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Sony's Blue-Violet Laser the Future Blu-ray? 260

Posted by timothy
from the ever-more-bits dept.
JoshuaInNippon writes "Japanese researchers from Sony and Tohoku University announced the development of a 'blue-violet ultrafast pulsed semiconductor laser,' which Sony is aiming to use for optical disks. The new technology, with 'a laser wavelength of 405 nanometers in the blue-violet region' and a power out put 'more than a hundred times the world's highest output value for conventional blue-violet pulse semiconductor lasers,' is believed to be capable of holding more than 20 times the information of current Blu-ray technology, while retaining a practical size. Japanese news reports have speculated that one blue-violet disk could be capable of holding more than 50 high-quality movie titles, easily fitting entire seasons of popular TV shows like 24. When the technology may hit markets was not indicated."
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Sony's Blue-Violet Laser the Future Blu-ray?

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  • Oh no. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bit9 (1702770) on Thursday July 22, 2010 @05:53PM (#32997428)
    Here come some more shark comments. Sheesh!
    • Here come some more shark comments. Sheesh!

      I think for the next April Fool's day Slashdot should automatically reject all comments that contain the words 'Shark' and 'XKCD'. Think of all the people that'd get!

      • Re:Oh no. (Score:4, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 22, 2010 @06:06PM (#32997578)

        The world looks mighty good to me,
        'Cause goatse holes are all I see.
        Whatever it is I think I see,
        becomes a goatse hole to me
        Goatse hole how I love your anusy gue,
        Goatse hole I think I'm in love with you
        Whatever it is I think I see,
        becomes a goatse hole to me.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Twinbee (767046)

      They were already there, hence it's automatically on topic. It's almost like saying "Sigh, here comes another Slashdot story..." which will inevitably relate to the much more important topic surrounding shark mounted lasers.

      Hence, I'm happier with this Slashdot story because it's actually *more* on topic than usual.

    • by PPH (736903)
      Blue sharks [wikipedia.org], no doubt.
  • by Jerrry (43027) on Thursday July 22, 2010 @05:54PM (#32997434)

    Of course, as soon as Sony brings this to market, some other company, or group of companies, will unveil a competing product incompatible with Sony's, starting yet another format war. Too bad these guys can't just work together and agree on a common format and save us all time, money, and having to deal with dead formats (e.g. HD-DVD).

    • Re: (Score:4, Funny)

      by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Thursday July 22, 2010 @05:58PM (#32997498) Journal

      The only reason HD-DVD didn't take off was Not enough repeated letters in the name to be catchy. This time they'll try HHDVVDDBVD.

      *props to RvB

    • by clarkkent09 (1104833) on Thursday July 22, 2010 @06:36PM (#32997894)
      Who cares. By the time this technology goes commercial, optical discs will be dead as far as selling movies, music and such goes. Maybe they'll have some other more limited uses.
    • Of course, as soon as Sony brings this to market, some other company, or group of companies, will unveil a competing product incompatible with Sony's, starting yet another format war. Too bad these guys can't just work together and agree on a common format and save us all time, money, and having to deal with dead formats (e.g. HD-DVD).

      This is the first time I've ever seen an Insightful mod used on the proposal that a Sony format should be unanimously adopted.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Tordre (1447083)

        He never said the Sony Spec was to be the one to rule them all, but rather he suggested they all work together to make the next spec to avoid a format war.

        I would like to append something to that request, set all the features in stone, so consumers wont have to worry about firmware upgrades or hardware upgrades every time someone says hey wouldn't it be cool if... and then puts it into production. Sure the PS3 can keep up with the evolving blu-ray specs but not every device can.

        • He never said the Sony Spec was to be the one to rule them all, but rather he suggested they all work together to make the next spec to avoid a format war.

          Well... I guess you're right that it's ambiguous. I read that out of it because he said that somebody would come along with a competing format after Sony did. But, yeah, I see your point.

          I would like to append something to that request, set all the features in stone, so consumers wont have to worry about firmware upgrades or hardware upgrades every time someone says hey wouldn't it be cool if... and then puts it into production. Sure the PS3 can keep up with the evolving blu-ray specs but not every device can.

          I'm not really certain how I feel about that. We have cheap flash memory and processors now. Why not make a standard piece of hardware updatable? Well.. okay after I typed that I realized we were talking about Sony. heh

  • People haven't even moved from DVDs to Blu-Ray yet, judging by the amount of shelf space still given to DVDs.

    Is Sony TRYING to kill off blu-ray?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by cybereal (621599)

      History is easy to forget. DVD was around on the shelves for almost a decade before it hit mass consumption levels. Blu-ray will probably see the same time frames, and this update to the format will take years of research and development before it's even commercially viable.

      Don't sweat it.

