Who Needs Blue Lasers?

I’ve said before that improved compression such as MPEG4 H.264 make it possible — even practical — to put high-definition full-length movies on a standard red-laser DVD. The complaint from the movie houses is that this doesn’t leave enough room for all the other things (that I don’t watch) such as director’s commentary, alternate scenes, cut scenes, scenes edited differently, documentaries about the food caterers, and home movies of the star’s bijon frise named Puddles.

Well, a bunch of clever folks have solved that, too. In the February issue of the International Electronic Journal of Optics (what, did you let your subscription lapse?), an article describes a method that was used to create an 8-layer DVD that can be read using standard red lasers. This can fit 20 GB or more on a single disc.

Now, I don’t expect that this will turn into a commercial product any time soon, but in today’s super-heated development cycles, anything is possible. If a company were to take the repeated stumbles by the blue laser camps as an opportunity, we might have HD red laser DVDs a lot sooner than we might imagine.