Skip to main content

The disc is dead, long live the disc: Panasonic and Sony to create next-gen optical format

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Like cassette tapes and floppy disks, there are many who believe optical discs are on their way out. As flash memory is now abundant and continuously increasing in size while decreasing in price, they’ve become an easy, quick, and efficient way to store files. Consumers have embraced digital music downloads over buying music on CDs, while DVDs could face a similar situation as more people are streaming and downloading movies; Blu-ray discs aren’t exactly flying off store shelves, either. Then you have Apple – often the bellwether in how computers will look – which is getting rid of the optical drive from its machines altogether.

Of course, whether the optical disc is dying or not depends on whom you ask. Some will point out that consumers are still buying DVDs for their movies fix, as it’s still a faster, cleaner solution to watching flicks at home. In the same argument, many will point out that limited bandwidth coupled with large file sizes are still hurdles in the entertainment experience if you want to download a movie or video game quickly to enjoy. Although that could soon change as well, one area that Sony and Panasonic sees the optical disc thriving is in the archival business, which is why the two electronics giants have announced they will jointly develop the next-generation optical disc standard that could hold at least 300GB of data. The companies hope to achieve this by the end of 2015.

Sony and Panasonic are both pioneers in optical disc technologies, and they see the format’s next evolution in the increasing need for large-capacity professional/business data storage. Citing durability, the companies say the optical disc is an ideal medium for long-term content storage. “Both Sony and Panasonic recognized that optical discs will need to accommodate much larger volumes of storage in years to come given the expected future growth in the archive market, and responded by formulating this agreement,” the companies said in a joint statement.

Sony and Panasonic will further the work they have already independently started: Sony created a file-based optical disc archive system that houses twelve optical discs within one cartridge, while Panasonic has a system that uses a 20.8mm magazine that contains 100GB optical discs. The goal, of course, is not to create a system that reads cartridges of multiple discs, but a single disc with large capacity.

Although hard disk and flash drives are getting cheaper by the day, optical discs are attractive in that they are relatively cheap and robust. But for things that demand high capacity – whether it’s archival storage, data center backups, or video production of uncompressed high-definition files, for example – today’s optical discs have limited capacities. For these pro uses, a super-high-capacity disc offers advantages, but consumers could benefit as well: data hungry content like video games and higher-definition movies will still need a viable delivery system.

Les Shu
Former Digital Trends Contributor
I am formerly a senior editor at Digital Trends. I bring with me more than a decade of tech and lifestyle journalism…
Outfit your office with new business desktops while they’re $500 off
The Dell OptiPlex Micro Form Factor at a side angle on a white background.

Some of the best desktop computer deals at the moment come, predictably, from Dell. In particular, if you're in need of new business desktops for your office, you're in luck. Today, you can buy the Dell OptiPlex Micro Form Factor for $969 saving you $520 off the regular price of $1,489. Ideally suited for business use with some excellent specs, we're here to look in more detail at what it offers while it's down to this great price. Alternatively, just tap the buy button to get straight onto buying it.

Why you should buy the Dell OptiPlex Micro Form Factor
Dell makes some of the best desktop computers out there, and that certainly extends to its business range. The Dell OptiPlex Micro Form Factor has a 13th-generation Intel Core i5 processor, along with 16GB of memory and 512GB of SSD storage. It also comes with Windows 11 Pro preinstalled and a highly capable Wi-Fi 6E wireless LAN card to ensure you won't have to worry about connection dropouts.

Read more
Best monitor deals: Gaming, office, curved, OLED and more
Dell UltraSharp 27 4K PremierColor Monitor

If you’ve recently purchased a new desktop PC, you’re going to need to get yourself a new monitor as well. Monitors are a good way to land some savings, as even the best monitors often see a discount. There’s a lot to consider when shopping for a new monitor, from resolutions to refresh rates. Screen size is also something to factor in, particularly if you’re looking for a monitor to pair with one of the best laptops. We’ve rounded up everything you need to know about how to save on a new monitor, as well as some information to help you decide which is right for you. So whether you’re looking to get a new digital window for your PC or expand your laptop’s screen real estate, these are the best monitor deals out there right now.
Dell SE2422H 24-inch monitor — $100, was $150

A simple, affordable option for getting some screen real estate onto your desk is this Dell 24-inch monitor. It’s well designed, sturdy, and compact, which makes it great for smaller desks and spaces. It comes in with Full HD resolution, a 75Hz refresh rate, and easy connectivity with an HDMI port and included HDMI cable. It also features AMD FreeSync technology, making it an affording option for gamers as well.

Read more
This HP Pavilion laptop dropped from $1,000 to $580 for a limited time
The HP Pavilion 15t-eg300 laptop against a white background.

The HP Pavilion 15t, a dependable device that's perfect for the demanding activities of work or school, is currently available from HP laptop deals with a $420 discount that pulls its price down to just $580 from $1,000 originally. This powerful machine won't stay this cheap for long though, so if you think this is what you need as your daily companion, there should be no hesitation on your purchase. If you delay the transaction to tomorrow, the laptop's price may already be back to normal.

Why you should buy the HP Pavilion 15t laptop
The HP Pavilion 15t will be able to match the performance of some of the best laptops with its 13th-generation Intel Core i7 processor and integrated Intel Iris Xe Graphics. It's also powered by 16GB of RAM, which is recommended by our laptop buying guide if you're going to be running demanding apps or engaging in any kind of content creation. The device ships with Windows 11 Home pre-loaded, for an operating system that's familiar to most people, and it comes with a 256GB SSD, which should provide ample storage space for your important files.

Read more