Posted by: Kovács Péter | April 30, 2009

500GB Optical Disc Revealed By GE – The Next Generation Storage

General Electric has demoed an optical disc which can store up to 500GB of data. GE’s disc has the same size as conventional DVDs, but it can hold the equivalent of 100 DVD discs or 20 single-layer Blu-ray discs. The micro-holographic disc developed by GE represents the next-gen in optical storage, however, the company says that their discs will soon be ready to enter on the market and users will use players similar with DVD or Blu-ray disc players.

A single-layer Blu-ray discs can store between 25GB and 50GB of data like HD movies or just games which require a lot of space. The advantage of GE micro-holographic disc consists of the way it stores data. DVDs and Blu-rays store data on the disc’s surface, while GE optical disc stores data in three dimensions which opens up a broad range of possibilities. So far nobody managed to raise the holograms’ reflectivity on the discs which means that you cannot read or write the discs, however, GE’s breakthroughs will change this forever.

“Very recently, the team at GE has made dramatic improvements in the materials enabling significant increases in the amount of light that can be reflected by the holograms,” said Brian Lawrence, chief at GE’s Holographic Storage.

Now that the reflectivity hindrances have been overcome, GE can “develop” more capacity on the discs, and it seems like the technology will be compatible with conventional CD, DVD, and Blu-ray techniques. This means that micro-holographic disc players will be able to read CDs, DVDs, and Blu-rays.

“The hardware and formats are so similar to current optical storage technology that the micro-holographic players will enable consumers to play back their CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray discs. GE’s breakthrough is a huge step toward bringing our next generation holographic storage technology to the everyday consumer,” said Mr Lawrence in a statement,” said Lawrence.

For the moment GE doesn’t know when their optical discs will be available on the market. There are still some minor challenges that require attention. However, the company says that they are working with some partners so that the discs enter in mass production. I must say that I am very concerned about the pricing and GE ignores that. The company declined to comment which makes me think that the micro-holographic players will be very expensive, and the GE 500GB discs too. Wel’ll see about that, meanwhile check the video if you want some more information about the discs.

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