Sharp launches first 100GB Blu-ray disks and drives

Sharp has launched the first 100GB Blu-Ray disks based on the BDXL format, announced last month by the Blu-ray Disk Association.

The VR-100BR1 triple-layer Blu-ray Disc media (write-once) will be available in Japan from the end of this month; no pricing has been given. There’s also no word as to when it will hit the rest of the world.

It conforms to the new BDXL format specification, which extends storage capacity to 100GB, twice the capacity of existing dual-layer discs.

The new format enables the recording of around 12 hours of terrestrial digital TV broadcasts or eight and a half hours of BS digital TV broadcasts.

A ‘hard coat’ process applied to the disc surface is designed to form a protective barrier coating to protect data from scratches and dirt that could cause read and write errors.

The disks aren’t much use without a player, and Sharp has also launched the world’s first BDXL drive. It will be included in two new Aquos recorders which will also support planned quadruple layer disks with a capacity of 128GB and 3D Blu-rays.

The Sharp BD-HDW700 and BD-HDW70 Blu-ray Disc Recorders will also be available in Japan at the end of July.

The launch comes as research outfit ABI predicts that Blu-ray player shipments are likely to hit 62.5 million next year. ABI forecasts an 18 percent penetration rate amongst TV owners in the US, up from just seven percent in 2009.

“The solid growth in Blu-ray player shipments highlights a trend within the wider consumer electronics market,” says analyst Mike Inouye.

“Larger, fixed-location devices such as Blu-ray players and flat panel TVs are enjoying rapid adoption relative to many classes of small, portable devices.”