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Triple-Density CD-RW From TDK & Friends 117

Houndogk writes: "I came across this reading the news of the day at Tomshardware. This [article] talks about a new generation of CD-RW that promise to be 3x as fast and have 3x the capacity as current drives. It is also expected to scale to 4x and 5x." From the article: "[T]he premise of ML technology is the use of gray-scale disc encoding, with 3 bits per spot giving eight shades of gray. Under a microscope, the disc surface appears as a continuous blending of light to dark shading, versus the traditional disc appearance of either dark or bright spots." And what happens when we go to 24 bits per spot? ;) This announcement seems to partly answer GeoffM's quest for dual- or quad-density CD-Rs, and handily top Sony's moves to double-density.
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Triple-Density CD-RW From TDK & Friends

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  • I've been in the CD-RW-making business for about three years and I'm at the head of a R&D division. I have one sentence for you all: this won't work.
    I have one sentence for you pal: "You arent seeing the potential in this"
    When you have three layers of any dye except chlarodium, they will eventually cave in making one track of complete gibberish. This is because over time (1-3yrs), dyes will accumulate heat and melt once enough is accumulated.
    So ??
    How many discs are you burning that you dont expect to hold a very long time ??
    lets see what data are usualy put on discs
    • linux - dont care if it last only 3 months, when the disc is gone, there's a new linux dist.
    • games - so what if it doesnt last a year, next year there's a new hot game in town
    • music - it would be nice with a LONG lifetime
    • pictures - same as music
    • movies - in 3 years you wont accept seeing anything less than DVD, the details just arent good enough
    • backup - a LONG lifetime is good

    The article talked about putting this into camera's and mp3 players / "walkmens" / "discmen" / "minidiscman" / ...
    Sure a long lifetime would be nice, but some people, i know i do, usualy just listens to the lastest music the radio plays. So a short lifetime doesnt matter if the disc is cheap.

    So, what does a marketing dude see from this... Cool 2 markets, one for casual data where the lifetime doesnt matter that much, and one for importent data where the lifetime is importent. So, you sell the 1-3 years cheap, knowing you'll sell lots of these. The others have longer lifetime. And since they offer an extra value, you can sell these for more money. Though they might be more expensive to make, they shouldnt be that much more expensive. Imagien having cd's which could hold data until my kids gets old... i bet people wouldnt mind paying 10$ for a disc that lasts this long or perhaps even 20$. Remember you dont have to use the long term discs. I doubt it would matter much if they only hold the usualy 650MB for the long term discs. (at least for the next decade or so)
    Read my other replies, i think i happened to write it twice, about why these discs can also hold 1bit instead of 3bit.

  • That's kind of the idea behind quantum computers. Each quantum bit would have 32 possible values, which is equivalent to 5 binary bits.
  • by Black Art ( 3335 ) on Sunday January 07, 2001 @11:04AM (#524771)
    My first concern when reading this article was "what happens to the data as the plastic ages?".

    Does the data change if the plastic starts to darken or yellow? Could make for some interesting aat data recovery. ("Well, you just have to subtract one from every byte".)
  • One problem with this technology is that it is incompatible with the methods used to produce CD-ROMs and DVDs. A stamper produces pits on a blank disk. It can't produce shades of gray.
  • four

    Adenine, Thyamine, cytosine and guanine

  • I strongly doubt the veracity of this announcement. Does the idea of 3-bits seem wrong to anyone else here ? Computers usually work in powers of two (2,4,8,16,32,64,128,256,512 etc), and not three. So I think either this is a lie, or someone has made a mistake somewhere.

    What next ? a 49-bit processor ? :-)

  • by FFFish ( 7567 ) on Sunday January 07, 2001 @11:13AM (#524775) Homepage
    Analog means infinitely variable values: in other words, decimal values.

    Digital means discrete values: in other words, only certain values are permissible.

    Tri-state is digital: there are only three possible values, and there are no in-between values.

    There are some excellent arguments to be made for using digital technology that goes beyond simple on/off. Easier to build fuzzy-logic devices, f'rinstance. Two tri-states provide more than twice what you get from two binary states, without requiring twice the circuit complexity, and the savings increase exponentially the greater the number of sensors/indicators/controls needed.

  • CD drives slower that 8X cameout before CDR discs, so they arn't reliably compatible with them, but faster (as in newer ones) work fine with them. Its the same with with CD drives slower than about 16X, arn't compatible with CDRW discs, but new ones work fine with them. Who knows, maybe CD drives that come out soom may also be read compatible with these triple density CDRW discs to.
  • I've gone through 3 floppy drives and four CDROM drives in the past five years. How about this folks, create a cheap storage where you don't have to spin a disk so fast that it sounds like a jet engine at mach 4. Heck, why stop there? How about a storage medium and reader that can stand up to a good amount of dust and scratches? If you can do this, and have it store over a GB, then I'd buy your product in a heart beat.
  • I thought the point of 1 bit per spot, also known as "digital", was to reduce the amounts of errors. Now they want to go back to storing data analog?

    No, it's still digital. "Digital" just means that each element can hold one of a discrete number of values. Binary is just a special case of those values being "0" and "1". Think of the decimal number system where each symbol can hold one of ten discrete values. These symbols, btw, are called digits...

    It's like the shift from 300 bps modems to 1200 bps. 300 bps encoded 1 bit into each state change (so 300 bps was in fact 300 baud). 1200 bps encoded 4 bits into each state, so 1200 bps is still just 300 baud. (And thus started the semantic wars!)

    What I wonder, though, is what's the point of high-density CDRW disks that can't be read in any existing drive? I was under the impression that CDRW was just a stop-gap measure until DVDRW matured.

  • thank you!

