300GB Holographic CD’s will be available this week

November 18th, 2006


There was a rumor for some time now, that a large capacity disc will be developed, but nothing on-topic has proven so yet. Now, Hitachi-Maxell is planning to organize a showcase this week, and present to the open public their new 300GB holographic CD’s. It does seem like this is Science-Fiction, but I can assure you it’s not.

We are all asking ourselves what would be the advantages and disadvantages of this removable media. Within advantages, I could mention the transfer rate of 20MB/s, the high capacity and the multitude of operations that could be fulfilled with the help of it, like large amounts of backups, uncompressed media (movies and audio) that could be easily edited later, and many many more.

Disadvantages? The price, of course. It’s expected that one holographic disc will cost somewhere between $100 and $125, and the optical drive that will be able to operate them will go up to $15.000! And wait, there’s more for the future. In 2008, InPhase plans a second-generation 800GB rewritable optical disc with data transfer rates of about 80MBbps, with plans to expand its capacity to 1.6TB by 2010.

Amazing. What do you think about the high capacity disks? Share your opinion with us by leaving a comment behind.

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  1. maccam94:

    Don’t scratch it!

  2. Michael:

    Sounds about right.

    Back when CDs were invented, the hard drive was only just up to around 1GB. Now that 300GB discs could be coming, the hard drives are just popping above 500GB.

    I personally have never fully trusted myself with using CDs or DVDs as failsafe storage devices, although their track record isn’t that bad, so I’d be sceptical unless some advanced scratch and wear protection was incorporated into these discs.

  3. Cerium:

    I think that if the drive price was affordable and the disk price was about 50-60 dollars for a 300gb disk it would be worth it.. as long as it would work at a read only hard drive.

    Think about it.. most files once you put them on your hard drive they are there. Having a permanent storage drive would be great!

  4. shawn:

    I speak for many when I say I’m glad technology/storage caps/CPU speeds are going like mad, but we need to slow down, cause I’m just sick and tired of buying stuff that is outdated, literally, 180 days later. Either go for the 800GB disc and stick with it for a while, or the 300GB disc and stick with it for a while. both are so far ahead of anything we have, and the leaps are great, but we need to just calm down or we’ll really fragment our tech world and end up with 8 track tapes all over again.

  5. Steve:

    well, i think this is a really interesting technology but it’s being applied to the wrong thing. Hard drives could be made extremely large if they used the idea behind this. I think this is just a little too far ahead of its time to be useful, we need to focus on blu ray and HD DVD right now. Personally, i find this useless right now and probably the same for the next 5 years.

  6. hellno:

    f that. i can buy a BUNCH of hard drives for that much.

  7. allaun:

    Ya, thats great, until it gets scratched, lost, or stepped on. I’ll stick with my hard drives.

  8. Shadow:

    I honestly think screw all the high capacity crap… 4.5GB DVDs in 8 minutes or far less at about 19-20 cents per disc far outweights holographic storage. We need affordable storage at cheap rates.

  9. Gavin:

    I’m a videographer and photographer and this would drastically change my workflow. I could have all my weddings uncompressed, and backup 3-4 per CD. I would not have to delete anything ever again, especially since the final DV files take up 20 GBs themselves before they go to DVD.

  10. Uh????:

    Uh….how can you call it a CD? Can I play it in a CD player?

  11. someone:

    I really hate these fake “current prices” when they only have like one example of the thing. They should just shut up about the “current price” and estimate prices for mass production instead. Otherwise – what’s the point?

    It’s not like they’re getting people interested in the thing. Maybe one or two rivaling organisations will find the current price interesting but that’s something else…

  12. DaMieN6669:

    Wow, one scratch and there goes gigabyes of data! Bring back the cartridge loader!

  13. hallz:

    I find it hard to believe that the second generation would go at 10MB/s (80 Mbps / 8 = 10 MB). I am guessing it is meant to be 80 MB/s.

  14. Extra Character:

    This looks to me like a very limited market item. The initial cost and the expensive media eliminates the general consumer. Even those who can afford them may prefer the cheaper terabyte hard drives for storage and high bandwidth connections for porting files.

