If you listen to me I'll happily tell you a million and one reasons why the optical disc is dead, but then things like this come along...
Pioneer - famed for its stringent Blu-ray support - has come up with the world's first (that phrase again) 16 layer optical disc holding a monstrous 400GB capacity. Interestingly, Pioneer also says the breakthrough (which holds the same 25GB per layer storage as a Blu-ray disc) could be made compatible with the HD format winner.
Explaining the challenges behind the breakthrough Pioneer explained:
"For multilayer optical discs, it has been difficult to obtain clear signals from each recording layer in a stable manner due to crosstalk from adjacent layers and transmission loss. Utilizing the optical disc production technology that it has developed in the DVD field, Pioneer solved these problems by, among other things, using a disc structure that can reduce crosstalk from adjacent layers, resulting in a 16-layer optical disc that can playback high-quality signals from every layer."
Full details of the research involved in this tech will be presented at the verbosely titled International 'Symposium on Optical Memory and Optical Data Storage 2008' (ISOM/ODS2008 for short-ish) to be held in Hawaii from 13 July.
Quite what this means for Blu-ray is unclear at this time as existing players would almost certainly be unable to handle the format so it could once more split a format already struggling to unify public opinion. That said, don't expect it to start turning up on shop shelves anytime soon.
Me, I'll still tell you the optical disc is dead. I'd argue who wants to store so much data on a medium that can be destroyed by loose keys...?!