Sony and Panasonic to develop 300GB optical disc

Two broadcast stalwarts, Sony and Panasonic announced this week that they have agreed on an objective to jointly develop a next-generation standard for professional-use optical discs, with the objective of expanding their archive business for long-term digital data storage. Both companies aim to improve their development efficiency based on the technologies held by each respective company, and will target the development of an optical disc with recording capacity of at least 300GB by the end of 2015.

Both companies have previously developed DVD products based on the Blu-ray format, but those standard DVD discs only store 4.7GB each. A single-layer Blu-ray disc can hold up to 25GB and dual-layer can hold up to 50GB of data. However, both companies recognize that optical discs need to accommodate much larger volumes of storage given the expected future growth in the archive market.

In 2012 Sony commercialized a file-based optical disc archive system based on the optical disc technology it developed for the XDCAM series of professional broadcast products. The archive houses 12 optical discs within a compact cartridge as a single, high-capacity storage solution. Each disc within the cartridge holds 25GB capacity, offering a total range of storage capacities from 300GB to 1.5TB.

In July this year, Panasonic launched its LB-DM9 series of optical disc arcjove. This deviceuses a dedicated magazine just 20.8mm thick to house twelve 100GB optical discs. A maximum of 90 magazines can be stored, providing a total storage capacity of 180TB. In addition, Panasonic adopted a newly-developed changer system together with RAID technology to offer rapid data transfer performance of up to 216MB/s.

A key driver in archive applications are the increasing demand for large video production archives and more recently from cloud data centers. Both Sony and Panasonic have a proven track record in developing Blu-ray Disc format technologies, and 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.