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Sharp announces first 100GB Blu-ray disc

Sharp is launching the first 100GB Blu-ray disc, and players that can handle them, later this month in Japan.

Blu-ray disc capacity just jumped substantially.

Sharp, a member of the Blu-ray Association, announced Monday that it's going to be the first optical disc maker to launch a new Blu-ray format that offers 100GB of storage space.

The existing dual-layer Blu-ray format offers a cap of 50GB per disc. The new format, called VR-100BR1, will use a new triple-layer standard that enables even more data to be squeezed onto the same amount of physical space.

According to Sharp, the VR-100BR1 disc is made based on the new BDXL format specification introduced by the Blu-ray Disc Association in April. This new format allows for a ceiling capacity up to 128GB for Blu-ray write-once discs and 100GB for the rewriteable format.

The higher amount of storage space is archived by increasing the allowed layers on a disc to four, up from two layers of existing Blu-ray discs.

Sharp's new VR-100BR1 Blu-ray disc will first be available in the write-once format and is capable of holding about 12 hours of terrestrial digital TV broadcasts or 8.6 hours of satellite digital broadcasts.

The company says the multilayer Blu-ray discs will be available in Japan later this month and cost around $60 apiece. Together with the new disc, Sharp will also releasing two players this month that can handle the new format--the Aquos BD-HDW700 and BD-HDW70.

It's unclear when this new Blu-ray disc and the compatible players will be available in the U.S.