Earlier this week, Hitachi Maxell unveiled their new stacked volumetric optical discs (SVOD) technology. By stacking 100 ultra thin optical discs, they are able to fit 940GB of data in a cartridge only 6.5 cm thick.

Hitachi Maxell, Ltd. has developed an optical storage technology "stacked volumetric optical discs (SVOD)" that can boost per-volume capacity by using a film-type disc medium with a thickness of 92 μm. The prototyped disc is a recordable disc with a diameter of 12 cm which is equivalent to that of DVDs. It includes two 92 μm thick disc media that are bonded with each other, and the capacity on both sides totals 9.4 GB.

Based on the new technology, the company has succeeded in the development of a high-capacity optical storage system having 940 GB by accommodating 100 newly developed discs in a dedicated cartridge (thickness: 6.5 cm; width: 13.3 cm; depth: 16.1 cm). The system has an advantage that its size can be significantly reduced compared to the typical DVD library systems for the same capacity.
Hitachi Maxell plans to introduce SVOD as early as the beginning of 2007. The company also hopes to boost the capacity to as high as 5 TB by utilizing a blue-violet laser. More information can be found here. Add a comment
Intervideo and Ulead have announced that they will be demonstrating their HD DVD playback and disc authoring software at the upcoming HD DVD seminar in Shanghai, China.
InterVideo, Inc. (NASDAQ:IVII - News) and its partner Ulead Systems, Inc. (TSE:2487 - News), industry leaders in video, image and DVD software, members of the HD DVD Promotion Group, today announced that they will showcase their complete HD DVD solutions, from authoring and burning to playback, at the HD DVD seminar in Shanghai, China on April 22rd.

HD DVD has been selected by the DVD Forum to be the next-generation, post-DVD standard for high-capacity, high-definition HD DVD discs. In addition to DVD's MPEG-2, HD DVD also adopts core video formats such as H.264/AVC and VC-1 as well as advanced technologies for enhanced disc interaction.

The global HD DVD seminar is held for its members to exchange views and to share technological advances. It aims to encourage the broad acceptance of HD DVD on a world-wide basis among members of the group, related industries and the public. Attendees of the seminar include Toshiba, NEC, Sanyo, Memory-Tech, Ulead and InterVideo.
If you'd like to read more, InterVideo's entire press release can be found here. Add a comment
The high price of oil is hurting more than just car owners. According to DigiTimes, it may also drive up the price of polycarbonate in the 3Q of this year.
Global prices of optical-grade polycarbonate (PC), a key material for making optical discs, have fallen from above US$3 per kilogram at the end of last year to US$2.80 per kilogram this quarter, but the recent hikes in the price of crude oil to more than US$70 per barrel might push the price of PC to US$3 or even higher next quarter, according to local makers of optical discs.
If you'd like to read more, head on over to DigiTimes. Add a comment
While Blu-ray has yet to ship, ABI Research has already declared HD DVD the winner of the first round in the High Definition DVD format fight.
Toshiba's HD DVD player started shipping to US retailers this week, four months ahead of Sony's scheduled release of its Blu-ray format players. North America represents by far the most important market for the new high-definition formats, accounting for more than 60% of all HDTVs that ABI Research expects will be shipped during 2006.

What does this mean for the prospects of the rival formats? Will HD DVD's earlier entry to the market and substantially lower price tag give it the edge over Blu-ray? The answer is "yes" in the short term, but as time passes, complicating factors may shift the balance.
Studies like this make me laugh. It really isn't too hard to declare a winner when the competition hasn't even started to ship their products yet. Anyway, if you'd like to read more, ABI Research's entire press release can be found here. Add a comment
KMP Media has announced their new KODAK Preservation CD-R and DVD-R media. According to their press release, these 24-karat gold discs can store digital data for 80 to 300 years.
New 24-karat gold CD-Rs and DVDs that extend the storage life of data, music and images for many decades are being introduced by KMP Media, LLC of Rochester, NY. Operating under trademark license from Eastman Kodak Company, KMP Media is marketing them as the KODAK Preservation CD-R and the KODAK Preservation DVD (-R).

