HD-DVD & Blu-Ray soon to be blown away

United States
December 6, 2006 7:35am CST
Holographic Versatile Disc (HVD) is an optical disc technology still in the research stage which would greatly increase storage over Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD optical disc systems. It employs a technique known as collinear holography, whereby two lasers, one red and one blue-green, are collimated in a single beam. The blue-green laser reads data encoded as laser interference fringes from a holographic layer near the top of the disc while the red laser is used as the reference beam and to read servo information from a regular CD-style aluminium layer near the bottom. Servo information is used to monitor the position of the read head over the disc, similar to the head, track, and sector information on a conventional hard disk drive. On a CD or DVD this servo information is interspersed amongst the data. A dichroic mirror layer between the holographic data and the servo data reflects the blue-green laser while letting the red laser pass through. This prevents interference from refraction of the blue-green laser off the servo data pits and is an advance over past holographic storage media, which either experienced too much interference, or lacked the servo data entirely, making them incompatible with current CD and DVD drive technology. These discs have the capacity to hold up to 3.9 terabytes (TB) of information, which is approximately 6,000 times the capacity of a CD-ROM, 830 times the capacity of a DVD, 160 times the capacity of single-layer Blu-ray Discs, and about 48 times the capacity of standard computer hard drives as of 2006. The HVD also has a transfer rate of 1 gigabit/s. Optware was expected to release a 200 GB disc in early June 2006, and Maxell in September 2006 with a capacity of 300 GB and transfer rate of 20 MB/s. Since the announcement, there have been no further news or products on market. The standards body Ecma International is leading the standard setting group for HVD, and expects to submit a proposed standard to the International Organization for Standardization for ISO approval, around December 2006.
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