  15. soren:

    sounds good. needs to come down in price though. i like the idea of pretty stable media like cd/dvd-r.

  16. zack c:

    The beginning of the end for HDDVD and Bluray. They should never have even been researched. stupid companies. Sure it’s expensive and going to be a few more years till it’s affordable… I’ll gladly stick with my cd/dvd drives and pass on HDDVD/Bluray to wait for this. No sense in wasting time and money on those other 2 when they will be right out the door in less than a handful of years.

  17. Lokes:

    If it’s a 20MB/sec transfer rate.. that puts it over 4 hours to fill the disk… Not exactly a huge advantage to a tape when it comes to TCO and practicality. I’m hoping the technology evolves enough to pay off some of the R&D costs, bringing the end user costs down with it.

  18. Rob:

    Of course the price will drop, in time, like that of all technologies.

  19. Noggin:

    The market would be to compete with enterprise tape drives in robotics rather than with home backup. Having a device which gives random access to data rather than having to wind through a tape would be a major improvement. Banks, Medical imaging, Research all have needs to this kind of product to store their petabytes of data for long term archive.

  20. Will:

    Not many people remember this company,
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constellation_3D ,but was very popular back in the day when everyone was jumping on the dot com band wagon theses guys where thinking of the future, hell i even had some money invested in them, but just when things where starting to pick up all tech stocks fell and there backers pulled out to save money. I am willing to bet that if they had some backing we wouldn’t be worried about Blue-Ray or HD DVD which is nothing to theses…

  21. Etherfast:

    Scratching this thing by accident, will make you cry ;)

    @Rob : Indeed, the price is also expected to drop, as it usually does. The ones that hurry up will have the advantage of testing it first, but there are downsides for that as well :)

    Like I said, instead of getting this unit now, I’ll gladly buy myself a new car instead, and use my DVD’s further.

  22. Pyster:

    Another optical media without a protective covering. Worthless. Unprotected media (cd/dvd/blueray/hd) just does not stand up against real life, and if you rely on it for anything mission critital you are only asking for suffering. At 125 a pop and 300g this isnt some disposable media. Phhttt.

    Put this in a protective casing like a 3.5 inch floppy disk and I’m sold. Heck, even the protection of a 5.25 drive would be enough to sell me on this.

  23. Etherfast:

    Like I said, a scratch and there goes the coke money for one week. Not to mention the huge amount of data destroyed.

  24. FatalDelay:

    The ULTIMATE edition of Knoppix? :)

  25. Rendon:

    Read up on the tech before making rediculous statements. If you scratch it, you can still access ALL of the information, just at a slightly reduced resolution. That is the whole point of HOLOGRAPHIC material.

  26. Etherfast:

    Perhaps the figure of speech was a bit subtle. What about if I accidentally step on it and break it in pieces? :D

  27. g0bez:

    I think many of you are missing the point (and maybe I’ve missed someone already posting this comment, but I got tired of reading the same complaint over and over).

    As with most any cutting-edge tech, this is obviously *not* practical for general public… for the reasons you all (over) zealously mentioned. Who remembers how much the first CD disk/player/drive cost? Many people thought they would never become practical. People were laughed at when investing in DVDs because they would surely go on the long list of failed tech. Even now quad-core procs are taking a beating… but its all relative.

    The point here (and also applies in so many areas of new tech) is that this tech is on the ::horizon:: — that’s very important, read: its not here NOW — this little blurb offers us a glimpse into what kinds of things we can expect as standards in 3 – 5 years. Blu-ray and HD-DVD are coming into their own now… as Holo may, too, some day.

    My guess is that we will be beyond physical storage by the time Holo comes to true practical usage… but I guess only time will tell.

  28. darksword:

    It’s cool to have wider and wider cds. But in ten years, who care about a cd ? It’s boring. Everything will be online and almost available from everywhere. No needs to carry cd.

  29. travis:

    this is market research by some company… spread disinformation

  30. Blogmaniac:

    You aint seen nothin yet dude(tte)s – check out http://www.colossalstorage.net !

