100 GB Blu-ray and other fantasies

100 GB Blu-ray and other fantasies

Summary: Sharp's new 100 GB triple-layer Blu-ray player is a notable technical achievement - and it is reasonably priced. Only one question: who cares?

TOPICS: Mobility, Hardware

100 GB triple-layer Blu-ray is a notable technical achievement. Only one question: who cares?

Sharp's announcement of new 100 GB Blu-ray players and recorders shows there's life in the Blu-ray market. Or that vendors are gluttons for punishment.

The new player, due in Japan at the end of this month, is reasonably priced at $58. Recorders not so much: starting at $2300.

The 100 GB 3-layer format is a BDXL standard, so other vendors will announce new players soon.

Who? Sharp expects that consumers will buy TV series on BDXL: up to 11 shows on a single disk with no degradation in quality. That's an advantage over the 5 or so you can get today on Blu-ray. Or the 3 or so on lower quality DVD.

Maybe 3D will drive adoption - if and when 3D proves it has a popular market. If it comes, BDXL will be ready.

Blu-ray adoption Blu-ray is popular on big-budget, effects-laden Hollywood movies like Iron Man or Dark Knight. But not so much on smaller character-driven flicks.

I saw this up close when my local video store liquidated. DVDs at $1.00 were flying out the door, but Blu-ray dramas at $2.50 weren't. All the Blu-ray blockbusters were snapped up at $10 while the rest languished.

People have the Blu-ray players, but not the desire to buy most movies in the format. They must not see the value.


The Storage Bits take Normally more storage capacity is a Good Thing. But as the history of floppies, Zip and Orb removable magnetic media shows, it isn't enough to salvage a lost market.

BDXL's 2x increase over 50 GB Blu-ray doesn't change the underlying dynamic: people aren't willing to pay much more for Blu-ray.

Blu-ray's value to the media industry is that will allow them to keep selling physical copies and check the power of the download providers like Netflix and the iTunes store.

There will always be collectors like me who want physical media. But we're a shrinking percentage of the market.

If Hollywood wants to keep selling disks - and with the rapid demise of rental shops they should want that very much - they have to give up their Blu-ray profit fantasies. The goal is not higher profits: the goal is to keep the physical media business alive.

Comments welcome, of course.

Topics: Mobility, Hardware

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  • SSD

    Very soon we will see fixed SSD and thumb drive type devices with non erasable movies on them. Gone will be the old mechanical disk players with their various formats. We will only need a small adapter which might also can accept an external hard drive to watch movies.
    • RE: 100 GB Blu-ray and other fantasies

      @MoeFugger I like the idea but suspect that will be a few years away due to the cost advantage that optical has over flash. Dual-layer Blu-ray is perhaps $2 a disk in quantity - or ? 4?/GB. Flash is ?$2/GB.

      That differential won't close for 5 years or more.

      R Harris
      • Actually, he was talking about SSD

        That will turn your comparison into a worst case for SSD ..... since today they cost about $5 per GB in small factor.
      • Not necessarilly flash. But rewritables will be a waste of money

        @R Harris
        I not sure if there are cheap read-only technologies other than flash, but I would expect that read only might be easier to make if there were a big enough market for them, like for movies.

        However, rewritables for blueray are expensive, to the point that 2.5" or 1.8" HDDs might be cheaper per GB and offer bigger capacities.
  • RE: 100 GB Blu-ray and other fantasies

    Single layer Blu Ray is today at around 8p/Gb by 50 pieces
    Double Layer cannot be found easilly in such packages and are thus far more expensive, around 40p/Gb and can almost only be found individually.

    Single layer DVD blank media are at 4p/Gb
    Dual layer are at 6 to 10p/Gb

    HDD are good for data duplication for support failure protection, but not for archiving. Blu Ray, given the cost of LTO archiving solutions, are a very good solution for small structures, and 100Gb disks, if readily available would completely change the landscape in practical terms
    • RE: 100 GB Blu-ray and other fantasies

      100 GB is a reasonable chunk of storage for small archival use and surveillance. The trick will be getting the recorder prices down to less than $200 from the current nosebleed level, along with the media.

