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Data Storage Upgrades Media

Pioneer Promises 400GB Optical Discs 228

Posted by timothy
from the place-for-their-stuff dept.
schliz writes "Pioneer has developed a 16-layer read-only optical disc which it claims can store 400GB of data. The per-layer capacity is 25GB, the same as that of a Blu-ray Disc, and the multilayer technology will also be applicable to multilayer recordable discs."
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Pioneer Promises 400GB Optical Discs

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  • Blu Ray (Score:3, Interesting)

    by CogDissident (951207) on Tuesday July 08, 2008 @12:43PM (#24102025)
    Good thing we all updated early to the blu-ray player, when something is about to come along to blow it out of the water, right at about the time when DVDs are reaching the point where people need more than 2-3 DVDs for games/movies (which is the point at which CDs were phased out, and floppy disks).
    • Re:Blu Ray (Score:5, Informative)

      by ergo98 (9391) on Tuesday July 08, 2008 @12:48PM (#24102129) Homepage Journal

      Good thing we all updated early to the blu-ray player, when something is about to come along to blow it out of the water

      There's always something better coming along. In this case it's pretty much just a research paper, not an actual product, so not all that exciting.

      And Blu-ray had burnable 4-layer (100GB) discs two years ago.

      • Re:Blu Ray (Score:5, Informative)

        by halsver (885120) on Tuesday July 08, 2008 @12:54PM (#24102213)

        From the article:
        "The huge capacity of these discs means that the new technology will be best suited for applications such large volume data archiving, rather than consumer use."

        The tech they are using to read so many layers of information is impressive. However as the article states, this format is in no way intended for consumers.

        Your BluRay hardware is probably safe for another five years or so.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by sexconker (1179573)

          A 500 GB HDD costs less than a single one of these discs, is reliable, rewritable a million times, lasts decades if properly stored, is already available, is faster, and requires no fancy hardware.

          And there's always tape for true archiving.

          • Re:Blu Ray (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Ngarrang (1023425) on Tuesday July 08, 2008 @01:07PM (#24102439) Journal

            A 500 GB HDD costs less than a single one of these discs, is reliable, rewritable a million times, lasts decades if properly stored, is already available, is faster, and requires no fancy hardware.

            And there's always tape for true archiving.

            But you can't go out and buy ST:TNG seasons 1-7 on HDD.

            • Re:Blu Ray (Score:5, Funny)

              by 8282now (583198) on Tuesday July 08, 2008 @01:11PM (#24102505) Journal

              A 500 GB HDD costs less than a single one of these discs, is reliable, rewritable a million times, lasts decades if properly stored, is already available, is faster, and requires no fancy hardware.

              And there's always tape for true archiving.

              But you can't go out and buy ST:TNG seasons 1-7 on HDD.

              But as soon as a generous person does, no one else needs to ;)

              • by Ngarrang (1023425)

                On a less piratical note, distributing movies on HDD would be interesting. The HDD would be in a study case and easily inserted into the player. The HDD would not have the same data through-put issues the optical media has, but would suffer being less reliable due to the mechanical nature of the HDD. And not as study if you drop it or allow your toddler to gnaw on it while they are teething.

                • by jedidiah (1196)

                  This has some wicked "sneakernet" potential.

                  It's like the pirates answer to Netflix.

                  A EEE and 2 drives, one full and one empty.

                  What will the media moguls do when the mundanes re-discover the swapping party?

                • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                  by drinkypoo (153816)
                  Small (say, 1.8") hard drives have VERY high G-shock resistance while turned off. (Shock-G resistance varies.)
                • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

                  by EchaniDrgn (1039374)
                  Now all we need is a Station Wagon to transport them in.
                • by Firethorn (177587)

                  Too large. Personally, I figure a mating between a Tivo and iTunes to be the future - buy your movie online, have it download to your media center for play. Time needed? With a good internet connection, about what you'd need to run to the store, find the movie, purchase it, and get home. Even for HD, you'd have enough buffer built up by then to be able to watch the rest of it.

                  Either that or you do a jpg style 'don't need all the data to show a lower res picture'. Give it more time to download and you g

                  • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

                    by Ngarrang (1023425)

                    ... have some sort of predictive system that deletes the less popular movies, keeping them available to download again if you decide to watch it again.

                    "Howard the Duck", "Ishtar" and the ST:TOS episode "Spock's Brain" would never last under such an algorithm.

                • With the mountable packs? (And head assemblies?)

