Sharp has become the first company to launch a Blu-ray disc based on the BDXL specification announced in April by the Blu-ray Disc Association. The company's new triple-layer VR-100BR1 disc can house up to 100GB of data, which doubles the capacity of the existing 50GB dual-layer discs and is enough for around 12 hours of terrestrial digital TV broadcasts or 8.6 hours of BS digital broadcasting.

As we mentioned when BDXL was unveiled, the updated format requires a new Blu-ray reader/writer, which Sharp is offering with the BD-HDW70 (1TB of built-in storage) and BD-HDW700 (2TB HDD). Along with being 3D-ready, those devices should also be compatible with the quad-layer 128GB BDXL discs in development by Sharp and presumably others.

The 100GB VR-100BR1 discs should begin shipping in Japan on July 30 for 5,000 yen or approximately $58. Meanwhile, the company is charging around $2,300 and $3,500 for the above-mentioned players.