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Wednesday, 28 July 2010 05:49

Blu-ray successor format to officially store 1TB on single disc

Written by Jon Worrel

blu-ray_logo  blue_violet_laser_logo

Sony develops next generation blue-violet laser

In case you were wondering about the future of optical storage after Blu-ray, including its handover to alternative flash-based formats, Sony has a statement particularly geared towards those wide-eyed cynics and pessimists from every corner of the Internet – by no means does the optical storage format plan to die anytime soon.

Even as Blu-ray continues to experience growing pains in a market overwhelmed with DVDs, a new report from the Examiner states that Sony is working in conjunction with Japanese researchers from Tohoku University to develop a next-generation “blu-violet ultrafast pulsed semiconductor laser” that will be able to store 1TB of data on a single optical disc.


The optical technology uses a new type of blue-violet laser that can generate pulses measuring in picoseconds, or one-trillionth of a second. In addition, the new semiconductor laser and semiconductor optical amplifier allow the output power to top 100 watts, or more than one hundred times the output of conventional pulse semiconductor lasers.

From the press release:

This latest successful development is an all-semiconductor laser picosecond pulse source with a laser wavelength of 405 nanometers (same wavelength as Blu-ray) in the blue-violet region. It is capable of generating optical pulses in the ultrafast duration of 3 picoseconds (1 picosecond = one-trillionth of a second), with ultrahigh output peak power of 100 watts and repetition frequency of 1 gigahertz. Advanced control of the newly-developed and proprietarily-constructed GaN-based mode-locked semiconductor laser and semiconductor optical amplifier have enabled peak output power in excess of 100 watts to be achieved, which is more than a hundred times the world’s highest output value for conventional blue-violet pulse semiconductor lasers.”

The two institutions noted that their system eliminated the need for a “bulky” light source and “specialist technician” to run previous lasers with similar qualities. “There are high expectations that this newly-developed semiconductor laser system, which incorporates semiconductor diodes, will be able to be used in a much wider range of applications in the future thanks to technology such as this, which enables the size of devices such as the light source box to be drastically reduced.”

Ryan Fleming from DigitalTrends notes that the battle for next generation optical storage is well underway, and it will be fierce. In April, the Blu-ray Disc Association released a press statement highlighting new format enhancements of the Blu-ray technology, including discs that could store up to 128GB. Less than a month later, researchers at the University of Tokyo claimed to have discovered a new, cheap and easily created material that could store up to 25TB on a single disc. The new 1TB format, in comparison, is expected to hold the equivalent of 106 dual-layer DVDs on a single disc.

Japanese news sources have also gone on record to give more quantified values to the laser announcement. The Daily Yomiuri Online wrote that the new optical format is expected to allow 20 times the storage capacity of a single layer Blu-ray disc. This makes sense, as a single layer Blu-ray disc holds roughly 25GB of data. The real question to ask in the near future will be in regards to the type of content distributed on the new optical format, and whether it will include any sort of “DRM-like” restrictions. Let’s just hope Sony has learned wisely from its past mistakes in digital content protection before the consumer electronics industry unleashes 4K (Quad-HD) video content to the masses.

Last modified on Wednesday, 28 July 2010 10:37

Jon Worrel

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-7 #1 Haberlandt 2010-07-28 07:47
So now we skip blu-ray?
-5 #2 JAB Creations 2010-07-28 08:19
Great! Can't wait to not adopt the new format because of collusion to keep burner prices above $200 several years after Sony could make a profit for selling them for $80. :sigh:

HD is okay though seriously overblown. This will mainly benefit people who have tons of data such as scientists, people who edit graphics, video, 3D, etc.

You can technically save an image of your OS install on a dual-layer DVD and most series in AVI/MKV format can fit on an entire dual-layer disc if not a single layer at acceptable quality. I might see the need to burn a disc or two to keep it unplugged from the electrical grid (see recent HardOCP lightening article) though that's about it.
+10 #3 LuxZg 2010-07-28 09:47
By the time they develop this, and by the time Sony drops prices to levels accepted by general public - there won't be need for such tech. Except maybe for distributing PS4 games :P

I'll skip BluRay, VioletRay, and any other similar tech Sony has to offer, as long as the burner+player+d iscs price keeps the per-gigabyte price higher than traditional HDD storage.
+5 #4 Morse 2010-07-28 11:10
That's great news blah blah blah, I dont think I am alone when I say I game and watch media pretty much exclusively from a pc hdd, as long as blu ray films can be ripped and uploaded thats how I will be viewing them.
Perhaps instead of investing so heavily in higher capacity discs they should invest in system similiar to steam which would allow consumers to buy and download films, I dont want to steal data but the reality is watching films straight from hdd is 100 times more convenient, the person who implements this system for a fair price has my money.
-1 #5 Bl0bb3r 2010-07-28 17:36
OD's are a dying cause... MAFIAA's lawsuits are prof of that.
0 #6 blandead 2010-07-28 21:57
i got a blu ray player on my pc for roughly 100$ a year or two ago.. rent them pretty cheap. the ones online are mostly cut down qualities so if you havent watched a good quality blu ray and you are comparing it to your downloaded 1080p mkv don't think its the same thing. Blu-Rays look much better on my HDTV, the problem are the discs they are too expensive to buy so if it the discs were cheap I think they would still be great. I mean PS3 image quality is that much better because of the blu ray disc. HDDS are cheaper but ive never seen a 1 TB xbox or ps3, just going to 500gb adds a couple hundred dollars right? Maybe this will cut disc cost for older ones who knows. interesting tho.
+1 #7 Naterm 2010-07-29 05:14
I still think any potential replacement for Blu-Ray is a long ways off. We're likely looking at another 7-10 years before this format or something similar emerges.

This actually excites me, a disc this large will be able to do 4K resolution. At 4K you get no loss of image quality from the film stock. I'm hoping, likely in vain, that the capacity will be used for higher quality video and audio instead of 3D.

Speaking of video quality, the 1080p/720p MKVs torrents are the best video quality you can get from a download. They still don't come close to Blu-Ray. Maybe it's more my Pioneer plasma's superior image quality compared to my H-IPS monitor, but there is a big difference. That's not even counting lossy vs. lossless audio.

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