  31. ciops:

    I think you’re wrong :)
    Take time to do some research.

  32. alex:

    My opinion… It’s crap… Why??? Too expensive… With that money I will personal buy a hard drive that I will not need to wory because of scratch… So let’s just think again hard drive or a non safe disk ????

  33. g:

    lol why are you asking the common public what they think. For one this is not priced for individuals but mabye for work places so they can throw out those tape backups/stupid windows backup program.

    Its kinda gay to the individual since they scratch easy. If it were me I’d probably leave the cd in the drive all the time and never remove it.

  34. Rendon:


    Even then you would be able to access all of the data, but at a greatly reduced resolution.

  35. Bob:

    Are hard drives _really_ better? I, personally, have had two Maxtor drives – big ones, 200+ GB, fail with a Click-of-Death within three months. Always remember, back it up to cheap media (CDs, etc.) that last a long time. CDs may only last a few years, but that’s long enough for my pr0n collection.

  36. garo:

    come baby give me a scratch

  37. Kenekeu:

    At least in the video industry this would be a total boon. With High Definition video we are quickly outrunning our ability to manage the amount of data we are creating. On top of that, a lot of what we now capture is done direct to hard drive or P2 card. With no tape backup, long term storage is a nightmare. Right now we are forced to budget in the acquisition of a new FireWire hard drive for every project which gets unplugged, labeled and put on a shelf. We already have several dozen drives stacked in our storage room. If these new discs can replace an entire hard drive our storage problem would be eliminated. I personally feel much more confident in an optical, non-magnetic storage medium for long term survivability anyway. I used to love those tiny 250Mb optical discs in the little cases; very safe and very durable. Now the cost is bad right now, but when we’re having to budget in an entire hard drive per job, it doesn’t take long to amortize that out and come out ahead with this new media, and it will only get cheaper. I may not jump in on the first generation, but I guarantee I will be in on the second. HD video is a massive data hog, I NEED that kind of storage in a big way.

  38. Bill:

    I think the the term “Greatest Hits Compilation” has finally taken on a whole new meaning.

  39. Etherfast:

    Yeah, like Greatest hits EVER ;)

    Yes, this stuff is the optimum choice for backup (from the point of view of quality/storage/time – not with the price tho’), and even if for now they’re really really expensive (at least from where I’m standing), we’re all sure that in the not-so-far-future, things will change.

  40. Jon Zencovich:

    That’s great news! When the price on the optical drives will be in reasonable ranges, Holographics will put an end to both HD-DVD and Blu-Ray.

    Can’t wait for the Holographics revolution!

    –Jon Z | http://www.jzencovich.com

  41. Ellis_Wyatt:

    I have just 5 words for y’all: RAID

  42. [mag]:

    I like your reasoning, but your numbers are wrong. The CD was invented circa 1980, and reached market in 1982. At this time the hard disks could store approximately five megabytes (source: Wikipedia). By this ratio, we should expect a “CD-like” medium with a capacity of 64 TB today :)

  43. J2897:

    20MB/s? My External 350GB Firewire HDD is 5 times faster. It also has a USB port in case I want to take it to a friends house and use it there. It uses standard windows drivers (So no need to install any, just plug it in and access the data) and cost me around 140. I’m not sure how much that is in $ but I’m wondering how many more I could buy with $15,000.

  44. Bela Black:

    Wow! that is awesome, spacewise. But CD’s are still flimsy little buggers that should never cost more than 30 cents.

  45. defibulator:

    I can see it now,one of my braindead stoner buddys putting a beer down on it.High dollar Coaster.

  46. rev aaron:


  47. vemuri:

    I am one of the many people frustrated with CD / DVD . Believe me, i lots tons of data on these discs so far, and struggled like hell to recover… one CD took almost 3 months of iterations with all makes of data recovery software, finally somehow recovered. Does it occur to me only or to others also that its highly possible for 300GB of data disappear with one scratch ???

  48. Slvr:

    This will be the new hardrives of many.

