As Sony (in partnership with Tohoku University) this week announced plans to release the new wave of laser technology to eventually supersede the (relatively) new Blu-Ray format, we are reminded of the transient nature of digital media.
As each new format of disc based storage media arrives (CD, DVD, Blu-Ray), we are greeted with the hope that we have finally arrived. We hope that the new format is the ultimate medium we’ve been longing for, able to store infinitely more, provide more interactivity, last longer, play faster etc etc. The reality is that this will never be the case.
The new blu-violet semi conductor based medium laser technology is a significant advancement over that used in Blu-Ray and allows for over 25 times the storage capacity of any standard Blu-Ray disc.
Current Blu-Ray provides for single layer (25Gb) and dual layer (50Gb) versions, plenty for full HD playback of any current game or feature film with uncompressed audio soundtrack and extras. Whist clear plans have not been released for the implementation of the media for consumers, the potential benefits are obvious.
1. Release of multiple titles on a single disc. In recent times, one of the greatest trends has been that of convenience (ipods are a classic example). Surely consumers will embrace combining multiple titles per disc, for example combining an entire TV series or multiple titles of a genre onto one disc.
2. Increased complexity for games. Although in many cases current BD titles aren’t taking full advantage of disc capacity, there is always a hunger for better graphics and the new format will provide almost limitless possibilities for game creators.
3. Storage capacity. With hard drive capacities increasing rapidly over the years, disc based storage has been left in the dust due to its limited capacity. The new 1Tb discs will put the format back in the game.
4. Size. While again, the format hasn’t been finalized by any means, Sony has already suggested that the new format may be particularly useful in reducing the size of players due to a significantly smaller light source. This may mean a new found competition in the areas of portable media devices.
It’s still early days for the new technology with even Blu-Ray still in its infancy. One thing’s for sure though, we’ll never see an end to the possibilities that digital media has in store for us in the future.