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Frustrating when technology gets dated before you've even bought it. PCs have been in this rut for a while and it's taken promises of multiple cores and 64-bit operating systems to spark much interest since the speed wars subsided. Digital data storage has had its cycles too and optical media, once an exiciting future in the datacenter, and now pretty much confined to consumer markets, is trying to raise its head once again. The Optical Storage Technology Association brought us Compact Discs, then the DVD Forum and DVD+RW Alliance brought us various flavors of DVDs. As if we didn't have enough format wars, trickles of ever higher quality music formats(as if the mp3/iPod generation cares), namely Super Audio CD (actually a DVD) and DVD Video, are trying to gain hold now. While "Universal" players help, it's a losing battle to think anything in technology is "universal".

The next optical disc technologies we'll be bombarded with is HD-DVD
(96kHz/24-bit; 30GB ~3X DVD; HW: Toshiba, Sanyo, and NEC; SW: Warner, Universal, and Paramount) and Blu-ray Disc (BD) (192kHz/24-bit; 50GB ~5X DVD; HW: all other vendors; SW: Disney, Columbia/Tristar, and MGM). Not to mention China's Enhanced Versatile Disk (EVD)... see

But before these take hold, the Holographic Versatile Disc (HVD) Alliance (Optware, CMC Magnetics Corp., Fuji Photo Film Co. Ltd., Nippon Paint Co. Ltd., Pulstec Industrial Co. Ltd., Toagosei Co. Ltd.) and it's incompatible format led by InPhase Technologies (see TMF article on Holographic Storage) come along with a 2006 planned rollout.

The question is, does it make sense to invest in ANY of the companies involved in optical storage? Are we forever destined to be fighting incompatibilities and technology leapfrogs so it never makes sense?
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