GE has revealed its latest breakthrough in optical storage technology, a 500GB disc that can store the data equivalent of 20 Blu-ray discs (or five souped-up 100GB Blu-ray discs).

If you haven't upgraded to Blu-ray yet, you may find the DVD equivalent easier to process – the new GE disc can store the data from 100 standard DVDs.

The storage boost is down to GE's scientists finding a way to add up to four metallic layers on which the data is stored, as opposed to on single thin metal layer as found on DVDs.

GE then stacks 20 blue-laser readable layers on the disc, which leaves it with a 500GB capacity.

1TB discs ahead

That's not enough for GE – work is already underway to create micro-holographic discs that can store 1 terabyte of data single-handedly.

But all this mega-storage doesn't mean that the humble disc's days aren't numbered; GE notes that, "There's no reason the micro-holographic layers must take the form of a disc. And GRC team members… remain agnostic about what shape future storage products using the material might assume."

While we won't see these mega-discs in the shops for some time yet – GE says it's "on the path to commercialising this technology" – can they realistically compete with digital storage lockers and external hard drives in the home?