A growing number of laptop computers are shipping without CD, DVD, or Blu-ray drives, but the optical disc drive may have some life left in it. Sony and Panasonic have announced a new platform they call “Archival Disc” which is designed for long-term storage of large amounts of data.
Double-sided Archival Discs will be able to store from 300GB to 1TB of data and the first ones could ship next summer.
Starting in the summer of 2015 we could see discs that can store up to 300GB of data. Sony and Panasonic’s roadmap suggests those will be followed by 500GB discs and essentially optical discs that can store up to a terabyte of data.
To put that in perspective, a typical dual-layer Blu-ray disc can hold 50GB of data, while a single-layer version has room for up to 25GB. Single-layered DVDs hold up to 4.7GB, while dual-layer versions can handle 8.5GB of storage.
In other words, you could fit an awful lot of high-definition movies on a single Archival Disc. But as the name suggests, the new disc format isn’t necessarily aimed at the consumer video market. Sony and Panasonic say the next-generation optical discs are designed for professional use and will provide a dust-resistant, water-resistant form of long-term storage for things you don’t need to keep on a hard drive (or data you want to back up).
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about next-gen optical disc technology. TDK has been showing off 1TB discs for years. But Sony and Panasonic are actually hoping to deliver their technology soon.