  49. mojo:

    Had an interesting read through the comments there, couldnt help but add my own :).. at first read i was also shocked at the price, but like someone mentioned, there is a huge need for this for backing up old uncompressed HD video jobs, we were shocked to find the only viable solution justnow is to buy a hard disk for each job, and the only real competitor is tape backup which costs about the same as this and is well.. ugh, tape :)

    Everyone who’s complaining about scratches.. umm.. it’s a $120 disc, not 20cents lol, if you are dumb enough to leave it lying around unprotected or in a multi cd sleeve thing, then well, hats off to you ;) think mine would be stored in some sort of rubber coated titanium cases hehe, its a step in the future and if they get the prices of the drives down, could fill a big hole in the HD workflow for small companys who dont have nice storerooms for filling wall to wall with hard disks, the wasted tech for every job makes me shudder, but its all we have, best of luck to the holo media revolution :), oh and quit whining people, tech is fun.. smile ;)

  50. Lee Miller:

    Just like any new product when it first go’s on the market, its going to cost a lot by older standards. With time and more new advances it will get cheaper. Then may be the working man will be able to afford it!!

  51. lame_ass:

    Actually, we do not need BlueRay or HD DVD when there is things like this.These who needs BlyeRay and HD DVDs are large corporations who spend lots of $ for R&D and now want to get they $ back.I’m hardly need blue-ray and hd-dvd crap today.It just a bit better than DVD but costs slightly more.So, I’ll have to either wait until BD\HD costs like DVD today and then ‘ll buy it because it’s cheap (and not because it’s a way better) or I’m better will wait for something like this and buy it when it’s goes to masses so price goes down to reasonable values.For 15 000$ and $120 per disk I’m better to buy 300…500Gb HDDs – they’re much more reliable, fast, scratch-resistant, expected to live much more hours, etc :)

  52. lame_ass:

    Hmm, why we have to wait?Why no need for 1Tb disks?As for me, it is real pain in the ass to backup my 2x500Gb HDDs to anywhere else.Backing up to DVDs is sh!t!Same about BlueRay and HD.I’ll still need a dozens of disks to backup all my data.With such disk all can be different though.Just use one disk and voila :).If priced reasonably of coz.

  53. MoirSolace:

    in comment to “uh…”
    its called a cd because… uh, well… its “compact” :C and
    “Disc” :D

    just because its a “CD” means it has to play audio??? what are you, retarded?

  54. Brayn:

    I think we’ve got the idea, no need to be mean to each other!

  55. evildoctorgonzo:

    First of all, this is indeed a “horizon” technology that won’t have it’s time until after the current format war is settled and the winner lives out it’s life cycle. By that time, holographic storage will be significantly cheaper. Early CD burners were industrial products costing $15,000. Guess what? Early DVD burners were industrial products that cost…$15,000! This is just the normal pricing at this stage in the medium’s life. I’m sure the discs will use durable materials (like HD DVD and blu-ray) that are superior to conventional CDs. They also will likely feature greater error-correction techniques to minimize the impact of scratching. This has already been done successfully with DVD, which have about 7 times the error-correction capability of CDs, which proportionate to the amount of data capacity. And, besides, holograms have an interesting property in which the pieces of a broken hologram all contain exact copies of the complete hologram. Ultimately, these discs will be very useful…unlike hard drives, they HAVE NO MOVING PARTS!

  56. Etherfast:

    This should be a good link for you guys to understand how exactly the holographic storage works:


  57. seatune:


  58. ciops:

    @seatune: you forgot ‘search?’. The correct form of the link would be: http://www.google.com/search?q=whats+going+on

  59. Shandooga:

    What would I do with it? Hmmmm… I know: Fill it up with precious photographs, letters, videos, music and other audio recordings. Just when every thing is perfect (and before I can back it up) I’ll bash it with a hammer because that’s what’s bound to happen to my data anyway!

  60. Joey Bhananas:

    If I can venture a guess, I’d say that Microsoft is happy to see a disc they can fit their next Windows revision on :) (yeah yeah, I Windows bash, I know.)

