In the ongoing history of technology, there will always be bigger and better digital formats coming along to try and dethrone the top dog. VHS won over BetaMax, and Blu-ray beat out HD DVDs—but who will beat out Blu-ray? Well if it's up to Sony, Blu-ray XL will. That's right, Sony's seemingly begun eating its own tail and releasing new Blu-ray XL discs that aren't compatible with current Blu-ray players (including the PS3!).
Blu-ray XL (BDXL) discs are definitely an improvement, offering a capacity of up to 128GB. Sony intends for them to be used in the professional sector—for medical imaging or broadcast media—but that doesn't mean it won't make it's way into our homes.
The increased capacity means that higher-quality movies (including 3D films) could fit on discs that are the same physical size we're used to. The extra space could also mean that seasons of TV shows could dwindle down from 5+ discs down to only two. That'll make our Netflix queue shrink down fast, huh?
But of course the advancement comes at a cost. Current Blu-ray player lasers aren't powerful enough to read the four readable layers on the BDXL discs (the compound layers are the reason for the added capacity).
Although we're a long way from having BDXL discs on our shelves, it's definitely something for consumers to think about. If you're still rocking DVDs and don't have a single blue box in sight (like me!), you might want to hold out on making the Blu-ray conversion in your house to see how this plays out. Otherwise, you risk being "that guy" with a shelf full of HD DVDs.