Print 34 comment(s) - last by rushfan2006.. on Jan 12 at 10:55 AM

To add more capacity to optical formats, stack on more layers

HD DVD’s dual-layer 30GB and Blu-ray’s dual-layer 50GB media is enough space to store crystal-clear 1080p video and uncompressed audio for today's movies, but media manufacturers are continuously looking for ways to increase capacity. Toshiba Corporation quietly announced on the first day of CES that the company has developed a triple-layer HD DVD-ROM (read only) disc with a capacity of 51 gigabytes.

HD DVD discs hold 15GB per layer. In order to reach a dual-layer Blu-ray Disc-besting capacity, an extra 2GB per layer was squeezed in, for a total of 51GB. Toshiba states that continued improvement in disc mastering technology has achieved further minimization in the recording pit, allowing for the boost in capacity to 17GB in single layer and a full 51GB on a single-sided triple-layer disc.

The new disc shares the same disc structure as standard DVD and previously announced HD DVD formats: two 0.6-mm thick discs bonded back-to-back. According to Toshiba, the added cost to produce discs with the third layer is minimal, thanks to the use of the same physical disc structure as DVD. Toshiba aims to secure approval of the new disc by the DVD Forum within this year.

While Toshiba has publicly announced its achievement, Ritek is disclosing behind closed doors at CES its own achievements in multi-layer HD optical media. Ritek claims to not only have been able to produce a three-layer and four-layer HD optical discs, but to have successfully designed HD media with a full 10 layers. The company says that its multi-layer process can be applied to both HD DVD and Blu-ray formats.

At base specifications, 10 layers on an HD DVD would yield 150GB, assuming 15GB per layer. For Blu-ray, the total over 10 layers jumps to 250GB, assuming the base 25GB per layer.

While those numbers do sound impressive, Ritek officials point out that the real barrier to this advancement is the lack of reader and writer laser diode technology to support the additional eight layers above the current standard.

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By FITCamaro on 1/10/2007 3:45:38 PM , Rating: 2
Honestly the only real interest I have in Blu-ray would be as a data backup medium. Being able to fit an entire 250GB hard drive on a single disk would be nice. Even if each disc was $25 or so. Would sure make backing up all that video easier.

But even fitting 150GB on a single disc would be cool.

RE: Nice
By Shadowself on 1/10/2007 4:36:41 PM , Rating: 2
Even at 4x, backing up a 250GB drive to a theoretical "250GB Blu-ray" disk would take over 4.3 hours. IMHO, the systems have a long way to go before being reasonable backup. Archive, maybe. Backup, no.

RE: Nice
By Pandamonium on 1/10/2007 4:53:29 PM , Rating: 2
Are you sure about the speeds? I thought #x was determined by how long it takes to play multimedia spanning the full capacity. e.g.: CD = 74min=700MB; so 1X=700MB/74min.

Backups are generally hot-spares. Archives are generally tape. High capacity optics might be suitable for archives IF the media is resistant to degradation. Based on experience with CDR and DVD+/-R, optical discs aren't suitable for archival. So my best guess at what this could be useful for is a poor man's data archiving.

RE: Nice
By Felofasofa on 1/10/2007 8:02:24 PM , Rating: 2
For true long term archiving, tape is no good as it oxidizes after around 10 to 15 years depending on the storage environment. You end up with white powder. I think MO (magneto optical) is still the only format to give 30 plus years of data integrity. Unfortunately capacities are relatively small and write speeds are slow.

RE: Nice
By Comdrpopnfresh on 1/10/2007 9:17:04 PM , Rating: 2
magneto optical is much like minidisc which is like dvd and cd- so the problems of a poly-layer disc still stand.

Video cassettes are still in use in my house to record televisions, and my mother listens to old cassettes that are over 25 years old- no white dust is present....