    Forget destroying the data accidentally. Worse still would be losing your company’s data backup on one of these disks. With more data being able to ‘walk out’ in a smaller space, it really makes me think that security is the greater challenge here, not “what if I accidentally pour hot tar on it :)”

  61. garrett:

    so …can this be written on and then changed later…casue CD-R and RW’s along with DVDs cant..so is this a “ONE TIME” deal?

  62. hendoc:

    Where would I get a Terabyte of data to burn to one disk. Great for large corporations and the Library of Congress, but the average home user wouldn’t buy enough of them in a lifetime to pay for their tooling.

  63. drog:

    I will come down in price.
    I paid 250 bucks for a 250 meg drive in 1998 and thouht I got a deal. Just wait and prices will come down.

  64. Oldtech:

    My clients film wildlife for PBS, etc. so a typical video file footage would fill 300 to 500 Gb.

    Right now, they put all the raw footage of each on an external Firewire drive. Then, the studio cut goes to DVD.

    This is needed right now. Blu Ray or HD won’t hold the raw footage, but, the video Cinemagraphy industry really needs it!

    Hey, the Pr0n industry complete compilations alone would bring the prices low within a short time!

  65. Robert:

    these CD are stronger then they appear. the HIGHTECH ploymer PAP could take a brick followed by a wall and it would still read.
    so yes its a plastic. TUFFERWARE!!!!!!

  66. Halo Shg:

    One tiny scratch can wipe out generations of data.

  67. Hm..:

    It’s a good development but not so much.. I mostly use usb devices for data. ( Mine in paticular is a 2 Tb portable drive) Which is much more easier to handle and safer to use..

    also the defect with this is that you need a certain player to read the cd. Wtf is the point of this then? You can barely take it around anywhere, I’m postive that library isn’t going to have the 15.000 Hardware needed for it.

    Until the can make it applicable to the equipment out there now then it’s useless. Unless it can be shipped over to Xbox and stuff to be used for that.

    Though, this would make a killer live cd. I’d put every OS I know on it and still have some space left over.

    Commodore 64 Anyone?

  68. Michael Graham:

    What ever happened to this product? Did it ever come out? would have been nice but seems like this was a hoax.

  69. Dany:

    Well well sounds good. I they should invent a disk writer without the need of spining a disk.Most of the time they can sound high.I think it will be good if it is compare to a hard disk in a way of lite and portable to have anywhere.

    I think film strip or tape is good disk for erasing data or deleting files for next invent of maxell hitachi corporation
    SVDOD disk.

  70. Aaron:

    This would be a great addition to my back up system, but I don’t think it’s affordable…

  71. Marv:

    Its fun to see all those stupid comments about prices, I reckon if anyone remembered 12 years ago when dvd’s started hitting market and everyone said the same bullshit they are saying right here on this post… shame on you fools…

  72. vastrightwing:

    This will never be adopted until:
    Get the price down to $0.05/Gigabyte
    Drive needs to be in the $50 – $200 range
    Access speeds should be better than current DVD speeds.
    Data life should exceed or at least meet current DVD life.

    Storage is a commodity, we expect to pay DVD prices for optical media. If your solution is higher, then it needs to offer better speed, media life and compatibility. It’s all economics.

  73. Kayseri Emlak:

    If I can venture a guess, I’d say that Microsoft is happy to see a disc they can fit their next Windows revision on :) (yeah yeah, I Windows bash, I know.)

    Forget destroying the data accidentally. Worse still would be losing your company’s data backup on one of these disks ( kayseri satilik). With more data being able to ‘walk out’ in a smaller space, it really makes me think that security is the greater challenge here, not “what if I accidentally pour hot tar on it :)”

  74. HTC Thunderbolt Accessories:

    This was an extraordinary read. I am so stoked on those 300GB CD’s!!!!

  75. Weston Neuschafer:

    Awesome idea…But unlikely….For now at least. Just dont scratch it.. :)

  76. Ajit pathak:

    Its good,i was always worried about my datas, where to keep,i already had 60 cds and this amount would hav increased to many but now when hvd is there compact all ur datas to a single hvd.

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