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Blu-Ray and HD DVD optical media is expected to be introduced sometime in the second half of this year and to ramp up next year. But already today a group of companies think about technologies that could eventually replace the Blu-Ray and HD DVD providing opportunity to store up to 1TB, or 1000GBs, on a single optical disc.

Six companies including CMC Magnetics Corp., Fuji Photo Film Co., Nippon Paint Co., Optware Corp., Pulstec Industrial Co. and Toagosei Co., formed “HVD Alliance” which main aim would be acceleration the development of Holographic Versatile Disc, a new type of optical media that is expected to store up to 1TB of data on a single disc, much more than 25GB of a single-layer Blu-Ray disc.

The HVD media employs a new technology called Holographic Recording that records 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, with a transfer rate of over 1Gbps, 40 times the speed of DVD. Next-generation high definition content will make typical 4.7GB DVDs obsolete and the forthcoming HD DVDs and Blu-Ray discs will replace the conventional DVDs.

Holographic recording technology itself uses Optware’s exclusive development of the collinear technology, which is part of its effort to make holographic recording technology practical. A patented technology originally proposed by Optware founder and CTO Hideyoshi Horimai, collinear holography combines a reference laser and signal laser on a single beam, creating a three-dimensional hologram composed of data fringes. This image is illuminated on the medium using a single objective. Using the mechanism, Optware simplified and downsized the previously bulky and complicated systems required to generate holograms.

Further enhancements were achieved with Optware’s exclusive servo system. The introduction of this mechanism enabled 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.

The HVD Alliance said technical the standardization of Holographic Versatile Disc (HVD) was approved at the 88th Ecma International General Assembly on December 9th, 2004. The first HVD Alliance meeting will be held in Tokyo on March 3-4, 2005. It is unclear when HVDs may become available commercially.

In late September, 2004, a group of European scientists said they had developed a method of recording that would also allow to store 1TB of data on a single optical disc. The inventors said the technology could see the light of the day in 2010 – 2015 provided that they receive enough funds.

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