Sharp and TDK are doubling down on Blu-ray disc storage capacity, each introducing a prototype capable of storing up to 100GB of data, up from the current standard of 50GB. The prototypes make use of a four-layer disc, up from the present maximum of two, and are capable of recording data at 72Mbps, again double the current level of 32Mbps.
While TDK hasn’t disclosed its underlying technology, Sharp’s advancements come from the substitution of dielectric film used for recording data on a Blu-ray disc with aluminum oxynitride. Sharp also makes use of a pulse operated blue-violet semiconductor laser with an optical output as high as 500mW. The laser’s oscillation wavelength of 405nm is capable of writing at 8x speed on three- and four-layered Blu-ray discs.
While the prototype technology holds promise it’s speculative at this point. The Blu-ray Disc Association, which sets the standards for Blu-ray discs, has specifications only for single- and dual-layer discs. Without an adjustment to the standards it doesn’t make economic sense for Sharp or TDK to move beyond the prototype stage. And even if they did the sad fact is current Blu-ray players aren’t able to handle anything over 50GB.