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Could 1TB Optical Disks Be in Your Future?

While Blu-ray and HD DVD battle over the sub-100GB space and holographic storage companies try to get things going around 300GB, a company called Mempile is working to ship optical discs, the same size as standard DVDs and that will ultimately contain a full terabyte of data.

Mempile, an Israeli company, produces a special (and secret) type of all-plastic disc that forgoes the layer of aluminum in the center that we've become accustomed to. The data is stored right in the plastic, in up to 200 five-micron-thick layers, one on top of each other. The discs are completely transparent, yellow, and mysterious.

Unlike holographic storage technology, Mempile's basic technology is about the same as DVD (both the mechanics of the players/burners and the way discs are encoded), but instead of reading pits on aluminum, lasers focus on the plastic at various levels and interpret the chemical state of that section on the disc.

Mempile plans to ship a prototype burner by the end of 2008, with production beginning in 2009. Initial prices for the burner, targeted at businesses and archival applications, should run about $3,000 to $4,000. Media will initially run $30 to $40 per disc. Prices should fall rapidly; Blu-ray had a similar price drop.

One caveat: For now Mempile's technology is a write-once technology, but Mempile's founder says that could change in the future. Then again, he notes, why would you need to? Very few people even use DVD rewriting technology as it is, and those discs don't even hit 9GB. With 1TB on a single disc, who would need to delete something to get more space?

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