RE: Nice
By Felofasofa on 1/11/2007 4:06:15 AM , Rating: 2
Half inch VHS is not used in archiving. The white powder I was referring to is all the old 2inch videotape which has become unusable. From what I hear 1inch broadcast videotape is not dissimilar. Digital archiving on 3/4 inch tape like DCT is better although not considered as good as MO - which is quite different to standard CD's and DVD's -

RE: Nice
By masher2 on 1/11/2007 9:40:23 AM , Rating: 2
> "For true long term archiving, tape is no good as it oxidizes after around 10 to 15 years depending on the storage environment..."

Err, do you realize the very first magnetic tape recordings ever made (German Magnetophone recordings, from WW2) are still in excellent playing condition?

Magnetic tape deteriorates quickly in hot, wet environments. Keep it cool and dry, and it will last a very long time.

RE: Nice
By rushfan2006 on 1/12/2007 10:55:56 AM , Rating: 2
For true long term archiving, tape is no good as it oxidizes after around 10 to 15 years depending on the storage environment. You end up with white powder.

This is BS. I don't know what tapes you use...but I've used and witnessed data perfectly perserved with zero corruption on tapes that I later found out that were 20 years old at least. Well before my time working at the place.

And I love how people add common sense stuff -- on how they are stored. Like gee whiz guys if you are in IT and don't have the common knowledge and sense that you don't store TAPES in hot or wet environments, or even dust filled ones for that matter...well that's just scary.

RE: Nice
By FITCamaro on 1/10/2007 5:38:44 PM , Rating: 2
Whats your point? You can't wait a few hours to back up a large amount of data?

RE: Nice
By DLeRium on 1/10/2007 7:32:24 PM , Rating: 2
It's not that... people's systems can't even handle DVD burning today. You would be surprised. Go check out torrent comments. When people download these DVD ISOs, they get bad burns galore. I've gone through TY, MCC and CMC media and even fake TY media and with my system I've never had bad burns even with crappy media and sometimes high speed burning. People's systems are overloaded with junk programs, spyware, stuff that slows things down and I can bet you their HDs are chugging along barely transferring enough data to the DVD burner.

I often burn DVDs at the same time I'm encoding video, but that's because I have dual core and multiple HDs. I don't see how some people will manage to burn 250GB of data.

RE: Nice
By FITCamaro on 1/11/2007 8:55:12 AM , Rating: 2
Those people won't be backing up 250GB worth of video probably either. I'm not one of those people. My desktop system alone has 5 hard drives.

RE: Nice
By yacoub on 1/10/2007 8:26:55 PM , Rating: 2
You should have been around back in the day (not all that long ago really) when CD burner drives burned at 2x and then 4x.

RE: Nice
By retrospooty on 1/10/2007 10:41:17 PM , Rating: 2
I even remember a friend of mine dumping his 1x to upgrade to a 2x, for several hundred dollars... dang.

RE: Nice
By PitViper007 on 1/11/2007 10:42:21 AM , Rating: 2
What's bad is that I remember the brief (VERY brief) time in which the 3x drives were made. Ok, we're all dating ourselves now...heheh


RE: Nice
By SirPsyko on 1/11/2007 12:09:26 AM , Rating: 2
My first CD-RW was an Acer 4x2x32. $200 on sale for 50% off... and I only managed to find CD-R's that burned at 4x long after I was on to 24x or faster CD-R drives.

But then again, I've also got a PC that didn't need a hard drive...

RE: Nice
By jp7189 on 1/11/2007 10:27:21 AM , Rating: 2
But then again, I've also got a PC that didn't need a hard drive...

Yes, I had one of those. It had dual 5-1/4" floppies. It didn't need a hard drive either.

RE: Nice
By Spivonious on 1/11/2007 5:44:53 PM , Rating: 2
I remember when CD burners first came out. It took one hour to burn a 650MB disc. Four hours for 250GB sounds fine with me. It's a backup anyway, not something you're putting on a disc to take to a friend's house. It will be most likely run overnight.

By Shadowself on 1/10/2007 4:33:09 PM , Rating: 2
First the Tosh announcement is a technical description only. Prototypes have not even been built. HD DVD Forum acceptance is expected by the end of 2007 at the earliest. Prototypes fitting that standard are at least two to three months after that and shipping consumer units are at least three months after that... so expect the first consumer 51GB HD DVD players to be available June 2008 at the earliest.

