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Taiwan unveils new storage standard

15 Apr 2004

A new optical disc format promises up to 135 minutes of compressed high-definition video.

A Taiwanese consortium has unveiled a new optical disc format for high-definition video applications. Known as the Forward Versatile Disc (FVD), the format uses red laser technology to store 5.4-6 GB on a single layer disc and 9.8-11 GB on a dual layer disc. In comparison, conventional DVD based on red lasers store 4.7 GB per layer.

The new format was announced at the 9th DVD conference in Asia which took place at the Taipei Opto trade show, last week. FVD’s ability to read content encoded with advanced Microsoft compression algorithms (Windows Media Audio/Video 9 Professional) means that a single disc can store up to 135 minutes of compressed high-definition (720p) video.

The FVD format has been developed by Taiwan’s Advanced Optical Storage Research Alliance (AOSRA) and Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI). The former is a consortium of 28 Taiwanese optical storage firms that is working with ITRI to develop and patent new standards for data storage in an attempt to strengthen Taiwan’s intellectual property in the area.

Although, many CD and DVD drives are currently made in Tawian the makers have to pay royalties to Japanese and European firms that developed the storage standards that currently exist.

According to Der-Ray Huang, deputy general director of ITRI’s Optoelectronics and Systems Laboratories, the FVD format uses same red (650 nm) lasers found in existing DVD players but has a reduced track pitch and more advanced drive circuitry.

He told Optics.org that FVD will not only have superior display and navigation functions over current DVDs but will also offer a copy protection feature to stop illegal duplication.

“The first FVD drives will be appearing before the end of this year,” said Huang. “We have already developed prototypes.”

CMC Magnetics, RITEK, U-Tech Media and Prodisc Tech of Taiwan have pioneered the disc physics for FVD. LITE-ON Technology, Mustek, Quanta Storage, Ali and BENQ are making the playback drives.

Oliver Graydon is editor of Optics.org and Opto & Laser Europe magazine.

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