The laser can emit a beam of 450 milliwatts, which is about double the power of Sanyo's current highest power laser for Blu-ray Disc systems. The higher power means it can write and read data on discs with up to four data layers and at speeds of up to 12X, Sanyo said on Monday.
Each recording layer on a Blu-ray Disc can store 25G bytes of data and the current highest capacity commercial discs have two recording layers. A four-layer disc would be able to hold 100G bytes of data, which translates to about eight hours of high-definition video, and at 12X speed all that data could be burned to the disc in just 10 minutes.
While the development of the laser is a step toward such systems, users shouldn't expect them anytime soon. With the development of a suitable laser, companies are now able to work on products supporting the higher speeds, but the length of the development cycle and the Blu-ray Disc standardization process means drives and recorders running at the higher speeds likely won't be available until one or two years later.
Optical disc systems like Blu-ray Disc typically advance throughout their life thanks to developments in component technology. Stronger lasers mean additional recording layers can be added and discs can be spun faster. Most of the latest Blu-ray Disc drives support double-layer at speeds of up to 6X.