      • by Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) on Thursday July 22, 2010 @06:22PM (#32997742)
        The difference in going from VHS to DVD was far more substantial than going from DVD to Blu-Ray. No more rewinding, easy seeking, a menu system. Blu-Ray does have a higher quality, but doesn't provide enough new features to warrant upgrading my entire DVD collection...especially when a decent upconverter can be purchased for relatively cheap. Some titles I have purchased for Blu-Ray, Casino Royale, and Dark Knight look gorgeous in high definition. Duck Soup and Spaceballs, however will likely stay in my collection as DVDs.
      • by Dogtanian (588974) on Thursday July 22, 2010 @06:23PM (#32997762) Homepage

        History is easy to forget. DVD was around on the shelves for almost a decade before it hit mass consumption levels.

        No, it wasn't.

        DVD came out between late 1996 (Japan) and early 1999, depending on where you lived. Here in the UK it apparently came out in late 1998 (*), and in 3-4 years sharply falling prices were already seriously eroding the VHS market. I got a DVD-ROM drive for UK £40-45 circa 2002, and that wasn't especially cutting edge (nor expensive!) by that time.

        (*) Or so Wikipedia claims. However, I remember DVD-ROM drives and decoder cards being offered- albeit it at a notable premium- as a mainstream option when I was choosing a PC in Spring '98.

      • by Grishnakh (216268)

        Yes, but they didn't announce Blu-ray right when DVD was starting to get really popular.

        Leaking information about a successor to Blu-ray this early is an Osborne.

      • Yes, but DVDs had the PS2 and PCs to boost sales, Blu-Ray has the third-place console and a few PCs supporting it and the people who buy some of the most expensive home computers (Macs) don't have it and when the trend is for machines to forgo an optical drive altogether... I just can't see Blu-Ray reaching even remotely the level of support as DVD did. When flash memory reaches even cheaper levels than now, I don't think that an optical disk has a future, they are slow, expensive to re-write, and bulky.
        • by sznupi (719324)

          None of that three objections at the end matter much in a format for delivery of content for consumption; especially with its mass stamping for pennies.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by grommit (97148)
      Yes, they are trying to kill off blu-ray, 5-10 years from now. I know it can be hard to read them but the summary states that they have announced the development of the laser diode. They haven't released a product, they haven't come up with specs, they haven't even created a single diode yet. This product is years and years off. Stop whining.
      • heya,

        Not to nitpick - but they have the diode, lol.

        It's just the specs, and a marketable product they don't have yet =).

        But otherwise, your post is spot on, it'll probably be at least half a decade before this comes to market - they have to miniaturise and mass produce it before.

        Cheers,
        Victor

      • by fotbr (855184)

        I'm not whining, I just find it amusing that Sony is exhibiting their typical behavior and beginning the process to shoot themselves in the foot. Again.

        I'm in the camp of opinion that DVDs are good enough for almost all of the garbage being pushed out of hollywood, and that optical media in general has a limited future at best as other technologies outpace it.

  • by francium de neobie (590783) on Thursday July 22, 2010 @05:58PM (#32997490)
    We'd already be walking around with 500GB USB sticks.

    Or worse, we'd be walking around with 1Gbps wireless connections and we'd be streaming HD movies from YouTube.

    So unless they've figured out how to cram like 1PB or even 1EB on an optical disc, they're walking down a blind alley.
    • by sexconker (1179573) on Thursday July 22, 2010 @06:03PM (#32997550)

      We'd already be walking around with 500GB USB sticks.

      Or worse, we'd be walking around with 1Gbps wireless connections and we'd be streaming HD movies from YouTube.

      And the "HD" YouTube videos would still look like shit.

    • You're right, I think the article is way off the mark. I don't think there will be another viable packaged video disc format. The article makes no mention of possible use in fiber optics, the higher information density could allow much more information to be transmitted, assuming it is at all compatible with fiber.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by spazdor (902907)

        Is there such a thing as "compatibility" with fiber? I mean, I know that optic fiber's frequency-transmission characteristics aren't perfectly flat, which probably yields more or less signal attenuation, but it's not like photons come in different 'formats'.

      • I look forward to the day spinning optical media dies. Hard disks are decent, but optical media is fiddly stuff. Lot of poor quality optical drives out there. They don't last, and they often error out halfway through a burn. They're slow. As if a motor to spin the disks isn't enough of a mechanical weak point, they insist on powering the trays. Device drivers for both Linux and Windows are flaky. And the disks! They decay, warp, and scratch. And lastly, the politics. There are the format wars of c

    • I recently became a Netflix convert. The DVD-in-the-mail trick is okay, as I'm a patient guy and don't mind planning ahead. What really impressed me was the streaming. True, it's not perfect, but the value of convenience far outweighs subtle quality issues.
      • by gknoy (899301)

        True; how long would it take to download ~5 TB (20x 50 GB) over a 1 gbps connection? What if they were lower quality, or compressed in a lossy way, and we still could torrent them, or even just stream the whole thing from Netflix? I suspect the convenience of streaming (or of downloading them ahead of time) will outweigh this.