                  DASDs were fun back then :-)

              • by gravis777 (123605)

                I am pretty sure you could fit an entire season on a DVD-R. TNG was shot on film, but all editing and special effects were done on tape, so unless you redo the special effects, you will never have TNG in HD. So, take the SD episodes, compress it down in DivX or XVid to about 250-300 meg an episode, and you can fit an entire season on a dual layer disc.

                Of course, someone has already done this [thepiratebay.org]

                However, it would be nice to have the HD-version of an entire season of TOS on a single disc.

                And a disc is certainly m

            • by mpathetiq (726625)
              But you can download someone else's copy. For archival purposes, of course.
            • by jedidiah (1196)

              You can't go out and buy those shows on some high capacity bluray disc either.

              OTOH, it's not that much trouble to buy the original DVD format and make your own disk.

              With a modern codec, the entire series should easily fit onto an entire bus powered 2.5 USB drive.

              2 large bluray discs would work too...

          • by DragonHawk (21256) on Tuesday July 08, 2008 @01:46PM (#24103025) Homepage Journal

            A 500 GB HDD costs less than a single one of these discs, is reliable, rewritable a million times, lasts decades if properly stored, is already available, is faster, and requires no fancy hardware.

            I'm curious as to on what you base your statement that a 500 GB HDD will last decades. Can you cite a study on the long-term storage reliability of modern hard disk designs? In my personal experience, disks which have sat unused for several years sometimes don't spin up. They're not designed for that.

            I'll also point out that the equipment needed to read an ST-506 hard disk -- introduced circa 1980, thus "decades" -- would likely be somewhat hard to find and integrate into a modern operation. It might not be "fancy hardware", but the end result (high cost) is the same.

            I'm not dismissing the use of hard disks for archiving in general; I just find some of your claims dubious.

            One thing that seems to be true is that storage is getting cheaper and bigger all the time. Thus for some applications, it may actually be cost-effective to keep all your archives online (disks spinning), with redundancy, and simply upgrade to newer, larger drives as old ones fail. Capacity keeps growing for new data, and old data keeps getting copied to new media. That eliminates the concerns about keeping equipment around to read old media. As an added bonus, everything is online all the time.

            • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

              by mitgib (1156957)

              One thing that seems to be true is that storage is getting cheaper and bigger all the time.

              How about faster? That is my desire, and hardware SAS and SATA raid arrays are just not fast enough for what I am interested in. I saw a new device recently that was mentioned here, the Fusion IO [fusionio.com], that is 1000 times faster, but is cost prohibitive yet, and small in size still, like 320gb is as large as offered. At $30/GB it has a long way to go before it is really mainstream and I don't see that happening for quite some time since they have their production sold out for months on end. At least that was w

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Sethumme (1313479)

          From the article: "The huge capacity of these discs means that the new technology will be best suited for applications such large volume data archiving, rather than consumer use."

          The tech they are using to read so many layers of information is impressive. However as the article states, this format is in no way intended for consumers.

          Your BluRay hardware is probably safe for another five years or so.

          The non-consumer, archival focus was the same thing they were saying about the CD (or was it DVD?) when the technology hadn't been perfected yet and when 3.5" floppies were considered more than sufficient for consumer storage. Eventually, consumer media will demand larger-capacity formats then even a 100Gb Blueray can provide. Besides, anything that a library can afford to spend money on will have to be cheap enough that it could also feasibly be marketed to some portion of consumers - archiving isn't an

      • And it's not really going to go anywhere. More layers = exponentially lower yields. Despite the increased packaging overhead, it's generally better to ship multiple discs.

        If anyone doubts this is an issue, you might want to ask why anyone went with blue lasers for the HD formats in the first place. DVD can be increased to 50G just by making the discs 10-11 layers. Everyone's known how to do that for a while, there's even a (real, disks being pressed, players being made) HD format called HD-VMD that works

      • CD was a hit because it was massively bigger than a hard disk.

        Now we're supposed to celebrate something which can't even backup a fairly average desktop PC?

        (And by the time it appears probably won't even back up a fairly average laptop)

    • Re:Blu Ray (Score:5, Insightful)

      by CastrTroy (595695) on Tuesday July 08, 2008 @12:51PM (#24102165) Homepage
      Well DVD Audio and SACD never really caught on, because CDs are good enough quality for 99% of the population. The advantages of BluRay over upconverted DVD is minimal at best. Even if BluRay catches on, I can't see anybody wanting to move to yet another format. Especially since we don't even have TVs that go beyond 1080p, which BluRay already supports.
      • Re:Blu Ray (Score:5, Insightful)

        by zippthorne (748122) on Tuesday July 08, 2008 @12:58PM (#24102301) Journal

        The advantages of BluRay over upconverted DVD is minimal at best.

