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GE Developing 1TB Hologram Disc Readable By a Modified Blu-ray Drive 238

Globally Mobile writes "The Register has this article concerning GE's announcement that it has been developing a 1 terabyte DVD-size disk that can be read by a modified Blu-ray player. Peter Lorraine, GE's lab manager, talking at an Emerging Tech conference last week, said that license announcements could be expected soon. He also mentioned the notion of disks having the capacity of 100 Blu-ray disks, implying a 2.5TB or even 5TB capacity, gained by increasing the number of layers used for recording. The discs will be used for high-end commercial niches initially and then migrate to consumer markets in 2012-2015. Also here is a video of the technology explained. Wish we could see this sooner! Reminds me of the technology that Bowie's character came up with in The Man Who Fell to Earth."
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GE Developing 1Tb Hologram Disc Readable By a Modified Blu-ray Drive

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  • by MikeyinVA ( 1450809 ) on Thursday October 01, 2009 @01:18PM (#29607919) Journal
    that by now, DVD-DL would come down in price. Regular DVD-Rs, I can find them for $0.30 or less each but DVD-DLs are still $1.60 each. With Blue-ray and all this advancing technology, the industry is still strangling the consumer for DVD-DLs.
  • Tb or TB or TiB? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by wiredlogic ( 135348 ) on Thursday October 01, 2009 @01:23PM (#29607995)

    The title is confusing. Are these Tb or TB?

  • Re:Well (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jdgeorge ( 18767 ) on Thursday October 01, 2009 @01:35PM (#29608161)

    Great, I haven't still even got a normal bluray player. Nor did I get HD-DVD. Seems like I might just skip it and wait for the modified player that supports this.

    Yeah, I got a PS3, too. Who wants a "normal" Blu-ray player?

    "Informative".... Nice.

  • Re:Remix (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gnick ( 1211984 ) on Thursday October 01, 2009 @01:41PM (#29608257) Homepage

    "Can != Should" is pretty well agreed upon here.
    "Can == Will" is an unfortunate reality in most cases...

  • Error Correction (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ThrowAwaySociety ( 1351793 ) on Thursday October 01, 2009 @01:49PM (#29608367)

    How many MB will be wiped out by a pathetically small scratch on the disk? Remember the promises made of audio CD's?

    With well-designed error correction, nothing. Enough error correcting data would be distributed all around the disc to recover from localized scratches.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 01, 2009 @01:58PM (#29608495)

    I see portable disk based storage for the most part going the way of the dinosaur. With computers having ever increasing capacity and more devices having internal hard drives, throughput is going to become more important. Why put anything on a disk when you can download it from your home server using your cell phone anywhere in the world? That's the technology worth researching.

    On a side note, this is still impressive. If they find a way to make these disks/drives faster, more reliable, and somehow overtake magnetic disks as new hard drive technology I think they would be much more valuable than they are as a new type of DVD/Blu technology. I just have a hard time seeing the laser/spinning disk method going there.

  • by localman57 ( 1340533 ) on Thursday October 01, 2009 @02:00PM (#29608533)
    Aw, crap. Now it's just a matter of time before someone asks the "How do I archive data forever" question. Again.
  • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Thursday October 01, 2009 @02:06PM (#29608615) Homepage Journal

    DVD-DL has largely been ignored due to DVD shrinkers and splitters.

    Seriously though, you can get verbatim DVD-DL for $1 or less per disc if you buy spindles, just look more carefully. Note that Verbatim is almost the only brand worth buying if you expect to be able to read the discs for any length of time. Or at least it was a few months back when I did my last spate of research and disc buying. I'll buy whatever for day use; I buy Memorex for medium-term use and Verbatim for storage and long-term use. YMMV, I guess.