  • The idea of having three separate dyes is not such a bad idea conceptually. This would mean that each "space" would have three bits instead of one.

    1 bit = 2 states
    3 bits = 8 states
    3 bits = 1 bit X 3

    This yields 3x the data. Clear enough?

    I would imagine (keep in mind data storage is not my field) that it would be easier to arrange this with two dyes so you could read a single byte out of four "spaces" instead of reading 9/8 of a byte out of three "spaces." But I don't know.

    In any case, this seems like an unecessary step to take, when DVD-ROM, GD-ROM, etc. has already demonstrated that you can have high bit density and good reliability with the traditional one bit per space approach.

    If they would get rid of the politically motivated "tariffs" on blank DVD media, it would probably replace CD-RW.

  • I have a 70mm disc right here... It holds about 120MB, or about 74:49 of music. What's it say? Fuji MiniDisc. I stick it in this little square thingy here with buttons about the size of one of these here MiniDiscs and it says HELLO! and plays music.
  • I am sorry, but I just asked my 4 year old daughter, and she says 2x3=6, but 2x4=8. So why isn't it 4x instead of 3x?
  • Except that what we have here isn't base-3, but base-8; Each digit stores one of eight values. You're confusing the number of bits per spot with the number of values per spot.
  • OK ... now ask her to explain binary to you.

    Three bits means three "binary places". Each "place" is worth a power of two equal to it's offset from the rightmost place, just as each "place" in decimal is worth a power of ten equal to it's offset. So given three bits we can express the values 0 through 7 (000 through 111). With only one bit we can express 0 through 1 (0 or 1). It follows that eight grey values can represent three bits where two grey values could reresent one bit. Given that three is roughly three times the original capacity of one, my considered opinion is that, although your daughter's arithmatic is correct, your interpretation of it is not.

    I'd suggest that you avoid embarassing gaffes like this by learning some basics. Perhaps visiting "How bytes and bits work []" or asking your daughter to explain basic base-n math to you might be of some help.

    Good luck!

    If your map and the terrain differ,
    trust the terrain.

  • The key word is cheap. Jaz disks nominally sell for $100/2G, as opposed to .19/600M for CDR. Granted, Jaz is a lot more flexible in actual use, but is several orders of magnitude more expensive. And, based on observation of Iomega media stretching all the way back to the Bernoulli 10MB cartridges, the media prices never come down significantly.
  • Plastic olycarbonate, the material from which CDs are made, does not darken or yellow.

    Further, even if it did, it would do so in a fashion which is consistant across the disc, and would pose no more a problem than it does with binary CD-Rs right now. The different dyes and reflective surfaces of which show great variances in reflectivity and other characteristics between brands, not to mention variances of output power, frequency, divergence, and other thinks laser due to aging and manufacturing tolerance of the laser diode. The reader has some automagic circuitry (think AGC) and error correction to determine which bit is which, and these parts are at play continuously every time you read a CD.

    So, even if the disc were soiled sufficiently that subtracting 1 from every 4-bit 'byte' would correct the reading process, this correction would happen automatically, as it is already done with current binary CD players (cheap Aiwa portables and 40x Plextors alike), and I don't suspect that they'll thow it out.
  • that DVDRAM and DVDRW will never ever become cheap and commonplace?

  • I had fun several years ago when the high-speed (greater than 4x) CD-ROM drives came out. I had one in my new machine at work that almost make the CPU case shake with some disks. I got to thinking 'hmmm, disk out of balance...' so I started fooling with the drive, putting progressively more scotch tape on a disk to see how loud it would get. Then I taped a small metal washer onto a disk. Big mistake. The CD-ROM drive made so much noise (I was in my cubicle) that I had to shut off the whole machine to keep people from wondering what the hell I was doing (embarassing questions would have been asked, I suspect). The faster, ever-faster CDROM drives definitely result in reduced reliability over time. CD media isn't always perfect balanced. At my new company they even put 'taped labels' that throw off the whole balance of the disk on official CD releases (internal master copies) which I immediately recognized as a bad idea.

  • You're all way off with this tri-state/base 3 discussion. Just because the article talks about "3x" drives doesn't mean that there's base 3 maths involved. You're letting the 3 confuse you.

    The 3x refers to the fact that the drives hold 3x as much information. If you want to talk about the number of states of each dot, it's not 3, but *eight*. So if you want to talk in bases, you should really be talking base-8.

    But in any case, this is all abstracted to a high enough degree that to all intents and purposes one could consider the drive to be emitting a stream of binary digits, just like the old days. Only at the very lowest levels does the firmware need to know it's not dealing with binary states.
  • Your definition of analog might be wrong?

    Analog is continious.. We can never measure an analog signal exactly. We can only estimate measurements into fractions, eg. the length of a book is 12.347 cm. Fractions are not exactly decimals?
  • 3bits means 8 different states. This is quite different from 3 states, which would mean log(3)/log(2) = 1.5850 bits per pixel.
  • by Pig Hogger ( 10379 ) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `reggoh.gip'> on Sunday January 07, 2001 @07:37PM (#524792) Journal
    Russia made some ternary computers, as can be seen here []...


  • If RGB color on a CDRW were possible, a really cool hack would be to generate an ISO that would burn on the CD and create a full-color image on the data side ;-)
  • by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) on Sunday January 07, 2001 @09:01AM (#524794)
    binary digit ==> "bit"
    ternary digit ==> "tit"

    Now we can have "megatits", "tit compression schemes" (= corsets?), "parity tits", "titwise logical operators", "tit rotation", "tit buckets", and "128 tit encryption".

    "big endian" and "little endian" will remain unchanged.

    If your interests run toward utility rather than purience, you can notice that 8 tits (a "tyte"?) will store 3^8 = 6561 distinct values.

