Physical media | New huge capacity DVD discs developed

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Fancy a DVD-sized disc that can store the equivalent of 220 DVDs of data? A new breakthrough has managed to do just that.

Crikey. The thinking was that when the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray format launched, it would be the last stand of physical media. After all, as much as the home entertainment industry wants to sell us an 8K television, there’s precious little point to it when the films themselves tend to be shot at nowhere near that resolution.

However, all of this wasn’t factoring in the work of researchers in China, who have developed what’s already being described as a ‘super DVD’. This is a DVD-sized disc again, that can hold far, far more data than any developed to date. In this particular case, a petabyte of data. Or, in more manageable terms, around 220,000 regular DVDs on one disc.

That should make A J Black’s physical media project, that he’s documenting on this very site, a lot more manageable.

The science behind it is explained here, but the basic version is that the scientists have been able to come up with a disc that has 100 layers of data to it. The standard DVD tends to come with two layers.

There are downsides to the breakthrough, that are going to hold the super DVD back from shop shelves for a while. It’s apparently very slow to write to for a start, and the process is energy-intensive. Furthermore, for this to become a mass product, replication has to be streamlined as well.

Yet that’s where the work is likely to head now. And with streaming services becoming ever less reliable curators and archivists of films and TV shows, the idea of a single disc effectively being a mini-streaming service in its own right is not without merit. Even for those who have long ago given up on physical media.

More, as always, as we hear it.

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