Sony and Pioneer unveiled at the CEATEC electronics show in Japan this week a prototype optical disc video recorder that utilizes a state of the art blue laser. The development of a commercial optical disc recording system based on a blue laser is a goal being pursued by many electronics makers at present and is seen as the next generation leap from today's red laser-based systems. Because blue light has a shorter wavelength than red light, 405 nanometres versus 650 nanometres, data can be packed closer together and a standard 12cm optical disc can be made to hold more data. The system on display at CEATEC this week, named DVR-Blue, is capable of storing up to 22.5GB of data on a 12cm optical disc - roughly five times the capacity of the latest 4.7GB DVD-RAM disc. The companies said that's enough capacity to record 2.5 hours of high definition television, an application for which they think the new system will first catch on when commercialized. Sony and Pioneer, which are working together on the research and development, bought a blue laser for the recorder from Nichia Chemical, one of only two companies in Japan that is capable of producing such a device. Commercial production is, however, some way off. The prototype was such a recent development that few details were available and staff from Pioneer said up until last week they were even unsure whether the prototype would be finished in time.