Sony is about to start selling the industry’s first 128 GB write-once BD-R XL optical media. The discs will also be the first quad-layer BDXL media formally aimed at consumers, but bringing benefits to professionals that use BDXL today.

Although the general BDXL specifications were announced back in 2010 for multi-layered write-once discs with 25 GB and 33.4 GB layers, only triple-layer BDXL discs with a 100 GB capacity (generally aimed at broadcasting, medical, and document imaging industries) have been made available so far. By contrast, quad-layer 128 GB media has never seen the light of day until now.

As it turns out, increasing the per-layer capacity of Blu-ray discs (BDs) to 33.4 GB via a technology called MLSE (Maximum Likelihood Sequence Estimation) was not a big problem, and most of today’s BD players and optical drives support the BDXL standard. However, increasing the layer count to four while ensuring a broad compatibility, signal quality across four layers, yields, and some other factors slow downed release of 128 GB BDXL essentially by eight years.

In a bid to build a viable quad-layer 128 GB write-once BDXL disc, Sony had to design three new materials. First, the company had to create a new recording alloy that would provide the right combination of reflectance and transmittance to ensure that the layers can “reflect” data bits when needed while allowing the 405nm laser to pass through them when another layer is accessed. Then, Sony had to develop a new inter-layer material (called dielectric) that would also be able to transmit light waves. Finally, because with four layers the first one has to be located closer to the disc’s surface, Sony had to design a new protective coating for the media.

Sony will start shipments of its BD-R XL 128 GB media on the 10th of November. Single-disc packages (BNR4VAPJ4) will retail for ¥1,500 ($13), a pack of three (3BNR4VAPS4) will cost ¥3,900 ($34), whereas a pack of five (5BNR4VAPS4) will be priced at ¥6,000 ($53). The discs should be compatible with drives supporting the BDXL spec, though a firmware update may be needed regardless.

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Sources: Sony, PC Watch,



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  • xiaohongshu - Sunday, May 1, 2022 - link

    Nice post😎👍 Reply
  • xiaohongshu - Sunday, May 1, 2022 - link

    Nice post😎👍 Reply
  • npz - Friday, November 9, 2018 - link

    My experience of cheap commodity NAND USB flash and SD has been not good. They don't last. If anything the SD can be tricky to evaluate since they use a full processor inside to hide things from you. Almost certainly most will die if left in cold storage for many years. *Good* optical media is great and currently the only means of archiving cold stored digital media. That's why companies like Millenniata exist with their M-DISC Reply
  • npz - Friday, November 9, 2018 - link

    And by cheap removable flash not lasting, I don't just mean outright dying, but also unreliable operation. I started to suspect even seemingly reliable drives, so I used md5 checksums between source file on disk and copied filed on flash and what do you know -- mismatch! Even though the drive read the file reliably from the OS point of view Reply
  • CiccioB - Saturday, November 10, 2018 - link

    This doesn't sum up.
    If the OS can read the file correctly, the md5 check must be the same. Otherwise you have a corrupted file, which means a corrupted file system which could (but not necessarily) mean a defective physical media.
  • npz - Saturday, November 10, 2018 - link

    Nope, OS reads only cares that the disk completes commands. It doesn't check the contents of the blocks. That's why filesystems like ZFS, BTRFS, ReFS exist.

    Yes, defective physical media i.e. flash that becomes silently corrupted on its own unbeknownst to most people is what I'm implying here.
  • Samus - Monday, November 12, 2018 - link

    Flash\NAND memory has decent retention if kept in ideal environmental conditions (low humidity, temperature, and light)

    But modern NAND is becoming pretty bad with retention. TLC\QLC are rated in single-digit years for shelf-life. Optical media is rated in double, and even triple digit years for shelf-life.
  • p1esk - Friday, November 9, 2018 - link

    I wonder if it's suitable for distributing future 8k movies. Reply
  • Lolimaster - Friday, November 9, 2018 - link

    Optical media is dead till they bump again the capacity to 100-150GB per layer and each disk at $3-5. Reply
  • nandnandnand - Saturday, November 10, 2018 - link

    This weaksauce disc would have been impressive over a decade ago. Now we could use holographic media capable of storing petabytes. Reply

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