In April this year, the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) announced the final specifications for the new multi-layer recordable Blu-ray Disc format which can more than double the storage capacity of existing 50GB dual layer discs. The new BDXL format supports rewritable discs of up to 100GB and 128GB for write-once recordable discs. Looks like Sharp gets to claim bragging rights as the first company to release both media and hardware that supports the new standard – two new BDXL compatible AQUOS Blu-ray Disc recorders, as well as 100GB write-once BDXL format media to the Japanese market this month.

The new BD-HDW700 and BD-HDW70 Blu-ray Disc Recorders will support the recording and playback of BDXL conformant media, which includes triple-layer 100GB and quadruple-layer 128GB discs, along with the current 50GB dual-layer Blu-ray discs. However, the first BDXL format media Sharp will release is of the triple-layer 100GB variety, so we’ll have to wait a bit longer for the higher capacity, quadruple-layer 128GB discs.

The 100GB VR-100BR1 discs should be good for around 12 hours of terrestrial digital TV broadcasts (17 Mbps) or approximately 8.6 hours of BS digital broadcasts (24 Mbps). Potential users should note that, while current Blu-ray discs will play in the new BDXL players, BDXL discs will not work in current players.

The new AQUOS players also support the playback of Blu-ray 3D discs and come with two digital tuners and one analog tuner built in. Both players also feature a HDD – 2TB capacity for the BD-HDW700 and 1TB for the BD-HDW70.

Sharp will release both the BD-HDW700 and BD-HDW70 BDXL compatible AQUOS Blu-ray disc recorders as well as its 100GB VR-100BR1 media in Japan on June 30, 2010. Pricing details are yet to be announced.