    • They still would be useful for doing backups. Flash is too expensive for write-once data.
    • by Psaakyrn (838406)
      Of cause, that is why they're developing 3D technologies as well, so that streaming video would require much higher bandwidths. Granted right now it's only twice the size, but that is also the most basic (one point-of-view) type of 3D tech.
  • Oh, wait, I get it. This is a manly laser. It holds manly shows like "24." It will refuse to store shows like "Days of Our Lives" and "The L Word."
  • um (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Charliemopps (1157495) on Thursday July 22, 2010 @06:02PM (#32997534)
    I thought we were pretty much done with physical media?
    • by Shikaku (1129753)

      Like hard drives?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by badboy_tw2002 (524611)

        For delivery, not storage.

        • by Grishnakh (216268)

          I'm not so sure. Netflix instant viewing is nice, but that quality definitely doesn't equal full HD. Better than DVD, sure, but not better than BD. Network speeds could increase, but I wouldn't bet on them increasing significantly any time soon, in the USA, with the way our telecom companies are run here.

          Streaming distribution of HD content might be feasible in an advanced country like South Korea or Finland, but not in the USA. Our network speeds just aren't fast enough.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by sznupi (719324)

            And suddenly people here want to practically completelly give up their control over media? How did that happen?

            • by Grishnakh (216268)

              Netflix happened. For $9/month, you can watch just about all the streaming movies you want (plus check out one DVD by mail at a time). That's way cheaper than buying DVDs, and it's easy and free to re-watch something you've already seen.

              Yeah, if they were trying to push a pay-per-view model, that probably wouldn't work so well, and the Slashdotters would insist on getting the DVDs by mail so they could rip them before returning them. But unlike all the other media companies these days, the guys at Netfli

          • There are plenty of companies providing HD over IP in the US. It just requires fiber to the home, which they're putting in for most new construction.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Haeleth (414428)

              Yeah, this is exactly the route we want to go down. I, for one, can't wait for the day when there is no longer any way to watch a movie without twenty minutes of advertising in every hour.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Kjella (173770)

      We are, at least this media. It'll be as popular as SACD and DVD Audio, which is to say not at all. Ever notice how they could sell DVDs with about 1000 of those iTunes tracks, but they don't? This won't be used to sell more on one disc, it'll be to tell you that you need BeyondHD resolution and lossless 384KHz/48 bit audio for your bats because otherwise you'll miss the overtones. Looking at the encodes I see that even BluRay is often overkill. Outside of backwater countries like the US the connection spee

  • a laser wavelength of 405 nanometers in the blue-violet region' and a power out put 'more than a hundred times the world's highest output value for conventional blue-violet pulse semiconductor lasers

    Use it too many times, the media is burned to a crisp.

    "Why isn't this thing working - let me look in and see if there's anything clogging the ....AGGH MY EYEBALLS!"

    Now if they can make a switchable converter that will let it emit in visible light, little Johnny the future serial killer can also tease cats

  • 405 nm (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday July 22, 2010 @06:12PM (#32997646)

    According to wikipedia, the light used in a bluray laser is also 405 nm, so that isn't the new part, in case that was confusing for anyone else.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Nicko011 (1503977)
      HDDVD also uses 405nm lasers. Blu-ray burners already hit 500mW, so I really don't think they need to be more powerful... Note that 500mW is already 100 times what those cheap red and green lasers put out, and instantly heats up your skin. Anyway, my point is that this article needs a new title - Blue-violet lasers are nothing new. 100W though? That's insane and will quickly burn a hole through your blu-ray player if it's turned on for more than a several milliseconds. For reference, an unfocused, collimat
  • I'm not sure what Blu-ray is currently up to, GB-wise, but during The War, I enlisted with the side that claimed it could store the most data. Capacity was supposed to increase to 250GB at some point, based on things I was reading early on.

    Instead, the maximum size a standard Blu-ray player can read is apparently 100GB, and I've never seen one that big. Everything is 50. 200GB discs exist, but rare as unicorns, and I guess unplayable with a special 200GB-Blu-ray drive.



    That article doesn't even mention
    • by gandhi_2 (1108023)

      Wife: (eyes rolling) Why do you need *another* movie player?

      You: But hon! This one uses a 405 nanometer laser! That's in the blue-violet region!

      Now all you Blu-Ray movie watchers can sit thru non-skip-able commercials about the "amazing Hi Def picture of the Blu-Vi-402" movies coming soon!

      • by c6gunner (950153)

        Now all you Blu-Ray movie watchers can sit thru non-skip-able commercials about the "amazing Hi Def picture of the Blu-Vi-402" movies coming soon!

