Next-gen disk capacity 10 times bigger than Blu-ray

General Electric has revealed that it’s created a 500GB optical disk. That’s 10 times the capacity of a Blu-ray disc, and enough room for the content from almost 60 movie DVDs.

Right now, the technology is simply at the stage where it can be proven to work in a lab setting. It’s likely to be at least two to three years before it can be refined to be produced at a commercially viable price.

Whereas Blu-ray is simply a more efficient use of the same technique used in DVDs (a series of dimples in the disk surface read by a laser), the General Electric system uses holograms, effectively turning the data storage area into three dimensions. The firm says it has found a way to make smaller holograms almost 200 times more reflective, thus increasing the number which can fit on a usable disc.

The big problem with such a huge disk is that it appears to be a case of producing something just because you can, rather than because there is any need.

At the moment there only seem three possible mass-market uses for a disk with such a large capacity, all with notable drawbacks:

Firms could use them to produce movie disks with massively increased resolutions and sound quality. The problem there is that these improvements would likely be far past the point where much appreciable benefit could be noticed on existing audio-visual equipment.

They could be used for selling movie disks with much more content on. While this could have some uses – such as putting a full season of an HD television series on a single disk – most customers aren’t likely to pay the price studios would want to charge for so much content in a single purchase.

They could also be used as a home recording system, allowing users to store hundreds of hours of video, or even thousands upon thousands of music files. That might be a useful space saver for people with large collections, but anyone who’s ever had a CD get scratched or a recordable DVD fail will likely be very wary of having the potential to lose so much content in a single swoop.

Instead GE will initially concentrate on specialist uses such as hospitals which need to store extremely detailed brain scan data, or movie studios which want to minimize archive space.





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18 Responses to Next-gen disk capacity 10 times bigger than Blu-ray

  1. I read about this technology a couple years back but it was not by GE, and the storage achieved in a lab environment was 1Tb. Nice to see it advancing though.

  2. I read about this technology a couple years back but it was not by GE, and the storage achieved in a lab environment was 1Tb. Nice to see it advancing though.

  3. It's wise of them to recognize this isn't useful for the consumer market. People who've invested in blu-ray aren't about to change to a new format with no appreciable difference. I can already pause a movie and count people's hairs with blu-ray resolution. I've no need to be able to count their electrons.

  4. It’s wise of them to recognize this isn’t useful for the consumer market. People who’ve invested in blu-ray aren’t about to change to a new format with no appreciable difference. I can already pause a movie and count people’s hairs with blu-ray resolution. I’ve no need to be able to count their electrons.

  5. It's good that there is a disk with lots more storage, but unfortunately people can't constantly buy new equipment – we've just got used to Blue Ray. Glad they understand that, though.

  6. It’s good that there is a disk with lots more storage, but unfortunately people can’t constantly buy new equipment – we’ve just got used to Blue Ray. Glad they understand that, though.

  7. These would be perfect for FLAC recordings. Hopefully we'll see that become more mainstream for audio rather than mp3s.

    • Stephen – this wouldn't work for audio at all….

      FLAC files are just compressed WAV files with no aural data loss. At best, they sound exactly as good as the CD they were ripped from – no better. The information on standard CDs actually takes up more space than FLAC files.

      However, audio files can be sampled at a higher rate with a larger bit depth – which would increase the quality. If it was recorded digitally, however, this would only work if the audio was recorded at a higher sampling rate and bit depth than the standard 16 bit 44.1 khz.

      A new optical disc format for audio was actually created a few years back – but no one cared. Look up Super Audio CD and/or DVD audio. 5.1 surround – 24 bit, 48 khz I think.

      All this hype about FLAC audio is bogus. People need to wise up – it's just a glorified compression format. It's just an alternative to mp3s.

  8. These would be perfect for FLAC recordings. Hopefully we’ll see that become more mainstream for audio rather than mp3s.

    • Stephen – this wouldn’t work for audio at all….

      FLAC files are just compressed WAV files with no aural data loss. At best, they sound exactly as good as the CD they were ripped from – no better. The information on standard CDs actually takes up more space than FLAC files.

      However, audio files can be sampled at a higher rate with a larger bit depth – which would increase the quality. If it was recorded digitally, however, this would only work if the audio was recorded at a higher sampling rate and bit depth than the standard 16 bit 44.1 khz.

      A new optical disc format for audio was actually created a few years back – but no one cared. Look up Super Audio CD and/or DVD audio. 5.1 surround – 24 bit, 48 khz I think.

      All this hype about FLAC audio is bogus. People need to wise up – it’s just a glorified compression format. It’s just an alternative to mp3s.

  9. This is perfect for the next gen HDTV (2160p QUAD HDTV) and would provide the space needed for the next of the next gen games consoles i.e ps4 or xbox 129079 or what ever they are goin to call it to sound better than the playstation. It doesnt have to replace blu ray for movies as blu ray movies only take up 12 – 15 GB out of a 50 GB disk. We will see in 2015 what they decide to do.

  10. This is perfect for the next gen HDTV (2160p QUAD HDTV) and would provide the space needed for the next of the next gen games consoles i.e ps4 or xbox 129079 or what ever they are goin to call it to sound better than the playstation. It doesnt have to replace blu ray for movies as blu ray movies only take up 12 – 15 GB out of a 50 GB disk. We will see in 2015 what they decide to do.

  11. it’s true, relying on 1 disc to hold your entire music collection or phot’s etc. would be risky, some may say well have 2 or 3 discs with them on, but the cost is gonna be ridiculous , not to mention for the recorder. i think they should let blu ray have the market for the next 15 years atleast, i mean the quality is just amazing, so no need for anything new yet. we all know the next big thing is 3D!!

  12. it's true, relying on 1 disc to hold your entire music collection or phot's etc. would be risky, some may say well have 2 or 3 discs with them on, but the cost is gonna be ridiculous , not to mention for the recorder. i think they should let blu ray have the market for the next 15 years atleast, i mean the quality is just amazing, so no need for anything new yet. we all know the next big thing is 3D!!

  13. Let’s see. The PS2 made a new (and expensive) technology, the DVD, mainstream. And the PS3 made a new (and expensive) technology, the Blu-Ray Disc, mainstream. I would not be suprised to see something like this in the PS4.

  14. Let's see. The PS2 made a new (and expensive) technology, the DVD, mainstream. And the PS3 made a new (and expensive) technology, the Blu-Ray Disc, mainstream. I would not be suprised to see something like this in the PS4.