?

          • by causality (777677)

            You've honestly never suspected 'planned obsolescence'?

            I certainly did. Sometimes my intention is to raise a question and see if others independently come up with the answers that occurred to me. At least, I sometimes do that in cases like this, where no one has evidence either way so all of this is speculation.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by DragonWriter (970822)

          If you are just now going to start designing a new optical disc format, why only 100-128GB? Why not use ultraviolet lasers (or whatever else it takes) and aim at a 1TB optical disc?

          Because neither is really intended as a completely new optical disk format, they are incremental updates of Blu-Ray for specialized needs, where it is assumed that continued use of existing blu-ray disks in the same devices is important. One is essentially "BD-ROM plus BD-RW", the other is "High capacity BD-ROM".

          • by causality (777677)

            If you are just now going to start designing a new optical disc format, why only 100-128GB? Why not use ultraviolet lasers (or whatever else it takes) and aim at a 1TB optical disc?

            Because neither is really intended as a completely new optical disk format, they are incremental updates of Blu-Ray for specialized needs, where it is assumed that continued use of existing blu-ray disks in the same devices is important. One is essentially "BD-ROM plus BD-RW", the other is "High capacity BD-ROM".

            True, but isn't that goal defeated by the fact that these new formats are already incompatible with existing players? If you are going to have to buy new hardware anyway, what's the point? A device that supports BD-XL/IH-BD with backwards compatibility for Blu-ray could also have been built to support a 1TB format with backwards compatibility for Blu-ray.

            • True, but isn't that goal defeated by the fact that these new formats are already incompatible with existing players?

              No.

              If you are going to have to buy new hardware anyway, what's the point?

              Expense, for one thing.

              A device that supports BD-XL/IH-BD with backwards compatibility for Blu-ray could also have been built to support a 1TB format with backwards compatibility for Blu-ray.

              Maybe, maybe not. The proposed "different wavelength laser 1TB" format from GGP would involve less common hardware between the new

    • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Monday April 05, 2010 @05:30PM (#31741304) Homepage

      Yeah, time to run out and buy all new stuff!

      Seriously though, I hope movie studios recognize that this is part of the reason their movie sales are down. It's not just piracy. It's a variety of reasons, but I believe one of the main reasons is that people who buy lots of movies are collectors.

      I say it as a collector: I don't really want to collect things that are transient in a way that makes them a huge money hole. Back in the day of VHS tapes, I bought a bunch of VHS tapes. When DVDs came out, I bought a bunch of DVDs, including repurchasing a couple of titles I had previously bought on VHS. Then came the MP3 revolution. I realized that it made far more sense to rip CDs to my computer so I could easily store, sort, and retrieve an enormous library, and I realized that those days would be coming for movies sooner or later.

      By the time DVD ripping become easy and commonplace, we were into the format wars. I might have bought DVDs and ripped them for my computer, but I knew HD was coming, and so I'd wait it out to see if Bluray or HD-DVD won. Then Bluray won, but it was still expensive and hard to rip. Then there's iTunes and Amazon to contend with, that save you the trouble of ripping and tagging, but aren't compatible with all devices. Now there's new and incompatible Bluray discs? The whole thing just keeps getting more and more complicated, and it's more and more clear that whatever movies I buy today I'll probably need to re-buy later. The only way that they could make me more unlikely to buy anything today is by announcing they'll release a new format in 2 years that supports higher resolutions and 3D displays.

      Sorry, it's a long rant for ideas that everyone has probably read before, but damn these companies need to get their crap together. They could stand to learn a thing or two from Gabe Newell [youtube.com] on copy protection.

      • by Ogi_UnixNut (916982) on Monday April 05, 2010 @06:06PM (#31741854) Homepage

        But that is the point. You (as a customer) are the antithesis of what they want. The want people to keep re-buying things all the damn time, in fact in an ideal word, the MPAA/RIAA would charge you for every time you set eyes on a movie or heard one of their songs. Failing that they probably would not mind a rental modal where people pay forever to be able to access the content. As such DRM is designed to fulfil these goals, which is why it ends up being so frustrating that enough people put their heads together to break it.

