GE To Sample 500GB DVD-size Discs Soon

GE Global Research announced earlier today that it has managed to cram up to 500GB worth of data onto a standard DVD-size disc, an increase in storage density of roughly 100x.

What's more, the tech arm of conglomerate General Electric Company says that the storage solution will record data at the same speed as Blu-ray disks while increasing storage capacity by 25 times.

The Blu-ray Disk Association says that the commonly available 12x speed Blu-ray writers have a maximum writing speed of up to 400Mbps (or 50MBps) which means that in theory, it would take just over three hours to fill one of those new holographic hard disks.

Back in April 2009, GE demoed a threshold micro-holographic storage material, and GE Global Research reckons that the discs will be "an attractive solution for both archival and consumer entertainment systems", although we fail to see any kind of mass produced video content that would need more than one Blu-ray disc.

GE uses its proprietary material for the recording process and says that the micro-holographic players may be backward compatible with CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray disks; indeed, GE has confirmed that its R&D and licensing team will be sampling the media to qualified partners that may be interested in licensing the technology.

The technology works by writing onto the disc at controlled depths using the same laser technology just like for any optical disc on the market; it uses the entire volume of the disc rather than just the four surfaces that Blu-ray, for example, uses.

The company has been working on holographic storage for the last eight years and plans to work towards micro-holographic discs that can store in excess of 1TB, which may finally make easy archiving of multi terabyte hard disk drives a reality; back in September 2009, it showcased a 1TB DVD size disc that was read by a modified Blu-ray player.

Other storage rivals like TDK or Sharp have announced discs based on Blu-ray technology; Sharp & Verbatim started to sell 100GB triple-layer Blu-ray discs in Japan last year, while TDK introduced a 200GB Blu-ray disc that used six layers.