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Group aims to drastically up disc storage

HVD technology could let consumers store as much data as 200 standard DVDs hold.

A few hundred movies on an optical disc? That's the goal of the Holographic Versatile Disc (HVD) Alliance.

Six companies, including Fuji Photo and CMC Magnentics, have formed a consortium to promote HVD technology, which will let consumers conceivably put a terabyte (1TB) of data onto a single optical disc.

A TB-size disc would certainly compress movie collections. The consortium said an HVD disc could hold as much data as 200 standard DVDs and transfer data at over 1 gigabit per second, or 40 times faster than a DVD.

HVD is a possible successor to technologies such as Blu-ray and HD DVD. Single layer Blu-ray discs hold about 25GB of data while dual-layer discs hold 50GB. Ordinary DVD discs, meanwhile, hold about 4.7GB. HVD technology will be pitched at corporations and the entertainment market, the HVD Alliance said.

The technology behind HVD is based on holography technology from Japan's Optware, one of the six founders of the consortium. A technical committee formed last December to flesh out HVD standards.

Sony unveiled a home server with 1TB of storage for the Japanese market last year. Half of the capacity would be enough to record six channels of TV for five and a half days non-stop, Sony said.

The organization, however, is looking at first developing discs with lower capacities. The first assignments of the technical committee involve coming up with standards for a 200GB recordable disc and a 100GB read-only disc.

If history is an indication, consumers will fill the disc up. High-definition broadcasting and gaming are also expected to add a heavy burden to existing home storage systems because of the size of the files. Two hours of HD programming takes up about 15GB to 25GB.

Michiko Nagai of CNET Japan contributed to this story from Tokyo.