A new breakthrough by G.E. will allow regular sized discs to hold approximately 100 DVDs worth of content.
The breakthrough utilizes holographic technology instead of traditional methods, allowing 3-D images to be read in addition to standard 1s and 0s. The holographic images act “[…] like microscopic mirrors that refract light patterns when a laser shines on them[…]” Apparently the 3-D images allow for extra refraction of the laser, creating extra depth and storage within the disc.
The technology is similar enough to current laser based readers so that holographic readers could be backwards compatible:
“In G.E.’s approach, the holograms are scattered across a disc in a way that is similar to the formats used in today’s CDs, conventional DVDs and Blu-ray discs. So a player that could read microholographic storage discs could also read CD, DVD and Blu-ray discs. But holographic discs, with the technology G.E. has attained, could hold 500 gigabytes of data. Blu-ray is available in 25-gigabyte and 50-gigabyte discs, and a standard DVD holds 5 gigabytes.”
This obviously has serious implications for Sony and Microsoft’s next generation consoles, as the tech should be ready around the timeframe of their predicted launches. With the Xbox 360 already experiencing storage issues with Final Fantasy XIII and its extremely large HD video content, it seems likely that even 50GB of Blu-Ray storage may not be enough storage for future console games.
While holographic readers are currently still too expensive for commercial or private use, some experts are saying it could be ready as early as 2011. G.E. claims that once the holographic discs are ready for sale to the public, storage prices should be around 10¢ per gigabyte.