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

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 @05:00PM (#31740836)

    Highly unlikely this is intended for movies. This is almost certainly designed for backup storage only. Given the exceptionally low penetration of BD on computers, it's fine.

  • 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 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?

  • by WiglyWorm ( 1139035 ) on Monday April 05, 2010 @05:08PM (#31740964) Homepage
    And yet, we nerds keep buying the "latest greatest" technology and enabling them. Remember when people used to say paid DLC would never catch on because we were to used to free patches? Same basic principal, certain people gotta have it, though, and that's what gives these companies the ability to keep pushing incompatible the time frame for designed obsolescences shorter and shorter.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 05, 2010 @05:11PM (#31741006)

    Don't forget that any media sales that the market wont bear will be blamed on piracy =/

  • by causality ( 777677 ) on Monday April 05, 2010 @05:12PM (#31741030)

    Highly unlikely this is intended for movies. This is almost certainly designed for backup storage only. Given the exceptionally low penetration of BD on computers, it's fine.

    Had there been no format war I doubt this would be the case. Apparently they haven't learned that lesson and now we again have two competing formats. In terms of customer adoption and marketshare, this deserves to fail in order to send the message to companies that "useless format wars" == "financial losses". What else would provide a strong enough incentive for them to cooperate long enough to reach agreement on a single good standard?

  • 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.

  • Wallet voting (Score:2, Insightful)

    by OopsIDied ( 1764436 ) on Monday April 05, 2010 @05:26PM (#31741244)

    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 become obsolete and a waste of money

    Don't let Sony think these kinds of practices are acceptable.

      it's good that they're coming up with higher and higher capacities so often, good for those that need them, but releasing incompatible hardware with the intent of it replacing existing hardware in wide use so often shouldn't be something normally done.

  • by causality ( 777677 ) on Monday April 05, 2010 @05:30PM (#31741302)

    Hopefully since these are both proposed by the same association, they'll pick one to go ahead with before any hardware is on the market. They won't want to be competing with themselves, they just want to shop both formats around a bit and see if there are any bites.

    The problem is that if this association is one single block of harmony, it would be quite rare among trade groups. That there are two formats already tells me that there are at least two factions within this association who disagree about design decisions. If they don't come to a consensus before hardware is manufactured it will be their declaration to the rest of the world that they are not only too stupid to learn from history, but could not even learn anything from extremely recent history.

  • 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 causality ( 777677 ) on Monday April 05, 2010 @05:35PM (#31741392)

    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 nomadic ( 141991 ) <nomadicworld AT gmail DOT com> on Monday April 05, 2010 @05:41PM (#31741492) Homepage
    Remember when people used to say paid DLC would never catch on because we were to used to free patches?

    Nope. I don't remember that. They've had game add-ons for decades, nothing particularly crazy about selling it online.
  • 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.

  • by Enderandrew ( 866215 ) <enderandrew AT gmail DOT com> on Monday April 05, 2010 @05:45PM (#31741574) Homepage Journal

    Sony sets prices on their movies, but Sony Pictures isn't exactly Disney, Fox, Warner Brothers, etc.

    Sony doesn't control ALL movie prices.

    You also completely contradict yourself. You suggest Sony is part of some massive conspiracy because it is in their best interest to have high prices, and then immediately after say it is in their best interest to have low prices.

    Retailers ultimately set prices. And most retailers are being stupid because Amazon is massively undercutting them.

  • 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.

  • Re:Wallet voting (Score:3, Insightful)

    by foxtyke ( 766988 ) on Monday April 05, 2010 @05:47PM (#31741596)

    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, a lot more people are getting the same way. If there's no explicit reason to change something, don't upgrade, don't buy it and just support what you like or use and save the money for supporting that, it is cheaper in the end anyways.

  • by VTI9600 ( 1143169 ) on Monday April 05, 2010 @06:00PM (#31741782)
    There are lots of companies I like that have really good track records. Sony is not one of them. Next time I make a joke, I'll be sure to come up with a detailed list of companies, subsidiaries, corporate officers, etc. that are the target of said joke. That'll make it waaay better.
  • 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.

  • by RobDude ( 1123541 ) on Monday April 05, 2010 @06:20PM (#31742088) Homepage

    I don't mean this as a personal attack against you; but I see this sort of thing a lot and it always annoys me.

