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Pioneer Develops Ultra-High Capacity Optical Disc

By Antone Gonsalves
InformationWeek
July 7, 2008 4:30 PM

Pioneer on Monday said it has developed a read-only optical disc with a capacity of 400 GB, far more than any disc commercially available today.

Pioneer said the disc has 16 layers, each capable of storing 25 GB, which is the maximum of a one-sided Blu-ray disc used to store high-definition video. The company said its technology can be used in building recordable discs and can also be read by Blu-ray players after tweaking the hardware.

In building the disc, Pioneer overcame the difficulty of obtaining clear signals from each layer of a multi-layer disc. Crosstalk from adjacent layers and transmission loss have been the biggest problems.
Pioneer said it solved the problems by developing a new optical disc structure that can play back high-quality signals from every layer. The company also developed a "compensator" and a light-receiving element for reading signals when there's a high signal-to-noise ratio in the optical pick-up mechanism, according to Pioneer.

The growing storage needs of business and consumers are expected to drive demand for higher capacity discs. In addition, offering one disc equal to many commercially available discs today will conserve resources, Pioneer said in a statement issued from Japan.

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