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100GB discs point to 4K Blu-ray

An announcement by Singulus Technologies, a maker of replication machines that produce Blu-ray discs, points toward a new standard for 4K Blu-ray.

The Singulus Bluline II (above) is designed to produce 3D Blu-ray discs. The company has just announced a version designed to produce 4K Blu-rays.

A physical media standard for next-generation 4K video now looks closer than ever.

A German optical disc replication equipment maker by the name of Singulus Technologies has announced details on a new machine, the Bluline III, capable of manufacturing triple-layer Blu-ray discs that can store up to 100GB.

"The triple-layer Blu-ray discs with 100GB storage capacity, is the preferred playback medium for the new 4K technology" reads the Singulus release.

The current Blu-ray disc standard used by most home video releases supports capacities up to 50GB.

The announcement of machines capable of delivering higher-capacity pressed discs comes prior to any official word from the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA), the industry coalition that's currently discussing a new standard for 4K Blu-ray in its committees.

But as rightly points out, the new Singulus machines are as solid an indicator as any that an official 4K Blu-ray format is on the way soon: "After all, there would be no other use for a machine capable of manufacturing factory-pressed 100GB discs if a hardware update was not imminent."

The last such major announcement of a Blu-ray specification by the BDA was December 2009, when the association revealed the 3D Blu-ray spec. Plenty of 4K news is expected around the time of the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show in January, which seems a natural time for the BDA to make 4K Blu-ray official, absent any delays.

Sony's proprietary video player notwithstanding, lack of content is one of the major knocks against 4K. With the 4K-friendlier HDMI 2.0 standard finally official, and numerous new 4K sets hitting the market at ever-more-affordable prices, the industry's pumps are primed to address that lack.