Recent announcements from Tokyo made by Sony and Panasonic say that the two companies have developed discs that will be able to hold up to 1TB of data. The discs, currently called “Archival Discs”, will soon make Blu-Ray discs obsolete and will allow inter-generational compatibility between different formats to allow the discs to remain functional as technology evolves.
The use of these discs is aimed towards the professional field to provide a dependable solution to storing important data in the future. The discs are also expected to expand the market for long-term storage solutions and will be beneficial for HD video storage or storing large volumes of data. A plus point for using optical discs for storage is their durability, water resistance and the ability to withstand temperature and humidity changes.
The first release will be in the summer of 2015, starting with a 300 GB version. After that the companies will release a 500 GB version with subsequent development, and finally a 1TB version. New hardware will also be released along with the 300GB disc, and thanks to the intergeneration compatibility, the same hardware will be compatible with the 1TB version as well. Subsequent developments will involve signal processing improvements along with high linear density processing as shown by the diagram below.
Although this may seem like an amazing big leap from the current Blu-Ray discs (which offer 25GB of storage) that we have, but to put it into perspective, just think about the history of removable data storage devices. Thirty years ago, we were using floppy drives with only 750kB of storage until the early 80’s when the first compact discs offered 700MB of storage. When you think about it this way, we have certainly come a long way in terms of permanent data storage devices.
The partnership between two giant companies like Panasonic and Sony means that there will also be no format conflict. And currently, both companies are developing hardware that will popularize the use of the new Archival Storage discs. Panasonic is developing a new changer system that will allow data transfer rates of up to 216 MB/second. Sony has developed a new optical disc storage system called the XDCAM which will be able to house 12 optical discs in a compact cartridge as one storage unit.
The news may not seem that amazing compared to other technological advancements, but it provides a much needed solution to professions where storing data securely is a necessity. And while many of us have portable hard drives that can store as much data as the discs, the discs will provide a more approachable option to those of us looking to permanently store large bulks of data in one place.