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Toshiba invests in holographic disc firm

HVD to be future of HD DVD?

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Toshiba has invested in Optware, the company developing a holographic optical disc claimed to offer significantly greater storage capacity than next-generation formats like Toshiba's own, HD DVD.

Toshiba was one of four companies who together pumped $14m into Optware earlier this month. The other investors are Japanese banks and venture capital companies.

Optware's proposed Holographic Versatile Disc (HVD) is the same size as a DVD but holds more than 1TB of information - more than 200 times the capacity of a typical DVD. HVD is faster too, Optware claims, reading data at 1Gbps, 40 times DVD's throughput.

HVD uses a colinear system - essentially the reference and read laser beams are projected along the same axis rather than at an angle through a single objective lens. The upshot is a much simpler system that's better suited to disc media, is smaller and more compatible with DVD and CD.

It's that compatibility which attracted Toshiba's interest, according to the company's HD DVD Promotion Division chief, Hiroharu Satoh, in a statement.

"HVD has a glittering promise to be a future optical recording media which promises our customers smooth migration from HD DVD," he added.

HVD is backed by half a dozen consumer electronics firms, including Fuji Photo Film, who together formed the HVD Alliance in February this year.

The Alliance, working with Europe-based standards-defining body ECMA, is developing specifications for HVD-ROM and HVD-RW products with a view to submitting completed specifications to the ISO by the end of next year. ®

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