  • I mean, instead of reading 3 bits a normal drive would get 1. If it's done right, a stripped down version of what's on the CD ought to be available.

    Uhm... If I read the article correctly, that would require that each spot (which could take one of 8 states) default up to a 1 or down to a 0 (to be comb^Hpatable with the old drives) AND that each spot encode the proper state out of the eight (shade of grey) for the new drives to read it.

    To efficiently do this en masse would be somewhat difficult.
  • Well, yah, I'll give you that. I was trying to convey the idea that it isn't discrete: it can't be quanticized. Dunno how to put it into layman terms... "continuous" is good, I guess.

  • Sometimes you just have to throw away old technology and start all over. You do it in the software industry too.
    Floppies was made better, it started with 180Kb ?? perhaps even smaller, then it moved to 320, 720, 1200, and 1440.
    But today people wants MB, not KB, and preferably GB's.

    The most promising in this technology might be their idea to make 80 and 60 mm disc'
    s. Take your average 3.5" (94x90mm) floppy, has a nice size, it can fit in a pocket, a CD cant do that, unless it is a BIG pocket, and then it does feel ackward. A floppy can also fit in a standart envelope, where a CD is again too big.

    The 80mm should hold 650 mb, which really is quite enough for "casual" moving of data. You can have small video clips, you can have lots of pics, or perhaps music. They have a 60mm disk, whats that, minidisc size, i think so, nut 100% sure, which holds 200mb.

    The best part is that i dont see ANY reason why you cant use one of these disc's in existing CD-R/CR-RW's. And just burn the regular 1 bit instead of the advanced 3 bit. This means that if the manefactures license this, or create their own, then these 3xCD's can possibly very fast be very cheap for the media that is. This gives the advantage that there is no reason NOT to buy the 3x version vs. the 1x. And this gives a further reason for people to upgrade the firmware of their eq, so it can read these discs. I understood a software would be enough, no hardware was needed. In that case, a firmware change, and you can burn these big discs, or the old 1x's if you choose.

  • So would you only like one OS provider, for greater interoperability (at cost of service, performance, and capability), or one phone service provider, or one ISP, or one music provider, etc?

    The price of competition, incompatibility, is balanced by the value of competition, which is each of the 5 standards trying to outdo each other, on the ground of price, performance, capability, reliability, useability, etc.

    If there were only 1 standard, why would you think we'd get any improvement or innovation? The same forces that would bring about 1 standard *should* also force the system to never ever change or improve; the minute someone comes up with a better idea, you'd have 2 competing incompatbile systems, and the problem starts again!

    Geek dating! []
  • Once these are out, hopefully people will bounce on the opportunity to get these writers and companies that manufacture portable mp3/cd players will support this new standard.

  • This is great news and all, but how long before we the consumer can actually purchase this technology?

    How long will it be before they finally come up with a standard for these increased density CDs, or are we going to have a bunch of different propriety formats to keep track of?
  • AFAIK CD-RW's don't fulfill the CD specs (CD-R's only barely), so no player is "required" to play them. I myself haven't seen any CD-RW's play in any CD-players (though I've tested only a few), but they often work in CD-ROMs.
    Most older CD-ROM drives don't care too much for CD-RWs. I have several older drives (Sony 4x IDE, Panasonic 4x SCSI, and Mitsumi 6x IDE) that don't take rewritables. The newer drives I have (Creative Labs 2x IDE DVD-ROM, Creative Labs 24x IDE, Memorex 40x IDE) read them, as of course does the burner I use (BTC 2x2x6 IDE).

    Also, while most audio CD players won't read CD-RWs, most DVD players will. I've used rewritables to test VCD burns before committing them to CD-R, and I've played MP3s off of 'em (the player is an Apex AD-600A...the model the MPAA loves to hate).

  • I agree that, philosophically at least, more error correction should exist to handle more data. There's plenty of info and science around error correction, so I'm not too worried about that.

    Your problems with accuracy can be handled in manifold ways; multiple lasers (3, ostensibly) to handle the burn accuracy. Read accuracy would probably be no different than what you described, using 12.5% intensity deltas between values, instead of 50% intensity values.

    There's no reason to slow down the burn to increase accuracy; just use better receptors, and higher tolerance devices. That technique seems to work fine for Intel, which keeps cranking out faster and faster CPUs with better and better processes and technique!

    So IDE doesn't cut it? That's why there is... SCSI, Firewire, SerialATA and USB2. My preference is for Firewire to take the lead, as it is the cheapest and most established of the 4 listed technologies...

    So, given that we can get around all those technical difficulties... Why can't we see a faster read and burn rate?

    Geek dating! []
  • You need to pay more attention in your history class, bub.

    EDSAC, in 1949, used 35-bit words. The same year, BINAC used 31-bit words. 1951, the EDVAC with 44-bit words; and the IBM "Defense Computer" with 36-bit words.

    Now, granted, these were binary bits; but it does show that powers-of-two are not necessary and, indeed, weren't even the norm back in the beginning.

    There's no reason not to use three bits. It's fifty-percent more complicated to detect than binary, but twenty-five percent less complicated than detecting a four-state system. And tri-state electronics are plenty common, whereas four-state electronics aren't.

    I think that as a proof-of-technology, 3 bits is the logical choice. As the technology advances, we'll undoubtedly see more bits-per-recording-pit.

  • That's kind of the idea behind quantum computers. Each quantum bit would have 32 possible values, which is equivalent to 5 binary bits.

    No, it's not. The idea of quantum computing is to have bits which are 0 and 1 at the same time. A "byte" made of 8 quantum bits is a superposition of all 256 states a normal binary byte can represent. So if you want to check which one out of the numbers 0-255 is the key in an encryption scheme, you can either test 256 values one after the other conventionally or check them all at once with a quantum byte.