        I'm constantly amused by the fact that these commercials were first put on VHS tapes in order to stop the movie from getting damaged, while on modern media they're the only part of the disk that never seems to get damaged. You can't skip the commercials, but the movie is guaranteed to skip! There's something poetic about that ....

        • by sznupi (719324)

          Well, assuming the contents are laid out on the disk in the most probable order of playback, they should be near the center; I imagine most scratch don't end up there.

    • by Zironic (1112127)

      Well, since standard blueray is 50gb and it says this one is 25x bigger then the standard one should be 1250gb.

      Though at that point I have to wonder, why don't you just sell the movies on a bloody external harddrive?

      • by sznupi (719324)

        Because mass pressing of optical disks will remain much cheaper... (that it doesn't have to filter to consumers is irrelevant; price of media doesn't dictate the pricing schemes of content owners that much - but it does dictate their margins, so...)

      • by Nadaka (224565)

        Because it is to easy to read and write to a hard drive.

    • How many Library of Congress National Film Registries is that?

    • by julesh (229690)

      Exactly my thoughts. A standard BD player can handle 100GB, and some can handle 200GB, which for the "entire season of 24" quoted in the article is 4-8GB per episode, or around 12500kbps. This is more than enough to achieve said result. So tell me, why do we not currently have entire seasons on single discs? Because the manufacturers think we'll not be happy spending large quantities of our cash and only getting a single disc for it. It feels so much better if its an 8-disc box set or whatever. And be

  • damn (Score:2, Redundant)

    by Dyinobal (1427207)
    damn I still only have a dvd player.
  • The limit on drive capacity is not switching speed, but focal spot diameter. If this is a 405nm laser, its minimum focus spot will be exactly the same size as the spot of existing Blu-Ray lasers (they're 405nm, too). What am I missing?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by f8l_0e (775982)
      It might have to do with the fact that optical discs the pits and lands don't exactly correspond to binary 1's and 0's.

      CDs use EFM Encoding [wikipedia.org] to store their data, DVD's use EFMPlus and BD's use 17PP [cdrinfo.com].

      Having a faster switching laser may allow for the run lengths to be different. But that's just my best guess.
    • by Icarus1919 (802533) on Thursday July 22, 2010 @07:10PM (#32998188)
      Hoo brother, you have no idea how many libraries of congress this thing outputs.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by julesh (229690)

      The limit on drive capacity is not switching speed, but focal spot diameter. If this is a 405nm laser, its minimum focus spot will be exactly the same size as the spot of existing Blu-Ray lasers (they're 405nm, too). What am I missing?

      That somebody somewhere along the line hasn't thought about the implications of what they're talking about?

      The laser described is a _100W_ laser. Because of the short pulse length, I'm not sure if this makes it a class 3B or class 4 laser, but in either case safety equipment

  • Just like current blu-ray, it's just not practical. Why would I pay $25 for 4 25GB discs, when I can pay $100 for a 2TB external hard drive? Even for archiving purposes, it's just not practical unless you use the argument that the discs last longer.
  • If only (Score:5, Funny)

    by bugs2squash (1132591) on Thursday July 22, 2010 @06:42PM (#32997946)
    50 High quality movie titles had been produced since Blu ray started shipping.
  • Its worth noting that techies were talking about using blue lasers back in the 90's as a way to fit more information onto a "CD" for computers, way before any of had DVD players in our homes. I remember it was pointed out the blue lasers transferred data slower than the lasers being used in CD-ROM drives of the day.

    I think a Blue-Violet replacement for BluRay is longer off than most other slashdot posters seem to believe.
  • by Stele (9443)

    Japanese news reports have speculated that one blue-violet disk could be capable of holding more than 50 high-quality movie titles, easily fitting entire seasons of popular TV shows like 24. When the technology may hit markets was not indicated.

    First they mention it being capable of holding 50 high-quality movie titles, following up in the same sentence with the show "24". I'm confused - which is it?

  • by blahplusplus (757119) on Thursday July 22, 2010 @07:48PM (#32998538)

    ... the cost of 20PK of 25GB discs (500GB) is the same as a 750GB-1GB hard disk, with 2TB hard disks going for $99. The media for blu-ray is not cost competitive with hard disks any longer they better hurry up since by the time blu-ray discs become cost competitive so hard disks no longer offer more bang for the buck there will be new Hard drives out.

  • LOTR (Score:4, Insightful)

    by l0ungeb0y (442022) on Thursday July 22, 2010 @08:07PM (#32998668) Homepage Journal

    These can hold 20x the capacity, but you'll still have to buy the theatrical and extended special editions of LOTR separately
    So really, Hollywood execs will render these discs moot, at lest as far as home entertainment purposes go.

The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not "Eureka!" (I found it!) but "That's funny ..." -- Isaac Asimov

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