        Ideally they want the transition from one medium to another to be impossible. Failing that, making it so complicated that the majority of people just re-buy it all is an acceptable alternative. Once you realise this, why they implement DRM the way they do (or at all) and their general attitude make a lot more sense.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Aceticon (140883)

          Funilly enough, with both DRM and constant cycles of "here's the same thing again but now in a new and improved format" the Movies (and Games) industries are causing more and more people to get burned by going with DRM-restricted/new-format media and thus teaching even the less technology-savy people to be weary of both.

          Just like the GP, more people are thinking-through their buying decisions due to painfull memories of "what happened last time".

          Me, I'm sitting on the sidelines and aplauding every time I se

      • Minor point, but Amazon has never placed any restrictions on their MP3s, hence why I buy them.

        Now that I have bought them, I probably will have no qualms downloading FLAC versions of the albums if I ever want better fidelity. Same goes for my DVD and blu-ray collection. I have bought Star Wars on DVD as well as VHS - and I bought a couple of things on blu-ray after previously getting the DVD, but I suppose I may as well just get a decent sized HDD and rip or download copies of all the movies I own onto it i

    • How many Blue Ray players am I supposed to buy before they stop coming up with new formats? I bet they keep this sh!t up until the next video format wars. Asshats.

      If they don't compete with themselves, then some other alliance of companies comes in to produce high capacity discs.

      Screwed if they do, screwed if they don't.

    • by DrXym (126579) on Monday April 05, 2010 @05:44PM (#31741552)
      What are you talking about? If you had bought a profile 1.0 player you could still play discs which were profile 2.0, 3d or whatever. You'd miss out on the new functionality that your player would ignore but the movie would still play. Of course, new players are so cheap that I expect most people would probably go through at least 2 or 3 different players over the course of the lifetime of the format rather than stick with some crappy 1st gen player. In that regard it would be no different from DVD, or VHS probably.

      As for the new format, go ask the BDA what it's for, but I doubt they intended or expected it to supplant the existing and set-in-stone 25/50Gb disc formats. More likely it's for data storage or something exotic which has no bearing on consumer kit.

      • Shhhhh - you're cramping all the Sony haters' and sensationalists' styles with you logic and general lack of ignorance!

    • Since when did you think current Bluray was the final stage of development on optical disks? Most likely it's physically impossible to get old players to play new 100GB disks, they are just not built for that. On the other hand it makes sense that these new 100GB players will be able to play regular Bluray disks. Where is the problem? Your Bluray movies will keep on playing on all Bluray players, only when you want to have writable Bluray with 100GB capacity you need to buy a new player.

    • by nurb432 (527695)

      As many as they can make.. Feed the beast and be happy about it.

    • I'm just going to rip (cough-obtain) my movies and store them on my nice compatible hard drive. It's like they WANT to make it difficult to buy and play media. Who would have thought that screwing over the consumer was an actual marketing strategy.
  • by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Monday April 05, 2010 @05:00PM (#31740814) Journal

    HDDVD lost the format war because it had way too many syllables!

    Everyone! We've been Had! Blu-Ray is exerting its dominance by proposing 4 or more syllable formats, forcing technical speak to be less groovy and savvy, making it once again disasterous to be a nerd, instead of the hip trend Apple was starting.

    Quick, someone start an internet petition (because those always work) to rename the formats to something catchy!

  • by pandrijeczko (588093) on Monday April 05, 2010 @05:03PM (#31740870)

    Aren't writable optical disks pretty much dead these days?

    I've not used anything Blu-Ray yet but pretty much every PC and DVD player these days has USB ports into which you can plug thumb drives or external USB hard disks.

    And even for DVD-R disks, gigabyte for gigabyte hard disks are still cheaper, let alone for a new disk format where writable media is bound to be at a premium price initially.

    • by WiglyWorm (1139035) on Monday April 05, 2010 @05:05PM (#31740914) Homepage
      I bet you could burn an encryption key to the disk from the player itself, thereby locking it to a single player. The *IAA would gobble that shit up.
      • by Thaelon (250687)

        The trick is we make sure that the we and the people whose tech we oversee make sure that the people don't gobble that shit up.

