Sony and Panasonic have introduced a new variant of optical disc that they refer to as the Archival Disc, it boasts a capacity of 300 GB as opposed to the rather small 4.7 GB of a standard DVD. They are described as being an “effective solution for protecting valuable data into the future”.
The new Archival Discs will become available in 2015 and will make use of a triple-layer, double-sided configuration, with the same laser wavelength as Blu-rays at 405 nm. As their name suggests, the discs are designed for long term storage with water and dust resistant properties, along with the ability to withstand significant changes in temperature and humidity. In addition, the Archival Disc will have “inter-generational compatibility between different formats”.
Through the use of inter symbol interface cancelation technology and multi-level recording technology, Sony and Panasonic intend to be able to increase the capacity of the discs to 500 GB and 1 TB.
I must say, I would be most interested in such a storage solution, I continue to burn data to discs. This is because I’d rather not lump my files all onto external hard drives, purely because hard drives fail and it’s not a good idea to keep one collecting dust somewhere. The versatility of Discs and the ease of usage makes them a very attractive prospect, however, I have to wonder if the discs will be compatible with existing DVD-ROM drives. Will we be able to burn these discs using current technology or will a new Archival Disc-specific drive be required? Time will tell.