  • the way i see this entire thing is it leaves me with 4 times more space to screw the disc up, and make me another coaster.

    I am Moldy.

  • Just a thought, but the drive firmware could easily hide the whole base2 to base3 conversion and make the drive look like an otherwise normal CDRW with 3 times as many blocks.

  • Second, there is a big performance gap between IDE and SCSI [DVD-ROM drives]. I own the topline Pioneer of both varieties -- my first one was SCSI, I got it more than a year ago, and its 6x speed is STILL the fastest.
    A while ago, the boss had a new machine put together for use at work (we would've built it ourselves, but some weird circumstances popped up so that that didn't happen). It was specced out as a fairly high-end system (1-GHz Athlon, 512 megs RAM, Cheetah X15, etc.) of the items was a 10x SCSI DVD-ROM. I knew they were out there; I had seen them from several vendors on Pricewatch. The company that built the machine tried giving us the run-around on the DVD-ROM drive, but we forced them to dig around for the exact parts we specified. (Even after we received it, we had to apply a bunch of patches and driver upgrades to Win2K to make it run right, but it's been running great for the past few months.)

    We had specced a Pioneer slot-load 10x SCSI DVD-ROM. It must've been fairly new at the time, as they were unable to get that exact model. The system ended up getting built with a Toshiba 10x SCSI DVD-ROM (tray-load), which has worked about the same. I would think faster drives would be available now, though as with CD-ROM drives I suspect that any practical benefits were gained long ago and the continuing race for faster speeds isn't much more than a dick-size contest among the drive manufacturers. (Consider that 1x DVD-ROM runs at about the same data rate as 8x CD-ROM, and you'll see why.)

  • We already have that. We call it a scanner.

  • And on further inspection, it's not even base3, it's just three bits for each single bit on an ordinary drive. That's trivial to handle.

  • better pirated DC games!!
  • Why don't you just put them on DVD, eh?
    You'll have just as much luck trying to get your DC to read the disc!
  • For the current price of a DVD-ROM drive, you could buy a CD-ROM drive and have enough money left over to tack on another 20GB to your hard drive,

    I doubt that I could find a cd-rom and 20gb hard drive for $50
  • by ghoti ( 60903 ) on Sunday January 07, 2001 @08:36AM (#524814) Homepage
    No, instead of 1 bit (2 states) you store 3 bits (8 states). So that gives you three times as many bits, hence three times the capacity. But to encode 3 bits, you have to be able to produce (and later read) 8 gray levels.
  • but with the (eternally) soon-to-be-released recordable DVD formats

    These will be loaded with so much copyright control (DVD CCA [] is also the 4C Entity []) that the only files you'll be allowed to store are works you create yourself and works created before January 1, 1923 [] (in the US at least). This means that you will need to be in a band to store music on your DVD-R, and you can only store your band's music. And you definitely won't be able to encrypt files on DVD-R, as decryption of works you didn't create is a violation of 17 USC 1201.

    Like Tetris? Like drugs? Ever try combining them? []
  • First of all, tristate logic is not base 3 - the three states are high, low, and high-impedance. High impedance differs from low because it can not be used to sink current. Second, error resistance is (theoretically) just as possible with base >2 as with binary.

    The Russians developed base 3 logic a long time ago, but it was abandoned and has never been given a second look. Why? It was too difficult to work with. Base 2 logic has a well developed language to describe it in Boolean algebra - well developed for more than a hundred years and so simple it's taught in most high schools. Base 3 or more has no such simple language; think about it - what is 1 AND 2? You'd need a whole new set of mathmatical language to just to lay out the simplest circuits, let alone reduce and optimize them. The more complicated it is to design something, the more likely there'll be errors in the design. Interfacing circuitry is also a bitch - how do you make a button that has three positions?

    Of course, this doesn't really apply to storage media - you'd just need a translation layer to go from base-whatever to binary. If anyone knows of any newer developments in base >2, please reply - personally, I find it really interesting.

    "If I removed everything here that I thought was pointless, there would be like two messages here."

  • Instead of marketing it as 2x, 3x, etc., would it be too difficult for the manufacturers to just call it by the amount of data that it holds (i.e. 1.3 GB or 1.8 GB)?

    650 is a hard number to multiply in my head.

  • Now, havent we've been hearing about this type of technology for quite some time? From just having the bits closer like DVD, to using a different laser smaller laser to using floresent lights. and with the exception of DVD none of it has come to light.

    What are the real reasons why none of these new technologies come to light? Is it the realization that it will make some piracy easer by having more space available, the RIAA stepping in, or whoever. Since this is TDK, maybe this will actually come to the market, but this is getting really old not seeing anything out of all of these press releases.
  • 2 tits that fit on an area of the disc the size of a pinhead.

    that's small


  • So if you have 3 bits per spot, and you're using greyscale coding, surely you have 8x the data capacity, assuming the spots are still the same size. I'm assuming they are since the article says it is a s/w upgrade not a h/w upgrade...

    Confused. Of course 3x is good. 8x is better :-)
  • What next, 256 shades of grey? Different colors anyone? Seems like the designers are forgetting the KISS rule. The whole point about digital computing is to make simple things, therefore they are reliable enough to be driven at high clock speeds. We could just as well have eight different voltage levels on data lines instead of maximum or zero, but this would arguably make things a lot more complex than by factor of eight.

    Personally I'd wait for the DVD-RW, although I'm afraid it will be obsolete by the time people can afford it..


  • Why not use DVD-RAM?