        Yeah, but not for the reason you're suggesting. The extra sharpness on the BluRay disk far surpasses your vaunted "upconverted" dvd.

        The downside, though, is that they're not using the right compression scheme. Artifacts which I would not have noticed on DVD are readily apparent on BluRay disk. Either they need a better algorithm or a lot more bits.

        Which is why many of us believed that HD-DVD was the better option: it was ostensibly cheaper than blu-ray, and both are really transition formats: just enough capacity to make the digital/HD TV revolution possible, but not quite enough to be the end-all storage media for the long haul.

        • Re:Blu Ray (Score:5, Informative)

          by Lunix Nutcase (1092239) on Tuesday July 08, 2008 @01:03PM (#24102391)

          Artifacts which I would not have noticed on DVD are readily apparent on BluRay disk.

          Unless you are talking about film grain, I have no clue what "artifacts" you are talking about as Blu-Ray, outside of the early Mpeg-2 releases, and HD DVD both use more efficient compression codecs than DVD does. If you are talking about film grain, yes it is more apparent now due to the higher resolution which is able to resolve such detail now, but it is supposed to be there.

          • by jedidiah (1196)

            I see pixelation in the bluray demo movies that BestBuy like to show.

            It's sad really...

            Fixating on stuff like this really doesn't pay off in the end.

            Once you start down that path, forever will it dominate your destiny...

            • I see pixelation in the bluray demo movies that BestBuy like to show.

              If they are showing the exact same program on multiple sets simultaneously then it is not blu-ray, or at least not blu-ray over digital like HDMI. The reason is stupid, it is because of the DRM in HDMI. You can not split an HDMI signal, so it is legally impossible to run the same output to multiple sets.

              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by JesseMcDonald (536341)

                It is possible to split an HDMI video signal, provided it's not tainted with HDCP. HDCP encodes the signal for a specific receiver, so even though you can split the signal only one screen can decode it. It is true that all (licensed) Blu-Ray players require HDCP on their digital outputs, but one could create an unencrypted, full-HD signal some other way. For example, by applying a cheap DVI-to-HDMI adapter to the output from a PC. The resulting signal could then be distributed to multiple HD screens. Suitab

          • Re:Blu Ray (Score:5, Interesting)

            by TheSync (5291) * on Tuesday July 08, 2008 @02:44PM (#24103895) Journal

            I have no clue what "artifacts" you are talking about

            I can attest that Hollywood studios are very serious about making their newest Blu-rays "artifact free". We're talking MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 at 25 Mbps, which (speaking as a HDTV guy) is way overkill for most eyes. Consider that terrestrial HDTV is =19 Mbps MPEG-2 and what you see on cable or DBS is probably compressed down from that. I'm pretty happy delivering 14 Mbps H.264 HDTV to stations for high-quality prime-time network use.

            In post-production houses, there is now this position called the "compressionist" who uses semi-automated systems to compress each scene 10 or 20 different ways with different parameters to ensure the best compression. There are built in PSNR measurement, MOS estimation, as well as the human eye looking over all this. And it costs a lot of money....

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Blu-ray and HD-DVD support the same compression schemes (for video at least). The difference was that some early blu-ray discs were using mpeg2 (the same that DVDs use) while HD-DVD movies often used one of the better codecs like h.264 and VC-1 already in the beginning of the "war".

          • by CastrTroy (595695)
            From what I remember, The HD-DVD standard required the use of h.264 or VC-1, and had no provisions for the use of MPEG2. Basically, they set a high minimum standard. BluRay on the other hand, while supporting these high def formats, also suppored MPEG2, and a lot of studios chose to use it.
        • by daybot (911557) *

          The downside, though, is that they're not using the right compression scheme. Artifacts which I would not have noticed on DVD are readily apparent on BluRay disk. Either they need a better algorithm or a lot more bits.

          It depends on the quality of the transfer. This is why there are lists like these. [avsforum.com]

      • Rubbish (Score:3, Informative)

        by encoderer (1060616)

        This, frankly, is rubbish.

        No matter how good the upscaling chipset is, it cannot divine information that's not on the disc.

        It's like taking a 640x480 picture, stretching it to to 1920x1280 and calling it "nearly as good."

        All this talk of "bluray not catching" is just a matter of time. I never gave bluray a second thought until I bought an HDTV. Soon after, I bought a bluray.

