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Super-Capacity Optical Disc Proposed

Kanagawa, Japan — As proponents of the Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD formats battle for dominance in the high-definition optical disc war, six companies have announced the development of a next-generation format that promises up to 1 terabyte of storage capacity on a DVD-sized disc.

The technology, which is called Holographic Versatile Disc (HVD), will be promoted by an HVD Alliance represented by six founding companies, including: CMC Magnetics, Fuji Photo Film, Nippon Paint Co., Optware, Pulstec Industrial and Toagosei Co.

HVD is based on holographic recording technology to record data on discs in the form of laser interference fringes, enabling existing discs the same size as today’s DVDs to store more than one terabyte of data (200 times the capacity of a single-layer DVD), according to a statement announcing for the format.

By comparison a forthcoming Blu-ray Disc will hold 25GB of data on a single-layer or 50GB on a dual-layer disc. HD DVD discs will store 15GB and 30GB on single and dual-layer discs, respectively. Today’s standard DVDs hold 4.7GB on a single layer.

The system will deliver a transfer rate of over 1 gigabits per second — 40 times the speed of DVD. The alliance members said the “approach is rapidly gaining attention as a high-capacity, high-speed data storage technology for the age of broadband.”

The proposed technology would also include Optware’s patented collinear holography technology. This combines a reference laser and signal laser on a single beam, creating a three-dimensional hologram composed of data fringes. The mechanism allowed a reduction in size and complexity from previous holographic systems.

The technology also employs an exclusive servo system. The mechanism enables reduced pickup size, elimination of vibration isolators, high-level compatibility with DVD and CD discs and low-cost operation, “effectively obliterating the remaining obstacles to full commercialization,” Optware said.

The HVD Alliance is charged with accelerating the “development of HVD, to develop a marketplace and to promote this revolutionary technology and products.”

In addition a technical committee, called TC44, was established in December to discuss the standardization of HVD. The first TC44 meeting will be held in Tokyo on March 3-4 and hope to have specs finished by the end of 2006.

Initially, the group will be looking to develop standards for a 200GB recordable HVD disc a 100GB read-only HVD disc.

The HVD Alliance, through its activities to provide a venue for the technical discussions and information exchange among the disk manufacturers, material makers, device manufacturers and tester makers which agree with the purport of this organization, accelerates the development of HVD, develops the marketplace and promotes this technology, thus contributes to the sound development of the storage industry.

According to a statement announcing the alliance, member companies are advancing “final preparations towards the official launch of the HVD Alliance this spring.”

Optware was established in 1999 as a development venture to find ways of incorporating holographic recording technology in commercially viable products.

CMC Magnetics, which has headquarters in Taipei, Taiwan, is a major marketer of storage media.

Fujifilm is a global manufacturer and marketer of information and imaging equipment and supplies.

Nippon Paint Co. is said to be a pioneer in the paint and coatings industry in Japan, with plans to become a global supplier of specialty chemical products, including film coatings. The company has developed products used in the manufacturing of electronic components.

Pulstec is known for developing optical disc and pick-up head testers used in the R&D, and production environments. Pulstec testers have played the important role in the growth of optical storage industry especially for Defacto-Standard Test System of CD, DVD, BD, and HD DVD.

Pulstec has developed a “SHOT-1000” system which is its first collinear holographic evaluation system.

Toagosei produces commodity chemicals, acrylic products and specialty chemicals, and is developing a diversified range of applications for electronic industries, such as high purity chemicals, semiconductor materials, and encapsulating agents, including acrylic optical disc coating substances.