LG Develops Prototype HD Optical Video Disk

South Korea's LG Electronics says it has developed a new optical disk system that boasts four times the capacity of current DVD (digital versatile disk).

The system is the product of a five-year basic development project that cost the company 8 billion won (US$7 million) and kept 40 researchers busy. The new system can store 18G bytes of data on a single-sided disk employing an LG-developed blue laser pickup, which enables the data to be written closer together than can be accomplished with a conventional red laser pickup. Because data can be written closer together, more data to be stored on the disk.

Packaged into a video playback system, the disk system would allow more than two hours of continuous high-definition video.

The system also employs variable-bit-rate encoding, which can alter the rate at which data is sent to the disk should some scenes not need the maximum 24M bits per second (bps) data rate. By slowing down the data rate, disk space is preserved and more video can be stored in the space available. LG said it also developed its own copy protection technology to prevent illegal copying of material stored on the disk.

By developing the system, LG said it has secured for itself a strong position in the race for next-generation high-definition DVD standards. The DVD Forum is expected to begin considering the technical format for such next-generation systems later in 2000.

LG Electronics, in Seoul, can be found online at