Holographic Versatile Disc

Hitachi to bring release InPhase's next step in storage

By now you've heard of the war being waged for the next step in the evolution of optical storage. HD DVD is a Toshiba technology that will present the world with its version of a blue laser optical storage medium sometime in '06. Toshiba's HD DVD will give users 15Gigs on a single layer disc; that's 10 more gigs than conventional red laser DVD can do presently. Sony jumped into the fray with guns blazing with their version of what a blue laser optical storage medium should look like.

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With greater numbers and now more industry backing, Sony seems to be winning the war so far. Blu-Ray will give users a jump on HD DVD with up to 27Gigs on a single layer disc. Thus the battle lines are drawn. Format wars are never a good sign for a fledgling technology with so many hurdles to establish consumer acceptance. The last thing anyone wants to hear about is another competitor jumping into the next gen optical storage format wars but that's exactly what's about to happen.

The news has been circulating among the techie geek elite for over a year now. A tech R&D firm called InPhase had been perfecting a holographic storage technology that promised to blow the doors off any of those blue laser formats. The technology looked promising with numbers in the stratosphere but still only a curiosity to be read about on news groups and pondered. That was until Hitachi-Maxell Inc entered into an agreement with InPhase and now has a tangible release date for the storage format.

A 1.6 terabyte rewritable storage disc will be hitting stores in late '06 from Hitachi. This iteration of the holographic storage technology will be only the first phase as later iterations will be able to do up to 3.9 Terabytes of storage; with transfer rates in the 50-60 MB/s range this will not be a fast and huge storage medium.

It's already been dubbed Holographic Versatile Disc by the industry. The use so far looks like a backup medium for your PC; so far no studios have announced any plans to put out any films in the format. But the jump from either HD DVD or Blu-Ray is compelling. The difference simply cannot be ignored or placed into the same category with the existing format wars. If Sony and Toshiba aren't careful it looks like Hitachi is going to surpass both of them with superior technology.