BD-XL is a recordable Blu-ray disc format consisting of multiple layers with a current disc capacity of 100 gigabytes. It adds a third recording layer and boosts storage in contrast with its single and dual layer predecessors. These older BD formats could hold 25 gigabytes and 50 gigabytes respectively. The inner diameter of the BD-XL is 24 millimeters, the outer diameter measures 118 millimeters. These discs are available in 2x and 4x speeds.
A high capacity prototype of BD-XL was in development and testing nearly a decade before its commercial release. In 2002, a 100 GB model was created in Taiwan. TDK developed a quadruple layer version that was intended for commercial viability by 2007, yet did not occur.
Only in 2010 did Sharp Corporation release the first BD-XL, known as the VR-100BR1 to the public in Japan on July 30, 2010. A market launch for the United States and other global markets has yet to be determined. Additionally, a format size of 128 gigabytes and four recording layers is a permitted standard for future Blu-ray XL discs.
The 100 gigabyte Blu-ray format translates to a storage capacity of approximately 12 hours of terrestrial digital television or just over 8.5 hours of satellite television. In simpler terms, a user could store up to 11 television shows from a series on a single disc, which equates to an entire season in some cases. In addition to home entertainment uses, industries with archiving needs including healthcare and finance may find the 100 gigabyte capacity suitable as it may require fewer discs to take up valuable physical storage space.
BD-XL has a notable hard coating that shields the disc from extraneous elements like fingerprints, scratches and dust which can undermine its writing and recording quality. The coating also serves to help with on-disc printing and labeling. Writing with water or oil-based pen can occur up to the boundary of the 24 millimeter center hole.
BD-XL lacks backward compatibility with current and past hardware including computer drives as well as home entertainment players and recorders. However compatible Blu-ray devices were released simultaneously to the Japanese market with the VR-100BR1 discs: the BD-HDW700 and BD-HDW70. This hardware is a part of Sharp's AQUOS series and possesses the ability to record and playback 100 GB Blu-ray discs. Backward compatibility with older Blu-ray media formats as well as DVDs and CDs is a standard function for these models. Their one terabyte and two terabyte hard drives can also playback Blu-ray 3D discs.
TDK Corporation, a global optical media leader will compete with Sharp in the 100 GB Blu-ray market with a release of their own version of BD-XL, expected to hit the commercial market in the fall of 2010.
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