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
Tokyo, Japan – July 29, 2013 – Sony Corporation (‘Sony’) and Panasonic Corporation (‘Panasonic’) today announced that they have signed a basic agreement with the objective of jointly developing a next-generation standard for professional-use optical discs, with the objective of expanding their archive business for long-term digital data storage. Both companies aim to improve their development efficiency based on the technologies held by each respective company, and will target the development of an optical disc with recording capacity of at least 300GB by the end of 2015. Going forward, Sony and Panasonic will continue to hold discussions regarding the specifications and other items relating to the development of this new standard.
Optical discs have excellent properties to protect them against the environment, such as dust-resistance and water-resistance, and can also withstand changes in temperature and humidity when stored. They also allow inter-generational compatibility between different formats, ensuring that data can continue to be read even as formats evolve. This makes them a robust medium for long-term storage of content. Both companies have previously developed products based on the Blu-ray™ format, leveraging the strengths of optical discs. However, both Sony and Panasonic recognized that optical discs will need to accommodate much larger volumes of storage in years to come given the expected future growth in the archive market, and responded by formulating this agreement.
Sony previously commercialized a file-based optical disc archive system in September, 2012. Based on optical disc technology that Sony cultivated for its XDCAM series of professional broadcasting products, this system houses twelve optical discs within a compact cartridge as a single, high-capacity storage solution. Each disc within the cartridge holds 25GB capacity, offering a total range of storage capacities from 300GB to 1.5TB.
In July this year, Panasonic launched its ‘LB-DM9 series’ of optical disc storage devices. This series uses a dedicated magazine of just 20.8mm thickness to house twelve 100GB optical discs. A maximum of 90 magazines can be stored, providing a total storage capacity of 180TB. In addition, Panasonic adopted a newly-developed changer system together with RAID technology to offer rapid data transfer performance of up to 216MB/s, while also ensuring high reliability by protecting data from unforeseen faults.
In recent years, there has been an increasing need for archive capabilities, not only from video production industries, such as motion pictures and broadcasting, but also from cloud data centers that handle increasingly large volumes of data following the evolution in network services. Both Sony and Panasonic have a proven track record in developing Blu-ray Disc™ format technologies, and by actively promoting the adoption of a new standard for next-generation high-capacity optical discs, they intend to offer solutions that preserve valuable data for future generations.