Pioneer shows off giant-capacity 400GB optical disc

Amid all the talk of online video downloading and streaming, the optical disks still get bigger. Pioneer's future-looking roadmap now boasts of a 400GB optical disc, spread out on 16 layers and read by a head that's almost the same as those on Blu-ray drives. Read-only versions of these monster discs will arrive soon and then in 2010 there will be re-writable versions. There are even bigger plans on the horizon, with 1TB discs debuting in 2013.

This sounds like that capacity battle that was raging back when Blu-ray and the late HD DVD were locking horns, when last we heard, the top experimental capacity of Blu-ray hit 250GB in 2007. But isn't all this becoming a moot point? With hard disc prices hitting next to nothing, flash drive costs plummeting and online bandwidth skyrocketing, it's looking like optical disc's days are numbered.

However, there will still be a need for long-term archival storage. Perhaps that's where Pioneer's projected 1TB optical drive will be welcomed in 2013. Unless, of course, someone figures out a better way to store data for centuries by then. Five years is a long time — there could be a whole new way to store data by then.

Update: Pioneer says these 400GB discs are compatible with Blu-ray readers now on the market.

DigiTimes, via Ubergizmo