    • Your looking at this from the point of view of a consumer.. From a media companies point of view, a single disk that can hold 100GB of HD disney movies, that your child will utterly destroy the first time you turn around, is a new revenue generator. You have to buy another disk, unless someone can finally will a lawsuit saying they should replace broken disks if they are really just a "license to use"

      • But why do you need a new format just to be able to do that? It's already the case with CDs and DVDs that you don't get replacements free.

        And whilst I do know what havoc kids can cause to digital media, this is still an extreme case - I would imagine the number of parents who re-buy movies because their kids destroyed the disks are a very small minority of the overall consumer base.

        • by phoenix321 (734987) * on Monday April 05, 2010 @05:50PM (#31741640)

          Nevertheless, the point still stands: when people buy a DVD of "Avatar", do they buy a physical product, a plastic shiny disc, that happens to have the movie "Avatar" on it, or do they acquire the license to watch "Avatar" in DVD resolution that happens to be accompanied with a plastic shiny disc?

          Movie studies are the owner of the licenses. They need to decide which kind of merchandise their product is.

          It's either a physical thing and then they have no say about how the customer uses it, but when it's damaged, it's gone - or they sell a license and the customer has the right to make a backup, not lend it, not publicly show it but get another copy if one gets damaged.

          Currently, they're trying to eat their cake and have it.

          • Yes, but you are still missing my point.

            Your statement totally applies to the existing DVD and Blu-Ray formats, I fail to see how additional licensing restrictions might be applied to a new writable format that is unlikely to see widespread adoption anyway since, byte for byte, it will work out to be far more expensive than a hard disk or thumb drive.

    • by nurb432 (527695)

      Its not about media cost or even common sense. These are the media giants, and their only goal is to screw the consumer.

    • by Neoprofin (871029)
      1 DVD-R = 4.7GB/$.18 = $.03/GB
      Harddrive = 2TB/$149 = $.07/GB

      1 DVD gets scratched = 1 DVD of data loss
      1 2TB Harddrive failure = the end of the world

      I still use harddrives for my backups, but it's because it's easier and less time consuming, not because it's inherently the cheapest method, especially for movie rips. (And yes, I should have priced out dual-layer discs too but this was already 30 seconds of shopping too many)
  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday April 05, 2010 @05:07PM (#31740934) Journal
    Because we all enjoyed the format war just that much and it didn't hamper adoption at all, they are now proposing a format civil war, where the two or more blu-ray factions fight to the death in a toxic stew of consumer confusion and apathy?

    Seriously?
    • Because we all enjoyed the format war just that much and it didn't hamper adoption at all, they are now proposing a format civil war, where the two or more blu-ray factions fight to the death in a toxic stew of consumer confusion and apathy?

      Seriously?

      No, they are proposing two different BD variants intended for distinct use cases that don't really overlap (one is a pure "higher-capacity storage" version, the other is a "fixed content plus rewritable"), both of which would be used on devices that would also

  • yay (Score:4, Interesting)

    by msclrhd (1211086) on Monday April 05, 2010 @05:12PM (#31741026)

    I like technology, but it seems to me that the media companies are pushing newer technologies faster than ever and are then wondering why they are performing badly. CDs, DVDs and other technology (hell, even colour television) took a while to take off, and it wasn't until the market was effectively saturated, and the technologies became affordable and commonplace, that other technologies were introduced.

    First it was High-Def and HDMI compatible vs compliant. Then it was HD-DVD vs Blu-Ray.

    Blu-Ray disks are finally starting to become affordable, but they come with the required HDMI upgrade of all your connecting audio/video hardware.

    With the RealD 3D televisions and associated content as well, especially with the competing players/technologies coming out soon after HD-DVD vs Blu-Ray, it is unclear how things are going to pan out -- for example, are there going to be 3D Blu-Ray disks that require new hardware?

    To me, the home entertainment hardware is looking fragmented, and will continue to become even more fragmented as time goes on.

    • by TheSync (5291)

      are there going to be 3D Blu-Ray disks that require new hardware?

      Yes, "full-resolution" 3D Blu-Ray discs encoded with H.264 MVC need new players, they are just becoming available, such as the Sony BDP-S470 and the Samsung BD-C6900.