"The gold Preservation CD-R can safely store digital data for up to 300 years," said Steve Mizelle, President of KMP Media. "The gold Preservation DVD (-R) protects videos and other very large digital files for 80 to 100 years. This is especially important for consumers trying to save precious photos, critical data, music or movies."
KMP Media's KODAK Preservation CD-R and DVD-R media is available now in both jewel cases and spindles. More information can be found here. Add a comment
BCCHardware has put together a review of Plextor's new 18x DVD±RW, the PX-760A. Here's what they had to say about the world's first 18x DVD writer:
Plextor is a leader when it comes to optical drives. They haven't always been the first to adopt new technology or produced the fastest drives, but they are committed to quality. The PX-760A is an attempt in the right direction, but I believe it falls a little short as they reached too far. 18x writing offers very little performance advantage over a good clean 16x write, and the potential for errors is greater as the spindle speed must increase. That being said, the drive burns very quickly with a very low error count at 18x when using Verbatim 16x DVD+R media. However on other media, the drive produces more PI errors that I'd like to see - even at slower speeds.
If you'd like to read more, the entire review can be found here. Add a comment
The Hardware Zone has taken a look at Lite-On's new LightScribe capable "Super AllWrite" drive, the SHM-165H6S. Here's a sample of what they had to say about it:
It performs up to the mark for most burns, though at mediocre speeds that barely raised our heartbeats. The burn quality was for the most part, pretty decent and that could be one of its strengths. While BenQ drives have been noted for their ability to 'over-speed', that is an unofficial 'feature' missing from the LITE-ON drive, which needs to be manually enabled via their bundled utility. Its main advantage probably lies in its 'jack of all trades' card of supporting all the media formats and to top it off, it has LightScribe technology. Crucially, all these features do not make it unique but just another player in a crowded market with more add-ons to offer.
We too have a review of the SHM-165H6S in the works. In the mean time, head on over to Hardware Zone and check out their review. Add a comment
Plextor Japan officially announced the PlexWriter Premium2 this morning. Like the original Premium, this new 52/32/52 CD-RW supports many of Plextor's advanced features, including GigaRec, VariRec, Silent-Mode and Q-Check. Most surprising is that the Premium2 supports Yamaha's AudioMASTER technology.

Writing Speeds: 52x, 48x (CAV), 40x, 32x (P-CAV), 20x, 16x, 8x, 4x, 2x (CLV)
ReWriting Speeds: 32x, 24x (P-CAV), 10x, 4x (CLV)
Read Speeds: 50x, 40x, 32x, 24x (CAV), 8x, 4x (CLV)
Supported Formats: CD-DA、 CD-Extra、 CD-ROM Mode-1、 Mix CD、 CD-ROM XA、 Photo-CD、 Video-CD、 CD-I Multi session、 CD TEXT、 UDF
Recording Modes: Track at Once, Disc at Once, Session at Once, Packet Writing, Multi-Session, CD-MRW
Average Access Time: 65ms
Buffer: 8MB
The Premium2 is scheduled to hit the Japanese market at the end of April and will cost about 19,800 Yen ($168US). At this point, we have not heard when the Premium2 will be available in the US. Knowing Plextor America, it will probably be some time before it shows up over here. Additional information, including a full list of specs, can be found on Plextor Japan's website. Add a comment
Bad news for consumers. Digitimes has reported that CMC Magnetics expects the quotes for DVD+R/-R and CD-R discs to increase in the 3Q of this year.
Quotes for DVD+R/-R and CD-R discs will increase slightly in the third quarter, as utilization rates are currently running at 100%, according to Robert Wong, chairman of CMC Magnetics. However, Wong declined to estimate how much prices will rise, as the outcome of an anti-dumping investigation currently being conducted by the European Union (EU) will affect price changes as well.
The article also mentions that quotes will most likely rise again in the 4Q due to a seasonal peak in demand. If you'd like to read more, head on over to DigiTimes. Add a comment
Plextor America has announced their new series of shock proof portable hard drives. Available in capacities of 80GB and 120GB, these new drives were designed to withstand the knocks and bumps of everyday use.

Plextor Corp., a leading developer and manufacturer of high-performance digital media equipment, today announced the immediate availability of the PX-SP family of shock proof, portable hard disk drives (HDD). The external drives are available in two capacities - 80 GB (PX-SP08U) and 120 GB (PX-SP12U). Measuring just 3.33 x 0.74 x 5.51 inches (W/H/D) and weighing less than 8 ounces, these highly portable drive enable users to carry their data with them anywhere, anytime.

PX-SP Series come with a specially designed silicon jacket bumper that helps prevent the unit from crashing if it is accidentally dropped. Compatible with both Microsoft Windows and Apple Macintosh personal computers, the PX-SP features a Hi-Speed USB 2.0 port interface for a maximum data transmission speed of 480 Mbps. Plextor's retail package comes with everything a user needs to get started, including a portable external hard drive, silicon jacket bumper, Hi-Speed USB 2.0 cable, and quick start guide.
Plextor's shock proof portable hard drives are expected to ship in May 2006. More information can be found on their website. Add a comment