The optical disc ain’t dead yet.
Even though we’re in the midst of a streaming media revolution, Sony and Panasonic just can’t let go of physical media. Today the two companies announced plans to develop another optical disc format with at least 300 gigabytes of storage by the end of 2015, significantly more space than Blu-ray, the current high-end disc.
Dual-layer Blu-rays currently top out at around 50 gigabytes (every layer of storage is around 25 GB). Newer BDXL discs can reach 100GB and 128GB, but they aren’t compatible with existing players (and they’re not a significant enough bump to warrant upgrades for most).
When it comes to movies and video games, Blu-ray has proven to be a worthy successor of the mega-popular DVD, which only held around 9GB of data (dual-layered). But as Hollywood looks at new media formats like 4K, there will soon be a need for much more storage.
The biggest threat for the new unnamed disc format isn’t its predecessor, though — it’s streaming media. Netflix’s streaming service has helped to popularize the notion of on-demand high-definition content, while services like Vudu offer even higher quality versions of films for the true quality freak. With newer streaming video codecs, as well as faster Internet service in developing countries, streaming massive 4K resolution films could soon be viable.