300GB Optical Discs

Sony and Panasonic recently announced an agreement to jointly develop standards for a next-generation optical disc that has the capacity to hold more than 300 gigabytes of data (six times the capacity of current Blu-ray Discs) by the end of 2015. According to the two companies, the 300 GB discs are geared toward the archival storage market. Is this project the next-generation of Blu-ray? Or is it the consumer electronics industry’s answer to being ahead of the 4K curve? See below for an analysis.
In the joint release issued by both companies, each included reference to the other’s cartridge-based storage solutions that are currently in the market (Panasonic’s Data Archiver LB-DM9 series and Sony’s Optical Disc Archive system). These systems employ multiple recordable optical discs encased in a protective cartridge (beyond this similarity, however, the systems and their media are completely different).
As an associate of mine commented: “(These cartridge-based systems) may have a fairly tough time in the enterprise market though, as it seems to be more of a packaging trick than anything really new — proprietary cartridges and the like can be a tough sell.”
The companies make the point pretty clearly that this announcement is about a single disc solution that ups the capacity of recordable optical discs. It will be interesting to see what mix of layers, lasers and the like will be required to make that magic. Since multiple layers at Blu-ray Disc wavelengths are already in current specifications, the implication is that this new format will be a departure from BD as we know it.

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