It may seem premature to start looking at the next generation of optical video disc technology, as the high-definition DVD era is just shy of its first birthday and sales are just starting to pick up speed. But an Israeli company named Mempile forced the issue when they announced that they'd developed what they call TeraDisc technology -- a red-laser-based optical disc that, in their words, "allows for 3D recording of transparent virtual layers on the entire volume of the disc."
Right now, that means a disc with 0.6 mm of active material -- that is, the recording material sandwiched by the plastic shell -- can hold a little under 300 GB of data. Mempile predicts that optimizing the material and doubling its thickness (to a whopping 1.2 mm, which is the thickness of a DVD disc) will lead to 1 terabyte of storage on a single 5-inch disc.
Perhaps surprisingly, Mempile doesn't foresee the TeraDisc being used for video playback as we now do with DVDs; it's simply too big to be useful, considering current HD technology. Instead, the company sees the TeraDisc being used for data archiving, or a means of moving video from a PC to a PVR. But if the technology does take off, and media mavens find themselves able to dramatically cut down their shelf space by storing a few hundred DVD videos on one disc, then playback applications are sure to follow.