        And before long, everybody will be buying HDTV's. Many will wait until their existing set bites the dust, but it will happen, just as e

        • It's not rubbish. Because if the different in that data is so marginal that it is nearly undetectable by half the population, then what is the point? People currently are buying Blu-Ray players because it is technically better, not because they experience anything different when they watch movies. I think a good audio system (compared to simple front stereo) has far more impact than adding a little more than double the lines to a film.

          The 1920x1280 versus 640x480 analogy is not a good one because the percep

        • It works at the mathematical level, before decompression.

          You're right, it's not really as good, it's somewhere in between. But at best HD is only twice as good as DVD so being 50% better is pretty close.

          I'll get HD when it's really HD, not some stopgap format which will be obsolete in five years. There's no way I'm paying for a collection of shiny disks until they make me go "wow!".

    • Re:Blu Ray (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sexconker (1179573) on Tuesday July 08, 2008 @12:52PM (#24102187)

      We had SDTV for nearly a century, and we had VHS for what, decades?

      DVD's reign will be about 2 decades.

      BluRay will be what, 1 decade?

      HDTV will soon be replaced with SHDTV and other such nonsense.

      Keep 'em spendin'!

      • by TheSync (5291) *

        HDTV will soon be replaced with SHDTV and other such nonsense.

        Don't forget 3DTV [dlp.com]

    • by KalvinB (205500)

      The price point needs to be there as well. Companies need to pick a format and stick with it and get the price point low enough that people can afford the new media.

      With the cartridge you could order as much storage as you needed for that particular game. Now companies are trying to find a one size fits all solution which will never exist. ###GB will never be enough for everyone.

      My guess is that eventually solid state drives will replace the current one size fits all approach. You don't have to upgrade

    • by sm62704 (957197)

      Good thing we all updated early to the blu-ray player

      Sucks to be you all, then. That's what happens when you adopt bleeding edge technology. Didn't any of you all learn anything from Betamax?

      I have a nice big forty two inch flat screen analog TV set which I plan to watch until it stops working. As it's analog I have no need for hi-def movies; you might fool non-nerds into thinking a hi-def movie will look better on an analog TV, but we know better. I'll be buying a new DVD polayer shortly, as the one I have

      • by AdamTrace (255409)

        First, I don't think BluRay can still be called "bleeding edge", nor do I think it can be compared to Betamax. It might not ever be as popular as VHS and DVD, but it is now THE standard for home high-def disc entertainment (am I wrong?)

        Recently, I've spent $2000 on a nice big TV, and $400 on a PS3. I sit smug in my home, watching upconverted DVDs and BluRay movies, as well as lots of high definition cable with a low-end home theater surround sound system. I absolutely love it.

        You, on the other hand, have

        • by sm62704 (957197)

          Blu-raty is no longer bleeding edge to be sure, but I just spent $1000 on my TV only five years ago.

          This new tech is now the bleeding edge.

          I'd guess neither of us would want to trade places with the other... :)

          As to tech I guess you're right. But I'd gladly trade ages, asuming you're not a geezer.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by tb()ne (625102)

      I wouldn't worry just yet. It looks like the discs may actually be 400 GB Bluray discs [blu-ray.com] that will be compatible with existing players.

    • by COMON$ (806135) *
      what do you mean "we", I'm still waiting for this [arstechnica.com].

      Of course I am also one of those guys still waiting for the media-less age where our infrastructure is strong enough that Terabytes can be pushed across the wire in a trivial way.

    • Just like VHS and DVD you will have at least a good decade of use out of it.

  • Burn time? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) on Tuesday July 08, 2008 @12:44PM (#24102051)
    Anyone care to venture how long it would take to burn such disc, if it is loaded full?
    • Sure. Same as blu-ray write-to-capacity time, x25.

      Unless of course you think there will be hardware to burn layers in parallel.
    • by X0563511 (793323)

      Sure, a few seconds.

      This is not "burnable" media - you would need to stamp it.

    • by owlstead (636356)

      "Pioneer has developed a 16-layer read-only optical disc which it claims can store 400GB of data.."

      Well, forever I suppose.

  • This is one of somewhere closing on quadrillion (give or take a gazillion) super-duper high capacity optical formats that have been prematurely hyped and then disappeared.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by sexconker (1179573)

      Interestingly, many of these formats were bought by SONY and led out to pasture.

      FMD (Fluorescent Multi-Layer Disc) being the most promising (back in the day).

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by somersault (912633)

        How is that a bad thing considering SONY have released a useful disk format. You're suggesting that they'd buy a load of companies and then not bother to look into any interesting tech that those companies had been researching? Blu-ray is theoretically capable of holding just as much as these disks if SONY can work out how to do multi-layer work effectively, as Pioneer claim to have done. I'd expect SONY are either close on their heels in R&D terms, or could just license the tech.