Second there is no assurance that the 17GB per layer disks can be read by the currently shipping 15GB per layer players. Even the Blu-ray fanboys admit that the 33.3GB per layer prototypes out there (giving 200GB in six layers) are not layer by layer compatible with the 25GB per layer players currently being shipped. Additionally, none of the current 30GB/dual layer players will read triple layer disks. The optics are just not compatible with triple layers. (Read the actual detailed specs and see.)

Third the current specifications for the optics of both the HD DVD and Blu-ray players are NOT compatible with 10 layers. Period. The spacing in the layers of the HD DVD disks limit them to three layers on one side. This is due to the NA chosen and the "compatibility" with legacy DVDs. The same is just as true of Blu-ray though to a lesser extent because of a different NA.

Ten layer disks will be a totally different specification not compatible with either of the currently competing formats. Sure, you could build a player which does one type of 10 layer and able to read either HD DVD or Blu-ray... but that will be much more costly and more technically difficult -- just look at the dual capability LG player: more costly and not 100% compatible.

By ViperROhb34 on 1/10/2007 5:25:34 PM , Rating: 2
There are some unaswered questions, but how is this any different then any new product, or any change or upgrade that we expect in a product such as HD-DVD storage capacity?

And at this time I don't hear any outcry among regular EVERYDAY folks that 'We Gotta Have More Storage' in either Bluray or HD-DVD, Its been mostly squabling here among a few people who think the war will be won by them when it'll be won by people like my aunt and uncle who probably find one more affordable then the other... much like VHS was to Beta Max..

Futhermore its not like HD-DVD is under the gun anymore then its competitor Bluray, in fact I have friends who work at Best Buy and Target and both have said the HD-DVD movies are selling much faster then the Bluray. My cousin just bought the HD-DVD player for the Xbox 360 and he loves it.

Both formats may survive, but G4 Tv had a poll that said in which HD-DVD was even voted as more preferred ..

I have neither, but I know Im hearing more positive things about HD-DVD..

By Shadowself on 1/10/2007 6:43:30 PM , Rating: 2
how is this any different then any new product, or any change or upgrade that we expect in a product such as HD-DVD storage capacity?

Consumer electronics is very different than computer electronics. Most people don't replace their CD or DVD drive ever 2+ years. If the standard moves forward and the 17/34/51GB drives and disks become "the" standard in mid 2008 (just two years after the shipping of the 15/30GB players) then people won't like it. If the Lord of the Rings comes out on a 51GB disk in all its glory and people can't play it on a one year old drive (purchased in mid 2007) they are going to be very, very unhappy.

But, why the pro HD DVD backlash?

Certainly there are concerns when trying to force the 4+ hour epics onto a 30GB HD DVD disk with high enough data rate to get very high quality video and 5.1 high quality audio, but I didn't get into that at all. (Just check the average file sizes of the currently shipping AVC [MPEG-4 Part 10] and VC-1 encoded disks with high quality 5.1 sound and do the math.) However, I didn't mention this at all and don't believe it's relevant to this story.

My concerns are independent of whatever restrictions HD DVD currently has (or does not have).

This is not just like VHS versus Beta. It's like VHS versus Beta with the added twist that if you buy either one then which ever you buy it will be obsolete in a couple years -- if you believe the advances in the story are going to be implemented.

Your going on about people you know who have HD DVD players or drives is not relevant to the story or my post.

What is relevant is that both the announced Tosh advancements and the proposed 10 layer disks are almost assuredly incompatible with what people can buy for the next 18 months. The question then becomes should people buy something that will be incompatible with a future standard or should they buy nothing for 18 months and see how things fall out.

By jak3676 on 1/11/2007 1:57:58 PM , Rating: 2
in other words its not like the VHS vs. Beta thing - it's more like the coming of the laser video disk. It was a nice idea, but super expensive and shortly after it was released it was made obsolete by somethign new (the DVD).

