Taiwanese researchers to demo new optical disc format

Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI), a research body backed by Taiwan's government, plans to demonstrate a new optical disk format for storing high-definition video on Monday.

Designed principally for consumer-electronics applications, FVD (Forward Versatile Disc) was developed by ITRI's Optoelectronics and Systems Laboratories and the Advanced Optical Storage Research Association, a group organized by ITRI that includes 29 Taiwanese companies, said Joey Yen, an ITRI spokeswoman.

ITRI officials will demonstrate two versions of the FVD format: a single-sided, single-layer disk with a capacity of 6G bytes; and a single-sided, dual-layer disc with a capacity of 11G bytes, Yen said. Existing DVD discs can hold around 4.7G bytes of data.

The demonstration planned for next week will include FVD discs made by Ritek, CMC Magnetics and U-Tech Media, Yen said.

Unlike other high-capacity optical disc formats such as Blu-ray Disc, FVD is based on the same red laser technology that is used with CDs and DVDs, Yen said, adding that ITRI expects companies to eventually announce DVD players also supporting FVD.

"That's what we're hoping for," Yen said, declining to comment on further specifics of the FVD format.

The use of a red laser sets FVD apart from other high-capacity disc formats, such as Blu-ray Disc, which are based on blue laser technology. Blue light has a shorter wavelength than the red light used with the CD and DVD disc formats. This means blue lasers can make a smaller spot on the surface of a disc, allowing more data to fit onto the surface area of the discs.

A single-sided Blu-ray disc can store around 25G bytes of data.

One high-capacity disc format using red laser technology is the EVD (Enhanced Versatile Disc) format, which was developed in China. A single-sided EVD disc has a capacity of 9G bytes.

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