JULY 30, 2013 • Sony Corp. and Panasonic Corp., who were primary partners in developing the Blu-ray optical discs, have come forward to announce that they are working together on a higher capacity format. The goal is the developing a new optical disc with a capacity of no less than 300GB by 2015. Current Blu-ray capacities are 25GB (single layer), 50GB (dual layer), 100GB (triple layer), and 128GB (quad layer). Both companies are framing the new format as a next-generation standard for professional-use optical discs where secure long-term storage at higher capacities will be desired. For now, neither Sony or Panasonic is referencing the consumer market but instead are looking at enterprises that will need to accommodate much larger volumes of storage in the future given the expected growth in the data archive market.
Impact: Cloud storage and digital distribution are all the rage, yet we believe Sony and Panasonic are showing admirable prudence. Digital bloat is a reality that is not going away. Unfortunately, we question how well broadband providers, especially in the United States, will be able to keep up. The major service providers are already whining about how much capacity is now devoted to Netflix streaming. What happens when television screen resolution makes another leap down the road? Microsoft is spending a fortune on securing adequate servers to meet expected demand for the upcoming Xbox One’s cloud-assisted titles. Can Internet providers really handle all of the cloud services sprouting up should they get popular? Those of us who remember 4MB Sega Genesis carts never really fathomed a day when a 25GB Blu-ray disc would be necessary to publish games. That’s why we tend to think a 300GB disc format isn’t that much of a stretch. Sony and Panasonic may not be talking up this Blu-ray replacement in a console, or even a home video context, but it is nice to have options should the cloud not be the panacea so many are touting it to be.