I wouldn't be surprised if neither blue-ray nor HD-DVD wins this battle in their current form. Both will still be a niche market for all of 2007 while most consumers sit on the sidelines.

If by the end of the year there's technology on the forfront that will substantially improve on either format (i.e. multi layer disks and readers, or even something new entirely) then the mass market will again decide to wait and see something new.

Unless one of the existing formats clearly wins out over the next year (and I don't that will happen) then the majority of consumers will stick to the "wait and see" mentality. If there are promises of a "new & improved" versions in the near future that will only encourage people to wait. The only way these incremental improvments will help the industry is if they are kept to the computer side, and retail stand-alone players stick to already published standards.

As it was already said, mass market retail consumers aren't prepared to support any format that seems to be temporary.

By masher2 on 1/11/2007 3:53:17 PM , Rating: 2
> "it's more like the coming of the laser video disk. It was a nice idea, but super expensive and shortly after it was released it was made obsolete by somethign new (the DVD)."

A good analogy, but Laserdiscs were available around 15 years before DVDs. The video quality was far superior to VHS, but it never took off....which proves that quality alone is not enough to convince consumers to adopt a format. Cost and convenience are the largest drivers.

Another point, for those who somehow feel they'll be "burned" by the HD-DVD vs. BD battle. Those who bought Laserdiscs ultimately bought into losing format...but they enjoyed a decade and a half of greatly enhanced viewing pleasure. I don't know anyone who ever bought a player who regretted the decision.

By masher2 on 1/11/2007 9:45:52 AM , Rating: 2
> "And at this time I don't hear any outcry among regular EVERYDAY folks that 'We Gotta Have More Storage' in either Bluray or HD-DVD, Its been mostly squabling here among a few people..."

Agreed...and most of those people don't even own HD-DVD or Blu Ray yet, and have no plans to buy, until the price has descended and the war is already over. Hence, from a market perspective, their opinion is meaningless.

Technical Aspects are meer road blocks
By Nik00117 on 1/10/2007 5:15:49 PM , Rating: 2
Poeple into days age look at the future and say "never" those poeple generally are avgerage joes.

However the poeple that go "Hey I could see a use in that" go far.

Would I pay a premium for a 250 gig disc? yes, yes I would. 25, 40 bucks for the media for 250 gigs? NO PROBLEM! 4.3 hours to burn it NO PROBLEM, because the convience of having my entire HDD imaged onto one DVD is simply great.

Look at how much DVD burners cost a fwe years back. I'm a PC techy, and every PC I sell always has a DVD burner, THATS HOW CHEAP THEY ARE. I can sell you a PC for 399, easily with a DVD burner. The cost of production will come down dramatically and those formats that are being discussed after much work will become standard in the households of tomorrow.

It will happen, and its worth it for technology MUST ADVANCE.

RE: Technical Aspects are meer road blocks
By Axbattler on 1/10/2007 5:56:05 PM , Rating: 2
"According to Toshiba, the added cost to produce discs with the third layer is minimal, thanks to the use of the same physical disc structure as DVD."

That's great, but it remains to be seen what the manufacturer charge the consumers if/when it's released.

DVD-RW drive is not the problem these days, but I am sure I am not the only one sticking with single layer DVD-Rs simply because double layer media carries to high of a premium for what you can do with it. Sure 250GB is a lot more useful today than 8GB. But we are talking about unreleased technology. When will we see (if ever) 250GB discs? If we are dealing with 2.5TB HDs by the time it is released (if it is), then it's attractiveness will become highly diminished (it may just be a lot more convenient and cost/time effective to get another HD for backup rather than spending $400 on media).

By FITCamaro on 1/11/2007 9:07:46 AM , Rating: 2
It doesn't matter how much hard drive space I have. The issue is I want to back it up and not have it take 100s of DVDs to do it. Even current 50GB Blu-ray discs are good for backup. But until I can get a Blu-ray burner for at most $100, I'm not buying one.