    You've got this big 'evil'/'greedy' entity that everyone seems to agree is out to make money, even if that means screwing over the customer. And it's normally not just one evil/greedy thing; it's a whole lot of them, fighting, to get customers (to screw over) because really, all they want is money.

    But then, in the same breath, we get people (like you) who seemingly have found a BETTER business model - that would get the company MORE MONEY. I mean, it's not like these big evil/greedy things don't have full-time employees whose job is to come up with ways to get more money. Because, apparently, even if they've managed to beat out all the other evil companies to get a monopoly on the industry - they are also stupid. And you have found a much better model. That not only makes them more money; but makes the customer happier.

    People use this argument against CDs and the RIAA ("Yeah man - they like totally should sell CDs for like a dollar!") or ("Yeah man, I'd totally pay to download this stuff I'm downloading illegally - if it were like 25 cents - plus they'd make more money!")

    People use this argument when they pirate software ("Yeah - well, lolz, like I'm gonna pay $50 dollars for a game? Pssh! They should just make it $2 dollars and they'd like totally get a ton of money and I'd buy it then!")

    I guess I just find the argument hard to believe.

    I'd guess they have some pretty smart people who spend a lot of time deciding what the optimal pricing strategy is.

  • Re:goatse (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DJRumpy ( 1345787 ) on Monday April 05, 2010 @07:54PM (#31743122)

    This summary is misleading. There is little need for more capacity given the current specs for HD and the current utilization on a typical BD movie. These disks will target storage, and the only people who would need to upgrade would be those that needed these higher density disks. It was known before the spec was certified that higher capacity media would be in the pipe. That was one of the strengths of BD-Rom; it had lots of room to grow.

    From TFA: "In general, the two new formats will be geared toward broadcast and document archiving, both industries that need to record and store massive libraries of digital content. But consumer versions will be available, 'particularly in those regions where BD recorders have achieved broad consumer acceptance,' the BDA said."

  • by CottonThePirate ( 769463 ) on Monday April 05, 2010 @08:11PM (#31743286) Homepage
    I remember buying mission packs at the store for the original Wing Commander series, must have been 1992 or 93. The difference to me is that with modern games (Looking at you bioshock 2). I really didn't feel like I got my $60 worth, and then right away they are pushing expansions. I feel like the value eqaution has changed.
  • by pastababa ( 1747148 ) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @01:12AM (#31744960)
    It takes years to develop new technology and formats. Maybe back when they started developing the new format , 100GB & 128GB was "revolutionary". But other technology like Hard Drive and flash memory had caught up with them that fast, which they did not foresee. Now that you've already spend the time and money on R&D, what do you do? Throw the whole thing into the trash bin or put it out to the market while there is still a chance to recoup the R&D cost and possibly make some profits?
  • by Vectormatic ( 1759674 ) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @02:49AM (#31745362)

    which still are hit-miss when you want long-term storage.

    In 2003 i burned a few CD-Rs, in 2005 those same discs where degraded to the point where i couldnt use them anymore (software installation, so like a backup, a few corrupted files screws the whole thing). These discs where stored horizontally out of direct light.

    Granted, they werent the best discs, but when the use case involves "put disc in cabinet, wait 10 years", then i wouldnt really be all that confident that optical writeable media will work all that well

  • by ColaMan ( 37550 ) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @03:52AM (#31745534) Journal

    The problem is that if you want to make a Blu-ray player, you need Sony's blessing in the form of licensing agreements.

    China, don't fail me now.

    (waits impatiently for the first Sorny All-in-one Blu-ray player to hit the market)

  • by Aceticon ( 140883 ) on Tuesday April 06, 2010 @08:04AM (#31746488)

    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 see the industry going a little bit farther and doing it a lit bit more (hi Ubisoft) all the while more and more people get bit by it - eventually only the really dumb people will be asking "How high?" every time the entertainment industry says "Jump!".

    [PS: The latest and greatest fad is 3D movies. Here in the UK they're pushing it really hard, even with 3D TV channels. I expect all the suckers^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hearly adopters that just 3 years ago went for new HD TVs (at the time replacing their "HD Ready" TV sets that turned out not to have HDMI connections) to rush to get the new 3D TV sets. Hopefull some people learned a lesson or two in the meanwhile and will wait in the sidelines]

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