    DVD players and DVD-ROM drives cannot read DVD-RAM discs. Don't let the name fool you; it's like those old PD drives that could read CD-ROMs and read and write 650 MB phase-change discs. Good for backup and CD mastering but not good for distribution to end users.

    disKs are magnetic; disCs are optical
    Like Tetris? Like drugs? Ever try combining them? []
  • by philihp ( 261855 )
    imagine what rgb cd-rws would look like, in comparison to the rainbow silver of right now
  • No, it's not. The idea of quantum computing is to have bits which are 0 and 1 at the same time.

    From what I've read/discussed, what you mention relates to the basic quantum computer being built. The ideal quantum computer uses 32 possible values (the 32 states of an electron) as the person you replied to mentions.
    The ideal quantum computer should be able to perform computations in time dt=0 seconds.
  • In reality, one of the selling points of CDRWs is that they can be played on almost any regular CD-ROM (although some cheap players certainly have problems reading CDRWs). At this point, these CDs seem to be in a race with DVDRWs (which will have more density than even 3xCDRWs). Especially damming for this technology is that you will need a special player (the burner) to read the discs one you make them.
  • I dunno about you folks, but from what I see, the trend seems to be more along the lines of throw it away and come up with something entirely new and incompatible. It would be nice to see more people work to improve existing hard/software, but my floppy is still entirely too slow and the only improvements to it's capacity that I have seen is from 1.4 to 1.7. DVD being a perfect example.

  • While CDs are dirt cheap, fast, and even Rewriteable, they have one huge obsticle that hasn't been overcome... You can't write to them without special programs. With a hard disk, your PC knows have to write to it natively, that's why you can run an OS off of it. It can write changes to disk, not to mention SWAP, TMP files, etc. With a CD, it's essentially Read-Only Media until the OS has booted and you are using the CD-Burning software to write to the CDs. This is a big problem that is keeping CDs from replacing floppies. The only reasons GAZ disks haven't taken over where the floppies left off is that they are too damn expensive. In other-words, we need a solution that is fast, infinitely rewriteable, compatible with the PC-BIOS 'write' interrupts, and of course, hi-capacity
  • Checkbits are probably in place which eats up on the amount of space possible. this is similar to the fact audio disks are 750megs instead of 650megs for data, because audio dosn't have as many checkbits as data.
  • Whould these new cd's work with present readers, or would we have to buy a new player?
  • The fact that these drives/media won't be subject to DVD consortium technology licensing fees would be the biggest reason I'd see for their development.
  • Is this the same reason why dylithium crystals are not suited for holographic memory chips?
  • For practical reasons you may want more than just 0 and 1 superpositioned when it comes to implementing a quantum computer, but the idea of quantum computing is that all these values are considered at once in a calculation. It's not about storing more per storage cell.
    The idea behind the light bulb is not "to use 110V", but "to use electric current to heat up a thin wire (so that it heats up and emits light)".
  • I myself haven't seen any CD-RW's play in any CD-players (though I've tested only a few), but they often work in CD-ROMs.

    This is because CDRW discs reflect less light and thus require slightly different methods of reading what is reflected off of the disc. Most CD players are not capable of doing this, hence the reason they are not capable of reading CDRWs.

    Put your feet out and stop ... climb out and hang ...
  • Timothy, 24 bits per spot means that it has to differ between 2^24 (16777216) different shades of grey... it's very hard to reach that level of precision, so I don't see it coming any time soon.
  • Even better, if it does come out will it be worth it? Look at DVD-R's. My company owns one, as I have to run the backups on our Document Imaging server (Yay, OnBase... Yay, Hyland) and we use DVD. 4.7Gb of data, pretty nice. EXCEPT the damn 1x recorder cost us 5500$ a year ago, still goes for 5500$ and seems like it will always cost that. Not to mention there are no spec 1.9 discs out anymore because spec 2.0 is out, yet noone started making the 2.0 dvd-r's yet. So we had to hoard 2000$ worth of media and hope that someone starts making 2.0 spec discs before we run out of media. Yay, Us.

  • Let me dumb it down a little bit so you might be able to understand:

    1) DC systems do not read CD-RW material out-of-the-box.
    2) Even if a DC could be made to read a CD-RW, it would not contain the logic to read a 3-bit CD-RW as described here.
    Therefore, a DC would not be able to read these discs at all. (as they cannot read a DVD, or a piece of cardboard with writing on it, etc..)
    Please think before you post.
  • since when is scsi more established than firewire? are you high? i have had scsi peripherals lying around for years... firewire is fairly new in terms of standards, besides its "established" only in A/V so far. if it's so estyablished when will i get a firewire mouse? or a firewire washer/dryer??? bah, cheapest? is it? how much are firewire interface cards now. i think that USB is a much more established solution and scsi is more established than that. ill stick to my ultra-wide anyday, besides it makes a great space heater!-n-rs-
  • do we really have a need for this drive?
    That doesnt matter, what matters if you think, or marketing can make you think you need it.

    The article mentioned using this in camera's with 80mm discs (a little smaller than a floppy), or 60mm in portable music players. In these sizes the disc could hold 650 and 200MB, which is quite nice for that sort of stuff. So what does it matter if the price is 10 og 20$ for a disc. Compared to the 85-90$ for a 64MB compactflash and 50$ for a 32MB. ( Eventualy the price for these discs might even hit the 1$ a regular cdr is these days, i doubt compact flash will be that low.

    your 1-4 points: if these discs can store 3 bits, and are intented to be used with regular cd-rom laser technology, clearly the same discs can be burnt using just 1 of those 3 bits. Remember, 3 bits means 8 different levels of light. If you can have 8, you can also have 2 levels of light, so you should be able to use these advances disc in your old cdr, though only burning the regular 650MB. This would mean that the CDR disc manefactures might only ship these discs. So, every CDR you buy has the ability to store 650MB, or with the right drive, 3x 650MB = 1950MB or almost 2GB. If the media supports it, and is as cheap, or almost as cheap as the old cdr's, which would you buy ?? just in case.
    The articly further mentions just a software update. If thats all it takes you just need new firmware, possibly only new cdr creation software. This is where the real advantage comes in. Naturaly a firmware update doesnt let cd-rom drive manefactures sell new units, but should they choose to do so, you should possibly be able to use a firmware update. Some companies are already creating new firmware for the drives, so why not add this feature, if it isnt so hard. It makes the manefacture able to destingius itself from the others and say to you "we give you support and features for many years, not abandoning you the minute you walk out the door." So, if they do this, you get a nicer picture of them, and a higher reason to buy their eq next time.