And yes I stick with single layer DVDs. But thats because the price difference doesn't make the extra storage worth it. If it was $30-40 a disc for a Blu-ray disc that holds 250GB, I'd buy them.

What a joke
By BasementWayne on 1/10/2007 3:56:03 PM , Rating: 3
While those numbers do sound impressive, Ritek officials point out that the real barrier to this advancement is the lack of reader and writer laser diode technology to support the additional eight layers above the current standard.

Without the laser technology to read and write the data, this is meaningless.

RE: What a joke
By Lazarus Dark on 1/10/2007 6:14:59 PM , Rating: 2
early dvd burners could only write + or - media and not both, but now they are all dual format for cheap. And of course many early cd players cannot read cd-r/cd-rw and early dvd players cannot read dvd-+r/dvd-+rw/dvd-ram, but nearly all later players are able to read all formats. The same will be true here, early adopters will lose out in that their shiny new players won't play future burned media, but they will have little problem upgrading to the latest players when multilayer discs become standardized. But of course just like dvd, movies will only be released on the original standard to remain compatible on all players so this will only affect those who want to play burned discs; we techies forget this is still only a small percentage of normal users.

Sony fights back...
By shabby on 1/10/2007 5:36:01 PM , Rating: 2
Sony engineers have squeezed an extra 2 gigs from their dual layer discs, now the total it can hold is 52gigs compared to a lowly 51gigs that toshiba announced recently...

RE: Sony fights back...
By daftrok on 1/10/2007 5:56:49 PM , Rating: 2
LOL. There is no need for Blu-Ray to go beyond its 50 GB for at least a year. When the time comes (snaps fingers) triple layer, 75 GB. Blu-Ray will always be one step ahead.

3 layers ...10 layers - at what price
By Super on 1/10/2007 6:18:45 PM , Rating: 2
dual layer DVDs are still carrying around a hefty price premium - and they've been around how long now? Whenever i hear companies mentioning adding more layers I just think of it as them trying to gain publicity and trying to flex their muscles. I could see a bd running for 40-50 bucks if it toted 250GB on a single layer - that's not obviously going to happen so they add the multiple layers - which increases cost. I'd say the price on multiple layer hd-dvd and bd will be ridiculously high. Even after they get some marketshare you'll be able to purchase a 100pk of either kind for 25$ or you could get 1 multiple layer disc for the same price. 2500GB worth of storage - or - 250?
I do see a niche for multiple layers, and the convenience of having that much storage on one disc, but that's not what's going to make or break either hd-dvd or blu-ray and put the heat on them like the movie studios will.

By Zoolook on 1/10/2007 7:51:31 PM , Rating: 2
I'd say that one of the best selling points for Blu-ray is that extra space, with True-HD and DTS-HD coming around the corner, there won't be room for a great quality release on HD-DVD, it's as simple as that and Toshiba knows it that's why they are pushing hard for more space on the disks. Even Blu-ray will be hardpressed to fit a high bitrate vc-1 encoded Lord of the rings extended vers. with True-HD.

smells like rot...
By Comdrpopnfresh on 1/10/2007 9:14:49 PM , Rating: 2
Don't current single-layer discs have rot problems? What happens with triple layer? The more layers you have, doesn't the mtbf lower, rot chances increase, and hazards of sunlight increase?
If making so many layers were so easy, couldn't they simply make a 10-layer DVD format for a 50+ gig disc and delay blu-ray and HD-DVD almost entirely?

Links please!
By Visual on 1/11/2007 3:50:38 AM , Rating: 2
Please, add a link to Ritek's announcement, some more details, something.

Their claim is very interesting, considering that Toshiba's own method of layering HD-DVD puts the third layer deeper than the middle of the disc depth, making double-sided two layer disks preferrable to a triple-layer disk (as you can't make that doublesided).
There just isn't room for a fourth layer using Toshiba's methods, it would become too close to the back side of the disk. It's very interesting then, how could Ritek claim 10 layers for HDDVD?

10 layers for Bluray isn't too surprising, given the format specs started with expectations of eight-layer discs (and there have been prototypes made already).

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