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Blu-ray Disc capacities hit 100GB

Sharp starts shipping high-capacity discs in Japan

The storage capacity of Blu-ray Disc format doubling, with companies including Sharp, TDK and Verbatim preparing to launch new discs that can store up to 100GB of data.

Sharp will start selling the first Blu-ray disc with 100GB capacity in Japan on Friday, the company said in a statement. The VR-100BR1 disc can be written on only once and conforms to the BDXL format specification, which was announced in April by the standards-setting Blu-ray Disc Association.

TDK last week said it would start selling 100GB Blu-ray discs in September, according to a statement on the company's website translated using Google Translate. Hardware company Verbatim on Thursday also announced it would ship 100GB Blu-ray discs next year.

Blu-ray discs today come with storage capacities of 25GB for a single-layer disc, and 50GB for a dual-layer disc. The 100GB disc adds a third storage layer for extra capacity. Media based on the BDXL format in theory will be able to offer storage capacity of up to 128GB with a fourth storage layer.

But BDXL media will not work on traditional Blu-ray drives available today, so users will need to purchase new drives. Sharp has also announced new Aquos BD-HDW700/BD-HDW70 Blu-ray disc recorders that will record data on the 100GB discs. The recorder will also become available in Japan starting July 30.

Blu-ray discs are best known for movie distribution, but the BDA is aiming the BDXL format at new applications such as data backup and high-definition video storage. BDA argues that higher-capacity media isn't needed for movies, as 50GB is enough even for 3D high-definition movies based on the Blu-ray 3D format.

Like DVD+/-RW drives, BDXL recorders could be used to archive sensitive data, video and images. The recorders will write to discs at a 2x to 4x speed and could also be used in set-top boxes to record broadcast TV.

Sharp and Verbatim said that their 100GB media will contain coats to protect data and prevent scratches. Pricing information and worldwide availability were not immediately available from Sharp or TDK.


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