  • Yeah Now I can buy yet another cd-drive that will last no longer than one year, while still not being able to read DVDs at a decent speed, and making more noise than a washing machine. CD-ROM still stands for "Consumer Device - Rendered Obsolete in Months" I guess
  • I said cheapest *and* most established.

    The logical union of cheapest and most established?

    SCSI is not the cheapest; By far, SCSI drives and devices usually have a pretty hefty premium, whereas currently a Firewire drive is marginally more expensive than the IDE drives.

    And stop being so silly; as to your firewire mouse, how about SCSI mice? Or SCSI washer/driers?

    A firewire interface card is about $100 now; how is that terribly more expensive than SCSI?

    As per USB, it is definitely more established, but I thought I said USB2? Which is a new update to the USB spec? Hello?

    SCSI is more established, I don't disagree, but it's more expensive.
    USB2 doesn't quite exist yet, so it is far from established...

    Geek dating! []
  • Something along the lines of: "Developers should stop asking 'Can we?' and start asking 'Should we?'" While I know this may be slightly redundant, considering what existing technology already offers TDK's proposed CDRW plans seem rather unnecessary. Shouldn't we be instead looking toward the improvement of DVD burning technology? Or making already existent CD burners more reliable at high speeds? I hate to come across sounding like a Troll, but TDK's point seems more to develop their own proprietary CD burning format than anything else. At the same time I question the reliability of this technology: Consumer CD burners aren't terribly reliable at high speeds, regardless of all the developments over the past while in burning technology. Now we're going to make it even easier to make errors in the burning process, by making the media even more sensative? On top of that, it's re-writable.... I rarely trust re-writable CDs as it is for anything terribly important, and combined with the potentially higher error rate, I doubt I'd actually ever trust one of these proposed burners for unless I'm forced to. Of course, it's still possible they'll pull it off somehow. That doesn't change the fact, however, that this means another format that we, as consumers, will have to upgrade to take advantage of (even just to read these new CDs, as I assume it'll take more than a simple software upgrade). While I understand that progress dictates that there'll be more formats over time, I again sense this particular one being designed less for the progress of information storage technology, and more to provide TDK with their own unique storage format. In the end, personally I'll keep hoping for some reliable form of DVDRW, and until then, I think normal CDRWs will suit most of my personal needs.
  • Why not use DVD-RAM?

    I bought one about a year ago. You can store about 2 GB on a one-sided disc and 5 GB on a double sided disc. Works in Linux, too.

  • CDRWs are just as cheap as CD-Rs when bought in bulk, and if you burn a coaster, you can just erase it an try again.
  • > So would you only like one OS provider, for greater interoperability (at cost of service, performance, and capability)

    No, I would like to have all the OS providers define a set of standard APIs that they all agree to support. If need for a new API should arise, they define one together and all support it. Having one standard doesn't mean there is only manufacturer or provider who follows that standard. That's the whole point of standars, let others implement it too but not break compatibility.

    > The price of competition, incompatibility, is balanced by the value of competition, which is each of the 5 standards trying to outdo each other, on the ground of price, performance, capability, reliability, useability, etc.

    Which country has the shittiest and most expensive to use wireless phone networks in the world? The U.S. Because there a severel competing, incompatible "standards".

    > If there were only 1 standard, why would you think we'd get any improvement or innovation?

    Gee, maybe because the need for better technology drives people and companies to create new, even better standards? Like DVD over CD, or 100Mbit ethernet over 10Mbit ethernet. I'm SURE you can think of more examples.


  • I hope these can be read in normal CD drives.

    I mean, instead of reading 3 bits a normal drive would get 1. If it's done right, a stripped down version of what's on the CD ought to be available.

    I can't think of any applications off the top of my head, but it does bring new meaning to "hidden track"

    To be more precise, 4 of the 8 "grays" should be bunched near enough to "bright" to be consistently distinguishable etc. etc.

    Just a thought


  • floppies: 5.25inch 360K and 720K 3.5inch 720K and 1.4MB
    zipdisk: 120mb or something like that
    cdrom: 650mb
    My point: There will always be a need for larger media. cdroms are way too small; I don't want to put my mp3-collection on 200 cdroms. I want only one which I can take everywere. I think people will buy these things...maybe they will be expensive in the beginning (like the CD-R)...maybe a better standard will come, but in the end there will most certainly be a new standard (which will be outdated in a few years). Why not this one? You can never tell in advance if product will become a `standard' and certain products will always suffer from the problems you mention.

    On the other hand...the CD-standard is nearly 20 years old by now, but I think it's time for something larger.

  • Perhaps /. should adopt a policy towards these types of stories. Something along the lines of: We will not accept any submissions untill the CD's and Devices to use them have actually hit the market.

    In the past few years I've seen countless stories, on this site and others about tech from an equally countless number of companies promising CD tech that will double, triple or (insert multiple here)-ple the storage capacity of CD's.

