There are undoubtedly pros and cons to having a single disc that can pack in 400GB of data – movies, music…whatever you can throw at it.

Pioneer is preparing for release a 16-layer Blu-ray disc that not only offers this colossal storage capacity but will play back on most current standalone Blu-ray players, including the Sony PlayStation 3.

The manufacturer insists that the read-only disc will be backwards compatible with existing players because the specifications of the pick-up head (PUH) of the disc are the same as those for blank BD discs.

Currently, Blu-ray discs are either single layer 25GB discs or 50GB dual-layer discs.

The new multi-layer disc is based on current Blu-ray discs but made from a new material of reflective layers of Dielectric.

It is read-only (ROM) but there are plans for rewritable discs by 2010-2012.

What is still not clear is whether current players will be able to read all 16 layers of the 400GB disc, rather than just the first two.

The company also added that it will begin manufacturing 40-layer 1TB discs in 2013.

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