FujiFilm is planning to begin sales of 16x DVD+R media and dual-layer DVD+R media from the fourth quarter this year in the US, the company said yesterday. Pricing details were not announced.

Their release will come as hardware manufacturers launch or prepare to launch drives supporting the dual-layer and 16x write speed technology.

The 16x discs offer a write and read speed advantage over existing discs when used with compatible drives. For example, supporting drives can write a complete 4.7GB disc in about 6 minutes, the company said. That's double the speed or faster than most current DVD+R drives.

The high-speed discs use an organic dye developed by FujiFilm that was announced earlier this year. The dye improves disc playback quality at speeds between 1x and 16x, better operational stability, is compatible with a wide range of existing hardware and extends the storage lifetime of data to over 100 years at room temperature, according to the company.

The dual-layer discs offer users a second recording layer on which to store data but at lower read and write speeds than the other new discs. DVD+R DL discs will have a capacity of 8.5GB, as opposed to the standard 4.7GB, and work up to 2.4x speed, FujiFilm said.

At present few drives supporting either the higher speed are available while a handful of drives for the dual-layer discs have been launched. This is expected to change quickly as many drive makers are promising products within the next few months.

One of the first companies to market with such a drive is BenQ. Its DW1620R drive is available through a small number of Japanese Internet shopping sites. The drive costs about ¥14,000 (£70) and supports both 16x DVD+R and dual layer DVD+R DL media at a speed up to 2.4x.

Other Taiwanese drive makers have been showing prototype drives at Computex and promised to launch them within the coming months. These Taiwanese companies specialize in mass-production and often supply their drives to other companies for sale under their customer's brand names. The start of mass production in Taiwan will likely lead to many new drives appearing on the market and them quickly becoming standard features or options in new personal computers.