      Without consumer volume sales it is hard to see how they will do that. I'd like it to happen though so I wish them luck.

      R Harris
  • RE: 100 GB Blu-ray and other fantasies

    Yes, I'm not clear on why a solid-state, read-only USB media hasn't taken the industry by storm. I personally hate optical media - way too hard to handle.
    Is it because you can't fit a fancy movie poster on the front of a USB drive? ;-)
    I realize the drive sizes (for writeable) USB drives is still barely able to hold an HD movie (at least at reasonable prices), but I keep thinking that if the industry wished it, a cheaper, write-once version could be designed for less money.
    But then again, streaming audio/video may become the norm. (Although physical media will always be needed I think).
  • Isn't it ironic...

    ...that the movie industry that fought so hard to keep first VHS and later on DVD copies of movies out of our hands is now using that technology to fight the move to digital downloads? Didn't we also go through this with music?

    Physical media is dead, but it will be a slow death. I still buy CDs and DVDs, but in far fewer numbers than in the past. I have so many other options available that I simply see little reason to keep spending my money on physical media that will be outdated and useless within a few years (yes, even BluRay). The movie industry needs to learn from the mistakes made by the music industry and fully embrace digital downloads, both over the internet and via kiosks utilizing flash devices and cheap home players.
  • What a surprise: Another anti-Blu-Ray rant

    Robin: The liquidation sale has nothing to do with reality. Who even goes to video stores these days anyway (to even know there is a liquidation sale)? Mostly people stuck in DVD land, I suspect.

    I, for one, completely avoid buying ANY standard DVDs anymore. Every purchase is Blu-Ray, if I'm going to buy something. It doesn't matter if it's a drama or action flick, why purchase a lo-res movie that appears to be out-of-focus/fuzzy due to low resolution? If you're just looking for something to play on a small screen, they make super-affordable downloadable versions for that.
    • RE: 100 GB Blu-ray and other fantasies

      Was I ranting?

      R Harris
      • RE: 100 GB Blu-ray and other fantasies

        @R Harris
        No you were making a perfectly reasoned argument to which I agree 100 %. Speednet IMHO is wasting his money and I think he/she need spend it on an eye doctor. None of the regular DVD's I view on my BluRay player are either out of focus or fuzzy.
    • RE: 100 GB Blu-ray and other fantasies

      @Speednet You must have one of the first gen Blu Ray players - most sold within the last few years have an up converter so there is really little difference between DVD and Blu Ray quality... or more to the point the DVD is NOT fuzzy and out of focus.
  • Good luck

    Although I was a fan of HD-DVD because of its lower prices for hardware and disks, I'm still hoping there's some way that BluRay survives. Even for those character-driven movies I prefer, there's a BIG difference in detail and color saturation as compared to HD available in pay-per-view formats.

    It may be too late. After missing out on those DVD licensing fees, it was important to Sony that they win the next one. They won it, but at such great expense that it's not a very enticing option.

    I don't think it's particularly attractive for other forms of storage. Even if the cost per bit is lower than hard disk, time for backup begins to matter a lot more for huge quantities of data. Hard disks win.
    • RE: 100 GB Blu-ray and other fantasies

      Agree on the download/Blu-ray quality issue - which just confirms that most people don't see much difference - and on the superior ease of use of hard drives.

      Now if the drive vendors would start building archive-quality HDDs. . . .

      R Harris
  • Why another spinning disk?

    Why not solid state? Why not overnight download? The last thing I want is more hardware, especially on my laptop, where I want fewer moving parts, not more.
  • RE: 100 GB Blu-ray and other fantasies

    Wow! ZDnet Team what a great story R.H (an2 Max)^Man up all men want more ;)