(click here for more search options)  Keyword Search:
Create an Account | Already have an account? Log in


Blu Ray video is the format's main claim to fame, made possible by unprecedented data densities that allow up to fifty gigabytes on just one side! The discs commercially available have not yet reached such capacities, however, which are only laboratory prototypes right now, but the future is not far off for even clearer and more vibrant Blu Ray video on our screens.

Discs, discs, discs...today our world is full of optical technology. They may no longer seem like high technology anymore (even Blu Ray video is becoming more and more mainstream), but did you know that they were invented all the way back in 1958? That’s right, 1958, when the coolest gadget, which had just come out only a few years earlier, was the transistor radio! For our twenty-sixth article, we’re going to go back to the future and witness for ourselves the growth of this indispensable technological breakthrough.

The first patent registered for an optical disc was U.S. Patent 3,430,966 and involved analog technology. One filed by Pioneer Corporation generated royalties for just under four decades! Philips of the Netherlands began their experiments into optical videodiscs at about the same time, during the late Sixties, bringing laserdiscs to market about a decade later. The Compact Disc was developed by Philips with Sony in 1983. DVDs were invented a little over a decade after that; by the turn of the century Blu-ray Discs had arrived (that's Blu Ray video!), though the first titles weren’t released until 2006. A rival high-definition format called HD DVD was defeated in a two-year format war, with Blu-ray the universally recognized successor format to today’s standard DVD. The fourth generation of optical disc technology promises to be especially exotic, with multiple lasers involved – and even protein-coated media with a possible 50 terabytes per disc! The most preliminary laboratory versions of these new “wonder formats” of the future have been demonstrated to store up to ten terabytes of data on one side; for comparison, consider that today’s Blu-ray can hold up to 50GB on a single side, a standard DVD up to almost 10GB, and the typical CD up to 800MB.

Optical discs were used for audio and general data at first due to the overwhelming popularity of videotape as the format of choice for anything visual because of their low costs and recordability. Optical disc formats of the first generation include Compact Disc and Laserdisc. Second-generation technology is used by the Video CD, Super Video CD, Super Audio CD, MiniDisc, Universal Media Disc (UMD), and Ultra Density Optical (UDO) formats. Blu-ray Disc is a third generation technology, but though HD DVD has been abandoned others continue to be researched, like Forward Versatile Disc and Fluorescent Multilayer Disc. As previously alluded, fourth generational technologies will typically utilize multiple laser beams, and of different colors – namely, shorter wavelengths (color is tied to wavelength which in turn determines the density of data, or storage capacity). But no such products are expected on the market for at least half a decade, with another ten years expected beyond that in order to thoroughly saturate our everyday lives.