      Some of the new 3D sets will be also able to use a side-by-side or top-bottom "half resolution" / "frame compatible" modes that are likely going to be used by satellite and cable providers for the time being. Some independents might release "half resolution" 3D content that work

  • Wallet voting (Score:2, Insightful)

    by OopsIDied (1764436)

    BD-XL = blu ray version of Super Audio CD http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_Audio_CD [wikipedia.org]
    Hopefully people will refuse to oblige Sony and instead let the new format remain uncommon, lest Sony finds the practice of removing features from customers' devices as the normal thing to do.

    -The PS3 has lost features throughout its life
    -If SACD had been widely adopted, regular CD's would've become obsolete and would've been a waste of money for consumers
    -if BD-XL and the like become widely adoped, regular blu-ray will be

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by foxtyke (766988)

      I already voted with my wallet, I'm sticking with DVD until they are done playing games.

      Haven't bought a new television for HDMI, haven't bought an HD-DVD or Blu-ray player and you know what? I didn't even buy a PS3, Wii or XBOX 360 for the same reason.

      You can't say its a standard or a feature and then change, remove or force me to upgrade anymore. I'm done with that stuff.

      I'm satisfied with my standard television, my standard DVD and my standard gaming on a PS2 (more of a PC gamer anyways) and what's more,

  • by VTI9600 (1143169) on Monday April 05, 2010 @05:28PM (#31741276)
    Kudos on your selection of the term "Intra-Hybrid" (simply being a hybrid is never enough) and an acronym with an "X" in it for marketing your new products. Also, congratulations on having the forsight to not allow these new media to be played on clearly obsolete Blu-Ray players while still selling them as Blu-Ray discs. However, the following concerns me:

    Specifications for both disc types will be published during the upcoming months.

    Don't you realize that publishing specs hurts your bottom line?!?!

  • by erroneus (253617) on Monday April 05, 2010 @05:46PM (#31741576) Homepage

    They will do pretty much as they please, especially when it comes to perpetual changes, "new patents" and royalties galore. I'm wishing HD-DVD won the war. I saw it coming with Sony pushing Bluray.

  • by PhantomHarlock (189617) on Monday April 05, 2010 @06:06PM (#31741868)

    Oh man. I thought we got away from this after we left the incompatibility of DVD-R/RW with most commercial video DVD players behind. Currently I can author my HD videos to Blu-Ray recordables and they play just fine on any Blu Ray player. Hallelujah. Fortunately I don't have much of a reason to use higher capacity discs, my videos aren't 6 hours long. At 12 GB / hr I can fit plenty on a stock Blu Ray disc. As a data application, this is probably OK, but hard drives are so cheap these days there's no point in doing optical backups. This might be used for 4k video and other very high end formats in the future, however.

    And if you say that there is no need for physical formats, you're wrong. At least in the USA, our level of broadband is not capable of delivering 25 mbits / sec video to the home, on demand and with everyone on your block doing same. With large LCD, plasma and DLP screens, that data rate makes all the difference in quality. Compare satellite HD to the same content on Blu-Ray and you'll see an enormous difference. Most Sat HD feeds I've seen are practically unwatchable due to compression artifacts.

    -M

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by josath (460165)
      I'm pretty happy with 720p movies that run around 5-10GB on my 55" 1080p LCD (ie, one DVD5 or one DVD9). The difference between 720p and 1080p is very slight to my eyes. Much smaller than the difference between DVD and 720p.
  • We already have HD video on Blu-Ray. I don't know any software package that needs more than 50GB of media (so there probably aren't that many). They say this is for archiving and backups? I switched to hard drives and flash drives several years ago because optical was such a waste and the rewritable ones were less reliable than USB memory sticks.

  • by AndreR (814444) on Monday April 05, 2010 @08:10PM (#31743262) Homepage

    ... for those extended versions of the Lord of The Rings that will finally be coming on BluRay next year.

    "Oh, this would have required so many discs with that old BluRay technology, you know, we just used these new BDXL discs and actually reduced the cost of the box set for you, the customer, by having less discs! Just don't forget to pick up one of those new players on your way to the cashier."

    I kid, I kid, they would never do such a thing.

  • by Billly Gates (198444) on Monday April 05, 2010 @11:21PM (#31744454) Journal

    They would never do anything like this.

    I mean I love that I can still use my old memory sticks

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