I have many issues with using HD DVD and Blu-ray discs being used as storage technology – namely, when compared to external hard drives, they are too expensive, too slow and well... optical media is soooo last millennium. That said, at least one of those grumbles looks set to change...
Japanese R&D company Nichia has announced that it has come up with a new blue-violet diode which should potentially boost future Blu-ray and HD DVD burner’s speeds up to 10x. This is more than double the high end 4x burners which are virtually unattainable anyhow and a massive improvement on the 1x-ers that currently dominate the market.
The breakthrough is made possible because the new diode (used by both formats) is able to supply up to 320mW of power. This is more than two and a half times the current (pun sadly-unintentional) 130mW provided by current devices.
Why does improving power make a difference? I’m so annoyed glad you asked that question: the reason (after much personal research) is because it enables the burner to spend less time on each bit of data (that wasn’t worth all my studying!).
Of course with developments like this all we care about is the potential availability of such time saving goodness and Nichia says it anticipates a role out during the first half of 2008. The caveat unfortunately is that burners using the new blue diodes would need to bolster their own specifications in order to support the greater milliwatts.
So if you were planning to go out and buy an external hard drive... I suggest for now you keep it on your shopping list.