Hot on the heels of Sharp’s 100GB Blu-ray discs announcement, Sony has come out with an innovation of its own that could bring optical storage to a whole new level. Working in conjunction with researchers and engineers at Tohoku University in Japan, the company claims it has developed a blue-violet laser that shoots very thin beams with a very high watt output, allowing it to write up to 20 times more data on a disc compared to existing Blu-ray technology.

Currently, Blu-ray drives hold 25GB of data, with dual-layer versions capable of storing 50GB. The new blue-violet laser would theoretically enable 1TB capacities. Sony says it has tested the new technology, and will continue to develop it to create next-generation optical storage devices, but gave no indication as to when we'll be seeing a new disc format.

Considering most folks haven't even gotten a Blu-ray player in their homes yet, it doesn’t seem likely that there will be a major format change anytime soon. Regardless of this, or the future of physical media itself with Internet video streaming gaining popularity, the specs are astounding to consider. To put things into perspective, the new format could reportedly hold as many as 50 full movies, or an entire season of a TV series on a single disc.