Sony and Panasonic have unveiled a new optical disc format designed to replace the Blu-Ray format, don’t expect to see a format war – the Archival Disc isn’t going to be aimed at consumers.
It seems like only a handful of years ago that we were watching Blu-Ray and HD DVD duke it out for a place in consumer hearts. Remember? Blu-Ray had high capacity discs and wider support thanks to its inclusion in the PS3 and HD DVD had… umm… well… a lot of spirit and a can-do attitude. In the end, Blu-Ray, like VHS and DVD before it, won the day.
With the new format, we’re unlikely to see the same sort of scrap – as Sony and Panasonic seem to have hoisted the white flag before the game has even begin, recognising that the for consumers, in the age of Netflix that optical discs are obsolete.
Archival Discs will instead be aimed at long-term back-up storage – which makes sense given a recent announcement by Facebook that they’re building a huge rig of Blu-Ray discs to do just that. Though AD will improve on BR by apparently promising 300GB of storage instead of just 100GB. This figure could eventually increase to as high as 1TB per disc – once multi-layering and data density has been improved.
In a joint statement, the companies said:
“Optical discs have excellent properties to protect themselves 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 robust media for long-term storage of content. Recognizing that optical discs will need to accommodate much larger volumes of storage going forward, particularly given the anticipated future growth in the archive market, Sony and Panasonic have been engaged in the joint development of a standard for professional-use next-generation optical discs.”
I presume with regard to dust and water resistance they’re assuming users will put the discs back in the correct boxes and not just leave them upturned on the coffee table.
At this point there’s no indication as to when Archival Discs will become available – but chances are you’ll be watching everything via web streaming by this point anyway.