Skip to main content

Blu-ray breakthrough boosts HD TV broadcasts

NHK uses a new system to increase the spin speed of adapted Blu-ray disks

Just the other day we saw how Japanese broadcaster NHK was making current high-definition video look very old-fashioned indeed . Now today we have news on how the company is adapting Blu-ray technology for use in professional HD TV broadcasting.

Faced with the problem of optical disks being unable to spin fast enough to handle the 250Mbit/s signal NHK uses to record HD TV, the broadcaster has been stuck with tape until now. The new system manages to increase the spin speed of adapted Blu-ray disks to accommodate the data rate, while preventing the shattering ordinary disks would experience.

Stability the key

It reaches the 15,000rpm needed by removing the stiff plastic from a Blu-ray disk, leaving just the data-holding layer. As this is a floppy 0.1mm piece of plastic, a stabilising plate holds it in place when it is spun up. This keeps it still enough for a laser pickup to write data.

A similar system, known as Stacked Volumetric Optical Disk ( SVOD ), was previously developed by Hitachi. Although this was more about increasing storage than spin speed. Both techniques will likely result in cartridges packed with several thin slices of optical media.