Way ahead for video disks

At the National Institute of Standards and Technology in the United States, a new and cost effective way to store even more digital information has been announced. Working in partnership with Emeryville, California based Calimetrics, researchers have developed a compact disk data storage technology that will allow a full length high-definition television film to be recorded on a single compact disk.

In current disk drives, a laser and sensor combination are used to detect tiny pits in the disk materials. The lack of a pit edge is read as a 0, and the presence of a pit edge is a 1. A long stream of 0s and 1s encodes all the sounds and pictures on a CD-ROM.

Calimetrics’ system uses pits of varying depth to allow encoding numbers from 0 to 8. It takes less space to encode information with nine characters than it does with two, so the system can fit more sound and picture data in a smaller space as well as read the data from the disk at a much faster rate.

The good news from a cost point of view is that the company has retrofitted existing optical drives to reliably read variable-depth pits from its disks.

The company plans to use private venture capital and funding from corporate partners to build and sell a product that will undoubtedly come up against a complex market riddled with vested interests.

{{National Institute of Standards and TechnologyTel: US +1 301 975 2763Enter 403}}

{{CalimetricsTel: US +1 510 420 1211Enter 404}}