    This stuff is vaporware
  • Yes, multiple colors are exactly what's on the way. . .
  • by SanjuroE ( 131728 ) on Sunday January 07, 2001 @08:46AM (#524850)
    I thought the point of 1 bit per spot, also known as "digital", was to reduce the amounts of errors. Now they want to go back to storing data analog?

    This sounds like that story in which RAM was made that could store 4 values instead of 2 by using the same technology described here.

    That didn't make it. Will this?

  • Shouldn't we be instead looking toward the improvement of DVD burning technology?

    The EE Times article pointed out that this technology is supposed to scale up to higher density and eventually move over to DVDs. (Also note that TDK has virtually the same press release on this page [].This means it might be a cheaper way for us to get to HD-DVD than waiting for cheap blue lasers. I agree that we don't want another limited utility Sparc/Clik/LS120 device, but if the underlying tech gets added onto the CDR or DVD-R specs at some point, then it could be a positive development.

    I again sense this particular one being designed less for the progress of information storage technology, and more to provide TDK with their own unique storage format.

    Already they have Sanyo, Plextor and Mitsubishi lined up so it's not just TDK going at it alone. Of course they'd love to get royalties on this, but that means they'd want the technology to be widespread. Finally, let's not forget that in terms of storage density they'll be competing with the will-it-ever-get-released FMD [] drive from Ricoh and Constellation.

  • by gtx ( 204552 ) on Sunday January 07, 2001 @08:47AM (#524852) Homepage
    do we really have a need for this drive?

    more specifically, do we really have a WANT for this drive? before you call me -1 troll, ust consider this...

    there are a number of possible endings the removable media story could have from this:
    1) everybody buys these, and they become standard. media prices plummet, everybody is happy.
    2) there becomes a "standards-war" between these drives and all of the other removable media types, prices get slashed, and the consumer has no real standard, but prices are cheaper as each company tries to out-do the other.
    3) there becomes a "standards-war" between these drives and all of the other removable media types, and because nobody is buying enough of any one type of drive, there is no standard, and prices are higher because of production costs.
    4) Not enough people will buy the drive, so it will die quickly. The few people that do own them will have to pay high prices for the discs, and they won't be able to give them to anybody else, as maybe 5 people will have them.

    sorry if it sounds like FUD, but that's all i think when i see new removable media...

  • Why don't we jump right to 4 state data? That way converting all the data into DNA would be so much simpler.

    That was supposed to be a joke, but I guess it makes some sense...

  • by volsung ( 378 ) <> on Sunday January 07, 2001 @08:48AM (#524854)
    I almost bought your post (it seems reasonable enough) until I got to the part about "chlarodium" and "accumulating heat". I was curious about the special properties of one particular dye that made it resistant to the problems you describe.

    I found absolutely nothing in Google with the word "chlarodium" in it. It looks like you're BSing us with the intent of karma-whoring.

    I hereby declare Shenanigans on you unless you can fess up with a reference or a spelling correction.

  • I'd rather have an obsolete standardized system, than have 5 competing incompatible systems. And you just know that each of these systems will have an upgrade in capacity every couple of years that requires new hardware. And of course, since they are all propietaty, none of these technologies will really take off and we will still be using 650MB CD-RW ten years from now. Just try agree on a (re)writable DVD standard and forget this double-no-triple-no-quad density CD crap.


  • AFAIK CD-RW's don't fulfill the CD specs (CD-R's only barely), so no player is "required" to play them. I myself haven't seen any CD-RW's play in any CD-players (though I've tested only a few), but they often work in CD-ROMs.

    That's the thing that I'm cursing: almost the only thing I can think of to do with CD-RW's would be to store music from my computer temporarily (eg. for a party), but then the players won't play them. For just about everything else CD-R's are a better solution as they are very cheap. (I don't have to carry 600M of stuff (eg. video) around be either.)

  • No, instead of 1 bit (2 states) you store 3 bits (8 states). So that gives you three times as many bits, hence three times the capacity. But to encode 3 bits, you have to be able to produce (and later read) 8 gray levels.

    In order to acheive 8x, you'd have to implement all 256 shades of gray the Windows Paintbrush allows you.

  • Is it so hard to be in the computer industry and have a friend who works at Intel?
  • Imagine if they did this for RAM. Instead of one bit being on or off, have variations, one bit could be any of 2 or more values. Make 'em color, and then you'd have 24bit depth per bit. Imagine how programming would change. :-)
  • The article seems to give the impression that only a firmware change is enough to make existing cd drives and burners the ability to burn these new discs. However, firmware updates doesnt give people any reason to buy new eq.

    However, one of the real advantages of this should be that if you can store 3 bits at each "pixel" surely you can also store 1 bit. This would mean that you can use these "advanced" disc's as the old 1x disc. Just burn it with the old standard, one bit, not 3 bits per pixel. This means that if the cd-r and cd-rw manefactures wants to, they could stop producing the old 1x only discs, and only make these 3x's disc's. This gives you a bigger reason to update the firmware in your existing hardware or buy new.

  • I switched over to DVD more than a year ago. I have no real use for it, since I already have a DVD player, and no DVD-ROM's, but it does happen to be a fairly decent CD-ROM, and the Pioneers do have a cool slot load. It has brightened my life, at least somewhat.

    I'm not entirely happy with the situation, though. First of all, it WOULD be nice to have certain options on DVD, e.g. MSDN, various Linux distros (AFAIK only SuSE does this). Second, there is a big performance gap between IDE and SCSI. I own the topline Pioneer of both varieties -- my first one was SCSI, I got it more than a year ago, and its 6x speed is STILL the fastest. A couple of months ago, I put an IDE model into a different machine, and it runs at 16x. It *is* faster. Lastly, I'm thinking that I'm not getting much of a deal. For the current price of a DVD-ROM drive, you could buy a CD-ROM drive and have enough money left over to tack on another 20GB to your hard drive, which will perform even faster. Things are better, but not as much as they could be.