  • Re:Well (Score:3, Insightful)

    by iamhassi ( 659463 ) on Thursday October 01, 2009 @02:07PM (#29608629) Journal
    "I find I'm "skipping a generation" in many technologies:"

    trust me, you're not missing anything. Seems nothing has changed, they just take the same old stuff and slap a new coat of paint on it. Guess Hollywood isn't the only ones who have run out of new ideas.
  • Re:Well (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Mr. Freeman ( 933986 ) on Thursday October 01, 2009 @02:12PM (#29608699)
    If you put a thousand of these in the back of a VW bug and drove it from California to New York....
  • by Guysmiley777 ( 880063 ) on Thursday October 01, 2009 @02:18PM (#29608805)
    Mass produced CDs and DVDs aren't "burned", they are pressed from masters so that the embedded metal foil layer has the correct pattern on it. This allows for very, very high speed production. Is it possible to do the same thing for these holographic discs? If not, this could be a nice backup media but won't replace DVD or Blu-ray.
  • Re:*Yawn* (Score:3, Insightful)

    by QuantumRiff ( 120817 ) on Thursday October 01, 2009 @02:18PM (#29608827)
    Its like Nuclear Fusion.. The technology of Tomorrow, and always will be!
  • Re:Well (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Thursday October 01, 2009 @02:19PM (#29608829)
    I see little reason to "upgrade" during this generation too. For one, everything is very expensive for small gains, in order to really "enjoy" Blu-Ray you have to buy an -expensive- player, for me I'd have to buy an expensive HD TV, and the disks themselves are expensive. Yeah, if you are buying a new TV and everything it makes little sense not to upgrade, but if you are like just about everyone else who has everything working why pay $$$ and upgrade? Sure, HD has a better picture quality, but not $1000+ worth of it, plus, I can rent DVD movies for $1 a night, I can't rent Blu-Ray that cheaply. I didn't get any current gen game consoles save for the Wii until recently because at the start they all sucked and the Wii was the only one that started with a decent price. The 360 was too unreliable in the first few motherboard revisions (RRoD) and the PS3 until about a month or two ago was -far- too expensive. Vista was inferior to XP and cost extra so I didn't upgrade my XP box to Vista. And to be perfectly honest, I don't need a lot of data backed up, my music is redundantly backed up on various MP3 players over the years and audio CDs, I don't have a huge picture collection so most pictures are still on my 4 gig SD card, and anything else needed to be backed up fits nicely on a standard DVD. I don't need to spend $2 on Blu-Ray disks and more for a drive when I only need a few gigs of things backed up.
  • by iamhassi ( 659463 ) on Thursday October 01, 2009 @02:26PM (#29608935) Journal
    "Can someone find the old slashdot article about petabyte holographic storage? I don't remember how far back it was, but talking about hundreds + layer holographic storage basically."

    Every year there's another "hundreds of layers of storage" article, and we're still sitting here with dual layer DVDs. By the time we see terabyte discs we'll probably all have petabyte hard drives. I remember them talking about blu ray in the 90s, with the prototype arriving in 2000. [wikipedia.org] Back when we had 6gb drives the idea of 50gb discs was amazing, but they dragged their feet so bad creating a standard that by the time it reached market we all moved on to terabyte hard drives. Blu ray burners are still too damn expensive [newegg.com], costing five times ($160 vs $30) more than a DVD burner costs. And once you have one then what? Pay $3 to $7 for each BD-R disc? [newegg.com] No thanks, even at $3 for 25gb that's $120 per terabyte, 50% more than a 1 terabyte hard drive [newegg.com].

    So forgive me if I don't get all excited every time they announce a new high capacity disc format because they haven't fixed the one they have out now.
  • Re:Well (Score:4, Insightful)

    by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Thursday October 01, 2009 @03:00PM (#29609351) Journal

    Upgrading to the Bluray version of Star Trek eliminated the annoying artifacts present on the DVD version. That's an improvement that's visible even on a standard definition set.

    Also there's nothing to skip in the case of Bluray. 1920x1080 progressive is the highest standard available, and will be for several decades (NTSC lasted almost 70 years and ATSC will probably last several decades too).

    I agree about the gaming consoles. I'm still having fun with my PS1/PS2 and N64/Gamecube library. Why upgrade?

  • Re:Well (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bishiraver ( 707931 ) on Thursday October 01, 2009 @03:10PM (#29609499) Homepage

    Netflix membership + blueray: $6.00/mo for one disc out at a time. Average turnaround time: 3 days. That works out to .60 cents per night per blueray rental.

