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Sony, Panasonic Developing 300GB+ Optical Disc Standard

On Monday Sony announced that it has agreed to work with Panasonic in developing a next-generation standard for an optical disc with at least 300 GB of storage by 2015.

The agreement arrives after both companies, who previously developed products based on the Blu-ray format, realized that optical discs will need larger capacities in years to come, especially as growth in the archive market continues to accelerate. Yet, why continue to use optical discs? Hard drives and solid-state drives have plenty of storage capacity, right? They're not long-term solutions.

"Optical disks 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," the companies said in a statement. "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."

This standard will be based on technologies each developed separately, Sony said. Just last year, Sony commercialized a file-based archive system in its XDCAM series of professional broadcasting products which housed twelve 25 GB optical discs within a single, compact cartridge. In July, Panasonic launched the LB-DM9 series of optical disc storage devices which uses a magazine of twelve 100 GB optical discs. A maximum of 90 magazines can be stored in the LB-DM9, totaling 108 TB (the announcement claims 180 TB).

"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," Sony said. "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."

Sony and Panasonic will continue to hold discussions regarding the specifications and other items relating to the development of this new standard, the company said.