Sony & Panasonic to produce next-gen 300GB disc

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Sony & Panasonic have revealed plans to produce a 300GB optical disc by the end of 2015 which could be the next generation format to follow Blu-ray Disc. The announcement described a new standard format for professional archiving of large amounts of data, but media outlets have immediately connected the partnership to the development of a disc format to hold 4k Ultra HD content.

Sony calls the optical disc a “robust medium for long-term storage of content” and predicts the format will “need to accommodate much larger volumes of storage in years to come.”

Although sales of physical discs has been on a downward trend given the growth of digital downloads and streaming content, industry analyists predict a higher demand for physical media that holds larger amounts of data. The demand can already be seen in the film and broadcast industries, as well as networking and cloud storage services.

But with the emergence of consumer-level 4k Ultra HD TVs in the home theater market, including Sony’s own 55-inch, 65-inch, and 84-inch models, studios are looking for the next format to deliver content in the higher resolution 8.3 megapixels (3840×2160 lines) that define 4k.

And, while Sony has released more than a dozen Blu-ray titles labeled “Mastered in 4k,” the only true consumer 4k content is available digitally through the company’s FMP-X1 4K Media Player that works only with Sony XBR 4k Ultra HD TVs. Among the 10 full-length feature films pre-loaded on the $699 player are The Amazing Spiderman, Battle Los Angeles, and Taxi Driver.

The most common Blu-ray format on the market holds 25GB on a single-layer, but dual-layer BDs that hold 50GB are also available. Larger capacity BDs are available in triple and quadruple layers discs with 100GB and 128GB capacity, respectively. However, those disc formats are only recordable and playable on BD-XL drives, and are not supported by typical household Blu-ray players.

One might wonder, however, if bandwidth and drive capacities will beat the new 300GB disc to the punch. By 2015, will the demand for packaged movies and TV shows finally follow in the footsteps of music CDs, and disappear from shelves?

Source: Sony, Panasonic
Via: BBC News

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