    Little bit cheaper than $1 a night dvds ;)

  • Re:Well (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Thursday October 01, 2009 @03:21PM (#29609657)
    Depends on how many movies you watch though. Myself I only watch a movie at most once a week on Friday night if I don't have something more productive to do. So its still an extra $1 per Blu-Ray disk if we assume that I watch 3 movies or so in a month. For someone who constantly watches movies, Netflix would be a better deal though.
  • Re:Well (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 01, 2009 @03:36PM (#29609829)

    If you put a thousand of these in the back of a VW bug and drove it from California to New York....

    Being a rear-engine car, that might not be the best idea...

  • by NotBornYesterday ( 1093817 ) * on Thursday October 01, 2009 @03:39PM (#29609881) Journal
    Can we please get a +1, Insightful over here? I gave all my points away yesterday.
  • by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Thursday October 01, 2009 @03:53PM (#29610049) Homepage Journal

    I posted a similar comment about a year ago. Optical media should be a great backup medium, but because they take so long to ramp up production and push the cost of the media down, it is useless before anyone can afford it. Blu-ray media at 50 GB per disc is already useless and it still isn't even close to price parity with hard drives. To fully back up a 500 GB hard drive (the industry average size now) takes 10 discs to back up once. At 30 minutes per disc, this is five hours of continuous burning, during which time you have to have someone swapping out discs every half hour. For a terabyte HD, you're more than an entire work day. You should be doing a full backup at least every month and incremental backups weekly. Do the math, and you're spending the better part of a week every month just doing backups. The average hard drive needs to be able to be backed up on a single disc or you've already failed. Blu-ray has already failed.

    As a result, recordable optical media is basically worthless except for people burning content to give to other people, which is a tiny fraction of its potential user base. If they would ramp production way up and flood the market with cheap media immediately even before the recorders are available in quantities, people would flock to them in droves. It's counterintuitive, but the only way any optical format will ever be particularly useful to the general consumer is if the industry decides to make it a loss leader for about a year. By the end of that year, you'll have so much adoption that it won't be losing money anymore, and it will be in the hands of consumers early enough to be broadly useful.

  • by JackSpratts ( 660957 ) on Thursday October 01, 2009 @04:40PM (#29610607) Homepage

    i won't be setting the alarm.

    just spent $68 on a 1 TB wd my book btw. they're not getting less dense - or more expensive.

    - js.

  • Re:Why? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jonbryce ( 703250 ) on Thursday October 01, 2009 @05:09PM (#29610991) Homepage

    If you increase the storage density, there will be more bytes per track, which will increase the data transfer speed. However, there will also be more tracks on the disk, and as you can't increase the number of tracks read per minute, it will take longer to read or fill a higher capacity disk.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 01, 2009 @06:15PM (#29611749)

    Holographic storage, phase-change memory [arstechnica.com]

    • Phase change memory relies on a class of alloys called Chalcogenides, which can adopt crystalline or amorphous forms; the crystalline form provides low resistance to currents. Switching between the two states can be done simply by heating the alloy and carefully controlling the cooling process. Fortunately, "carefully controlled" doesn't mean "slow"â"Doller said that his company has phase change devices with 17 times the access speeds of SSDs.

    PCRam is far more interesting than holographic BluRay storage. It is going to market _now_ and Samsung is set to begin mass production.

    Currently the storage capacity isn't yet on par with SSD - but that should just be a matter of time as the technology matures. As it stands right now it is already faster and significantly more durable than SSD/Flash Ram.

  • by bertoelcon ( 1557907 ) on Thursday October 01, 2009 @11:50PM (#29613755)

    The great thing about DVD's and blu-ray discs is that they are not mechanical and not subject to mechanical faliure like hard disks are which is still a significant risk.

    They are optical and scratches will cause loss of data. Of course if you store them and don't use them then you are safer from scratches.

"Hey Ivan, check your six." -- Sidewinder missile jacket patch, showing a Sidewinder driving up the tail of a Russian Su-27