Pioneer announces the development of a new optical disc capable of storing many times more than standard Blu-ray discs.

opticaldisc Pioneer develops 256GB Blu ray disc

Pioneer Corporation revealed in an official announcement earlier this week their development of a new optical disc that is capable of storing data many times compared to that of a standard Blu-ray disc, at least 256 GB worth of data on a single layer.

The technology uses an organized structure that incorporates the use of a guide layer to establish multiple layers onto a single disc. This is markedly different from conventional optical discs, which have both recording layers and guide layers on a single line. This allows the new optical disc to simply stack layers on top of one another, enabling it to far exceed standard storage limits of these data mediums.

A standard optical disc using the technology would have a total of eight recording layers, each having 32GB worth of stored data, hence the total of 256GB. Using standard dual-sided disc technologies, this could even be extended by up to 512GB. Such storage capacities could possibly put these discs into direct competition with similarly sized ‘Archival Discs’ announced not too long ago by Sony and Panasonic.

Though the emergence of cheaper SSDs and high capacity HDDs may largely overshadow the use of such optical discs, Pioneer is quite positive that these discs may have a vital use in digital archiving, by lowering maintenance costs and increasing data access reliability.

While new optical disc technologies often require new set of hardware and software to read and write data onto the disc, this one is perfectly compliant to the optical specifications of Blu-ray disc technology. This may perhaps be its most important advantage for the moment, because by only using certain firmware updates, the new discs can be perfectly usable with current Blu-ray drives and players.

There are no announcements about the commercial availability of these optical discs just yet. However, the announcement included the eventual development of a 12-layer disc that would support roughly 1TB storage capacity, further making the eventual competition between Sony and Panasonic even more apparent.

Source: Pioneer (JP)