The heart of tech

This article was published on July 19, 2010


    Sharp To Sell 100 Gigabyte Frisbees

    Sharp To Sell 100 Gigabyte Frisbees
    Michael Klurfeld
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    Michael Klurfeld

    Michael Klurfeld is a Chicago-based musician and technologist specializing in legal happenings and public policy. You can find him on Twitte Michael Klurfeld is a Chicago-based musician and technologist specializing in legal happenings and public policy. You can find him on Twitter here, or send him an email here.

    Sharp, a Japanese company perhaps best known for making televisions and other home electronics, announced that it would soon be selling recordable Blu-ray discs that can store 100 GB of files. That’s about forty-five 720p movies on a single disc.

    The breakthrough that allows this is the development of the BDXL format, which can go above 100 GB writable discs. BDXL adds extra recordable layers to the discs themselves – while standard Blu-ray discs hold around 50 GB and feature two recordable layers, BDXL allows for up to four. The specification goes further than what Sharp will initially offer: 100 GB rewritable discs and 128 GB single-write discs.

    The downside in all this? Blu-ray is still an expensive technology for the end user. Sources say that the 100 GB discs could retail for between $55 and $60 when they finally do launch. And that’s not to mention the cost of a Blu-ray drive if you don’t already have one: a quick Amazon search shows that Blu-ray burners still cost around $150 and up, whereas a standard DVD burner goes for closer to $30.

    But perhaps the main opposition to Blu-ray as a standard format is that it’s still far too expensive per byte when compared to other forms of backup. For on-site file storage, you can get a 1 TB external drive for less than $100. To get that capacity even from these new Blu-ray discs, that’s a price difference of over $400. Plus all computers support USB 2.0 and can use that 1 TB drive. Still, having 100 GB on a portable disc might be worth it to some people. The discs will be available in Japan on July 30. Sharp has not announced any other launch dates.