Constellation 3D (C3D) has announced a new storage technology, which will offer 100GB rewritable discs within a year.

Unlike reflective optical CD/DVD technology, the fluorescent multilayer video disc (FMD-Video) offers multiple-fluorescent layers for information storage. The discs have a data-transfer rate of approximately 100Mbps, and a data bandwidth of 12Mhz.

The first major demonstrations will be in November. C3D estimate that fully rewritable discs will be on show in summer 2001.

The competition The discs are similar in size to DVDs, and are equally durable. The company is also displaying a series of business-card sized media, with more limited capacity (5GB). C3D say the discs can offer long- or short-life spans, so single-use CDs for video rental firms are a possibility.

Dell considers that the top-level capacity for current storage discs is 500GB, using 1,000 layers. C3D suggest that the maximum capacity of their fledgling media could be as high as several terabytes. They expect to enter full production by November 2001, with multi-terabyte-capacity discs available by 2003.

The discs could also revolutionize the music, film and home-entertainment industries, according to observers. FMD-Video could become a pervasive technology. A recent IDC report predicts that storage needs will increase tenfold in the next five years.

Partners C3D are working closely with Ricoh. Ricoh has agreed to head up a group to develop a standard, in a push to identify a unified data format for all media. The company is also speaking with Panasonic, Dreamworks, Dolby and Disney. C3D intends licensing its technology to other manufacturers, at a price that will encourage its technology to become pervasive.

Apple has already expressed an interest in the breakthrough, according to C3Ds Patrick Maloney, who pointed out that FMD-Video returns greater capacity at ten per cent of the price of IBM’s much-vaunted Microdrive technology.