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Thursday, January 12, 2006

Holographic Versatile Disc (HVD)

Hey are you old enough to remember the format wars between Betamax and VHS? Even though Sony's Betamax consumer videotape format was technically superior to VHS in nearly every way, VHS won the war. Why? There was one point in the battle, a key window of opportunity, where VHS could record a maximum of six hours on a single tape, compared to Beta's five.

Format War:2 Blu-ray Disc vs HD-DVD

The competing technologies are Blu-ray, the high-definition video disc format backed by Sony and several other major vendors, against HD-DVD, which is backed by the DVD Forum and companies including Toshiba, NEC, Intel, and Microsoft.
The difference in storage space is huge: regular DVDs can hold 4.7GB of music, movies, and other data, while Blu-ray can carry 25GB of data and HD-DVD, 15GB. But despite some other advantages for each of the two new formats, the companies backing them have been unable to compromise on a single standard. But a prolonged war between the two incompatible formats may mean consumers have a long wait for a clear winner to emerge, potentially holding off widespread adoption of high-def DVDs for years if ever. The Beta-VHS wars lasted 10 years.

It does not matter who wins this battle, Blu-ray Disc or HD-DVD, they both lose the War.

Soon to enter battle is the Holographic Versatile Disc (HVD). It employs a technique known as collinear holography, whereby two lasers, one red and one blue-green, are collimated in a single beam. The blue-green laser reads data encoded as laser interference fringes from a holographic layer near the top of the disc while the red laser is used to read servo information from a regular CD-style aluminium layer near the bottom. Servo information is used to monitor the position of the read head over the disc, similar to the head, track, and sector information on a conventional hard disk drive. These disks have the capacity to hold up to 3.9 terabytes (3,900 GB) of information, which is approximately 160 times the capacity of single-layer Blu-ray Discs. The HVD also has a transfer rate of 1 Gbit/s. Optware is expected to release a 200GB disc in early june of 2006.
HVD storage also offers interesting possibilities for data protection. The 3-D hologram is recorded using the two-dimensional page data which is surrounded by a reference pattern, formed together on the mirrors of the DMD device. The page data then cannot be read out except by the reproducing the exact reference pattern. In this form of encryption, there are over a million key combinations per page, and each page can have a different reference key. Since the HVD system writes 23,000 pages/sec., a fully encrypted disc would require 22 giga keys/sec. to unlock.
And theres the The Holographic Versatile Card (HVC).It is only as big as a credit-card but stores 30GB of data. 30GB is about 6 times more than a DVD can store and in closer to the capacity of next generation DVD formats like Blu-ray or HD DVD.

A HVC costs about 90 cents, however a HVC read/write drive is supposed to cost around $5,800

In less than ten years the price of HVC and HVD read/write drives will be much cheaper. So who will win the Format War? I can tell you who it wont be.


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