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The Tutorial: Holographic Versatile Discs HVD

Blu-ray MediaHawksM28 May 2010

The Holographic Versatile Disc, known as HVD, uses a collinear holography technology to hold even more than a CD, DVD, or even a Blu-ray disc – up to 1 terabyte of information, amounting to 200 times more storage than a DVD and 20 times more storage than a Blu-ray. And with a transfer rate of 1 gigabyte per second (125 MBs), HVD technology far outshines it competition.

So with all these accolades why hasn’t HVD taken off? The technology has been around for years, but the precision required to use it has made it too expensive to put on mainstream consumer shelves.

How It Works

To start with the basics, holography is “the method of recording patterns of light to produce a three-dimensional object.” These recorded patterns are called holograms. The light is captured by using a split laser beam – divided into a reference beam and an information beam – which passes through an image. When the light hits an image it creates a “light interference” pattern. By capturing this pattern in a photosensitive polymer layer of a disc, the light pattern of the image is recorded onto the disc.

The reference beam can be reflected directly onto the hologram to retrieve the stored light pattern. The image reflected off the hologram is sent to the CMOS sensor to recreate the original image. The patterns are stored in overlapping layers to maximize storage capabilities as opposed to side-by-side on DVDs.

Why It’s Not Available

Primarily the technology has been too complex and with little-to-no adoption in the market, is relatively incompatible with current systems; HVD contain no servo data. Early HVDs were typically thicker than most CDs and DVDs.

Optware, however, has made great strides to bring HVD to market. The laser beams system is simplified; now touch the recording medium at the same angle – the collinear method. And HVD discs now include servo data and are have been slimed down to be the same thickness as CDs and DVDs.

The Breakdown

How does HVD compare?





Initial cost for recordable disc

Approx. $18

Approx. $10

Approx. $120

Initial cost for recorder/player

Approx. $2,000

Approx. $2,000

Approx. $3,000

Initial storage capacity

54 GB

30 GB

300 GB

Read/write speed

36.5 Mbps

36.5 Mbps

1 Gbps


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