If you're wondering what comes next after Blu-ray, there's a good chance it could be the "Archival Disc," a new standard for professional use, next-generation optical discs that's been jointly developed by Sony and Panasonic. The objective is to expand the market for long-term digital data storage, and in the immediate future, that means 300GB write-once Archival Disc media, though that's just the beginning.
Sony and Panasonic plan to launch systems with a recording capacity of 300GB per disc in the summer of 2015. Beyond that, both companies have laid out a roadmap that calls for 500GB discs and even 1TB discs, though no time frame is given for either capacity.
What this also means is that optical media isn't on its deathbed. Though cloud storage solutions are convenient, Sony and Panasonic point out that optical discs have certain properties that protect themselves against the environment, such as dust-resistance and water-resistance, as well as the ability to withstand temperature and humidity changes when stored.
"This makes them robust media for long-term storage of content," Sony and Panasonic said. "Recognizing that optical discs will need to accommodate much larger volumes of storage going forward, particularly given the anticipated future growth in the archive market, Sony and Panasonic have been engaged in the joint development of a standard for professional-use next-generation optical discs."
Initial Archival Disc media will be double-sided discs with three layers per side.