Tokyo (Japan) - A new generation of high capacity optical discs could be on the way as Pioneer claims to have developed read-only disc media with 16 layers and a total capacity of 400 GB. The company believes that the technology could "greatly reduce the number of discs to be used and therefore contribute to the conservation of resources."
The technology provides 25 GB of room on each layer, bringing the capacity of one 16-layer disc to 400 GB. While the 25 GB per-layer capacity is equivalent to what Blu-ray provides, Pioneer did not say which technology its new discs are based upon and did not even mention whether blue laser or red laser technologies were employed. However, Pioneer stated that the 16-layer discs would be "compatible" with current BD discs.
In a press release, Pioneer simply stated that "this development has bolstered Pioneer’s confidence in the feasibility of a large-capacity optical disc, which is expected to become necessary in the near future." For now, the company has only succeeded in creating a 16-layer read-only optical disc, but the company believes that it can transfer the technology to recordable discs as well.
Sony previously noted that Blu-ray could be scalable to up to eight to ten layers or 200 to 250 GB. However, multiple layers weaken signals from each recording layer and the industry has found it to be increasingly difficult to receive clear signals in a stable manner within multi-layer discs due to crosstalk from adjacent layers and transmission loss. Pioneer claims it has solved this problem using a disc structure that can reduce crosstalk from adjacent layers as well as a wide-range spherical aberration compensator and light-receiving element that can read out weak signals at a high signal-to-noise ratio in the optical pick-up mechanism.
Pioneer said it will provide more details of its 16-layer technology on July 13 at the International Symposium on Optical Memory and Optical Data Storage 2008 in Hawaii.