    Clearly, DVD isn't living up to its potential. The IDE/SCSI disparity may eventually be resolved, but unless it gets cheaper, hard drives are going to just mop the floor, and by that I mean it is cheaper and easier to install everything to disk, rather than occasionally swapping one DVD for another from a different set (or one of five from the same set regularly). I'm not going to try implying that hard drives are portable. Like everything else, DVD needs to be cheaper and more widespread. This is NOT something that its proponents can sell just by saying "it's better".
  • Because your three-year old doesn't know how to do boolean math. 1 bit = 2 states (0 or 1) 2 bits = 4 states (00, 01, 10, 11) 3 bits = 8 states (000, 001, 010, 011, 100, 101, 110, 111) Each bit doubles the number of states required.
  • I see that the optical ROM vendors are up to their
    old tricks, doling out tiny increments in speed
    and capacity. 2x? 3? *yawn* wake me when they get to 10x, or 100x.
  • Sure, tri-state is digital, and very cool, but 3 bits per spot does not mean it's tri-state. Tri-state would presumably mean it's got black, white, and grey values. 3 bits means it would need 2^3, or 8 different values.
  • I will agree with you that this technology has amazing potential.
    Think short term. Yeah, I can back up my 60gig of MP3s on 20cds instead of the 70 that I use now.
    Think consumer. Use those mini-cds in digital cameras. You can still make small cameras that can take incredible pictures because there is all kinds of space. CD-Players, you can have the Beetle's Anthology on a few CDs, you have have 230min of music on one CD. MP3 Players, Yeah, GIGs on one CD! Okay, heaven!
    Think future. Want to talk potential, here's one for you. Expand this technology to DVDs. They already hold 4.6gig of data, okay, drop in the greyscale technology and we are looking at nearly 14gig! Let's think about that, 14gig. Star Wars Saga on one DVD. Or even better, imaging that in a digital video camera. Oh yeah, that sounds nice.
    Now of course there are always problems and possible flops. Zip drives started out nicely, and have tapered off since CDs and burners/rewriters have become so cheap. Come on, you can get a 50cd spindle at Best Buy for $20, but Zip Disks have been $8-10 a piece for what, going on two years? How about the SuperDisk? Great concept, good potential, 120meg (more than the zip disk) on a 3.5 disk AND it'll read the older disks so it's a replacement drive, not an additional one. To me, sounded good, but then again, I had to buy a new drive, and the media was too expensive, again $10 a pop. Zip disks were already out, and you could pick up a decent burner for $250 then (twice the cost of the SuperDisk drive, but burners get you 6 times the space and media is cheap) So, too little, too late.
    Now we have this greyscale technology. Is it realistic, or just someone saying "we CAN do it" but never do. Six months ago I read about a drive that boasts over 6gig of storage on a translucent CD using neon technology. Sounds neat, which will come out first? They boast 1.9gig storage with this new greyscale technology, but we already have DVD technology that CAN hold 4.6gig. They claim only firmware upgrades are needed for this to work, I'll believe it when I see it. What'll new drives run with all the enhanced speed, $500, $600? Software?? What software will support this? Or should I say, how much will TDK be selling it for? They have to make all their money for their great discovery somewhere, what $2-300 a pop for the software? Where does their bottom line come into play, they are a business afterall.
    Here is what *I'D* like to see:
    1: Decide on a DVD writing format so that regular DVD players can read them (like CDR have)
    2: Have DVD-R drives come down to a reasonable price. $600 wouldn't be outrageous for a DVD-R drive that'll write standard DVDs.
    3: Expand upon the existing DVD writing technology. (Can we do 6 or 8 gig per DVD)
    4: Then once we have a good DVD standard that using the DVD capicity nicely, then we can throw in the greyscale or rainbow, or whatever technology to increase it even moreso.
    5: (Doubt it'll happen but I can wish) I want to be able to copy my DVD movies! Or better yet make my own DVD movies.

    Does it make sense to keep redoing a technology that will be dieing off? Companies are moving away from CDs and going to DVD. As for consumers, we can burn CDs cheap as hell now, so why would we shell out hundreds more? CDs are pennies a piece, so why would we go back 5 years to paying several dollars a cd? Yeah, reduces cd, but at 100 times the cost?
    Yes, it has potential, but when applied to another technology it has much better potential. Question is? How much, when, and more importantly, will it really ever happen?
  • Simple, just use a green marker or paint [] around the edge of the CD.
  • Damn. That's what I get for pretending to be an electronics engineer!

  • by mikenet ( 190660 ) on Sunday January 07, 2001 @08:52AM (#524879)
    Increasing the bit depth from one bit(2^1= 2 shades of gray) to three bits(2^3 8 shades)increases the complexity of the read and write process. More error correction would have to be present on these discs, and although at the same rotational speed these discs have three times the data rate(3x density increase), we can run into problems. Our current burners have enough time at 1/4 of the complexity of these discs. When burning current discs, 52% intensity is rounded to 100%, and 49% is rounded to 0%(in a perfect world). With 8 shades we can't do this, and would have to slow down the burning process to insure accuracy, and on an IDE bus(consumer equipment) couldn't supply 3x the bitrate of current burners anyway(anyone ever had buffer-underruns). So we would have to decrease the burn rate to that of current burners because of bus-throuput(SCSI doesn't have this problem), and decrease it further for accuracy. Reads still get pulled off a little faster, but seek time would stay the same. I would say 2x faster sequential reads and .5x burns in this "faster" technology.

VMS must die!