Pulse Apple

Pioneer develops a 400GB optical disc

The new disc contains a total of 16 layers, each of which can store a total of 25 GB of capacity on an optical disc with a conventional size of 12 cm. The new discs are similar to Blu-ray disc technology, and only a slight change would have to be made to the Blu-ray drives before they could use one of the new Pioneer discs.

Pioneer does not currently plan to produce the disc commercially, although it is considering working with record manufacturers who are interested in producing discs. The technology is nearly ready for commercialization, as noted by Michiko Kadoi, a Pioneer spokesperson in Tokyo.

Currently double-layer disks, with a capacity of 50GB, are the highest-capacity disks commercially available. Several manufacturers have been working on higher capacity drives, including TDK, which had previously announced the development of a six-layer drive with a total capacity of 150 GB, although it has not yet reached the market.

Obtaining a clean signal from each of the recording layers has been one of the main problems when developing discs with a greater number of layers, although Pioneer indicates that it has been able to solve this problem through the use of a technology which he developed for DVDs. The new disc has a structure that reduces interference from adjacent layers so that accurate playback can be made from all layers, as indicated by the manufacturer itself.

The initial prototype is a read-only disc, although the same technology can be applied to recordable discs.

A 50GB Blu-ray disc can hold a total of six hours of high definition digital TV, so larger capacity discs, if released, could increase that to a total of 48 hours.

Pioneer also plans to detail the technology at the International Symposium on Optical Memory and Optical Data Storage to be held in Hawaii starting July 13.