Toshiba develops 30Gbyte rewritable optical disc

Toshiba is set to unveil a new rewritable optical disc with a capacity of 30Gbytes per-layer, per-side and a companion read/write...

Toshiba is set to unveil a new rewritable optical disc with a capacity of 30Gbytes per-layer, per-side and a companion read/write optical head at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

The new optical disc, which measures 12cms in diameter, has a capacity of more than six times that of a DVD, which has a single-sided capacity of 4.7Gbytes. Toshiba says the new disc can store three hours of high-definition digital video.

The new read/write companion will incorporate a blue laser which is able to register smaller dots on a disc than the red lasers normally used to read and write DVDs and CDs.

Other Japanese companies have had similar breakthroughs using blue laser technology at the R&D level. Sony jointly developed a 22.5Gbyte optical disc with Pioneer last year and Matsushita Electric Industrial succeeded in storing up to 25Gbytes of data on each layer of a single-sided, dual-layer 12cm disc.

The capacity of Toshiba's new disc can be doubled with the use of a second layer. However, the company hopes to initially keep it as a single layered disc so that it can be brought to market sooner, said Midori Suzuki, a spokeswoman for Toshiba.

"First of all, we will try to standardise this new development by presenting it at the DVD Forum," she said. Then the company plans to commercialise the product when high-definition digital TV broadcasting starts in Japan, which is expected next year, Suzuki said.

At the same time, the company will also target the format for use in personal computers. Other companies are focusing more on using the discs in audiovisual devices, Suzuki said.

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