        The main difference bet

  • by jandrese (485) <kensama@vt.edu> on Tuesday July 08, 2008 @12:49PM (#24102139) Homepage Journal
    Frankly, given the track record of optical formats, I'd be surprised if this ever makes it out of the laboratory, especially given the fact that it has so many layers. With DVD a lot of production companies basically gave up on the dual sided dual layer discs because the yield on 4 layer disks was so bad. Getting a good yield on a 25 layer disc is either an achievement worthy of talking about over the disc, or it's a bunch of lies and marketing hype.
  • Lifespan? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by s31523 (926314) on Tuesday July 08, 2008 @12:51PM (#24102173)
    With so many layers, I wonder if the useful lifespan of the disk is shorter than a conventional DVD. The obvious application for these discs is backing up servers and home storage drives.
  • by Doghouse Riley (1072336) on Tuesday July 08, 2008 @12:56PM (#24102255)
    the cost/GB of HDD's. I can buy 750 GB of SATA storage now for the cost of 125 GB worth of BD-RW blanks, and plug it in to any USB2 port I want. For the same cost, I can get a 250 GB USB laptop drive in a self powered enclosure that fits in a shirt pocket. I can only imagine what these 400 GB disks will cost when they hit the market, and what HDD's will cost by then.
  • by MikeRT (947531) on Tuesday July 08, 2008 @12:56PM (#24102257) Homepage
    Was the sound of a single scratch wiping out years of corporate data...
    • Was that the sound of an electromagnet or disruptor wiping out years of corporate data? The prudent thing would be to not put all your eggs in one basket. Magnetic tape backup is vulnerable to electromagnetic radiation.
    • by TubeSteak (669689)

      Was the sound of a single scratch wiping out years of corporate data...

      Right, because nobody would think to put that optical disc in a cartridge or caddy...
      just like every other serious commercial* level product.

      *commercial, as in not-for-consumers

  • by fodder69 (701416) on Tuesday July 08, 2008 @12:57PM (#24102275)

    Will it play in my HDDVD player?

  • by cazbar (582875) on Tuesday July 08, 2008 @12:58PM (#24102303)
    Now you can order a collection of ALL the pornography on the internet on an easy-to-ship 150 disc set. Pioneer drive required.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by sexconker (1179573)

      150 discs?

      Surely you mean 150 spindles of discs...

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by RulerOf (975607)
        They've compressed it to MPEG-1, transcoded it to FLV, added an Ebaumsworld.com watermark, transcoded it to WMV, added a break.com watermark, and then transcoded it back to FLV, cropped out the watermarks, posted it on youtube, and pressed it to 150 fully DRM compliant disks, for your viewing pleasure.

        For an extra 15 dollars/disk, they'll even sync up the audio for you.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Blimey85 (609949)
      My heart skipped a beat when I read this.
  • If this doesn't make them adopt BD++ triple AACS CCS CSS DES CCCCC encryption daily licencing, nothing will.

  • Thick (Score:2, Funny)

    by GottliebPins (1113707)
    Its amazing how much data you can cram on a 12" thick disc.
  • by hyades1 (1149581) <hyades1@hotmail.com> on Tuesday July 08, 2008 @01:06PM (#24102425)

    Let me guess, it's going to be used to ship the next version of Duke Nukem.

  • rerun (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ILuvRamen (1026668) on Tuesday July 08, 2008 @01:28PM (#24102729)
    Too bad InPhase already has had a holographic disk of that capacity for a while now plus a write speed that blows this media away.
  • Unfortunately, I haven't figured out how to write data to it yet.

    • It's never gotten full. 25TB would be no problem. Perhaps our technologies could combine. Linux even has a driver for it. You can access it using /dev/null.

      The read-only device has worked great for me too. I've only ever gotten 0s out of it. /dev/zero and /dev/null combined could be awesome.

  • Amazing seek times (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Joe Snipe (224958) on Tuesday July 08, 2008 @02:11PM (#24103407) Homepage Journal

    Essentially wouldn't this be the same as having an 8 platter HD (aside from the slower moving read head)? This could easily outperfom a 2-4 platter Hard drive, no?

  • Fools! (Score:2, Funny)

    by nko321 (788903)
    It's read only! How are they going to get 400 GB onto something onto which they can't write?

    Do they mean WORM? (Is there some marketing problem with that acronym, maybe?)

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