While the ongoing collapse of Blu-ray disc sales is causing famous actor and producer Matt Damon to worry about the future of cinema (read the article: Matt Damon is worried about the end of DVD and Blu-ray), a new optical disc technology could well revive physical copies. Its advantage: the ability to offer over 1TB of storage per disc for a cost lower than any other storage. A real asset for the development of future 8K Blu-ray movies.
1TB optical discs
The future of Blu-ray could be decided in the States, where young start-up Folio Photonics has just announced a major innovation in the world of data storage: optical discs that can store up to 1TB. This is a real revolution compared to the modest 100GB capacity of current 4K Blu-ray discs. The advantages are considerable, with the possibility of storing an entire series on a single disc. Full HD, 4K and 3D versions of a movie could all be stored on one disc. This space saving would make it possible to reduce the compression of soundtracks and could finally allow viewers to enjoy Dolby Atmos or DTS:X in several languages with compatible movies. Better still, the 1TB discs could help 8K to become more widespread, as its development is currently limited by the low storage capacity of Blu-ray and the limited Internet bandwidth in many areas.
Reduced production cost
Although the technology used by Folio Photonics is currently only designed for mass storage and archiving on hard drives, it can easily be adapted for Blu-ray. However, it is still necessary for manufacturers to design Blu-ray players that are compatible with this technology. The production cost put forward by the start-up could speed things up, with a price tag that would be significantly lower than current SSDs, hard drives and archiving systems of the same capacity. Folio Photonics says each drive is expected to cost less than $5 per TB to produce, compared to an average of $25 to develop a typical 1TB hard drive. To do this, the brand uses new materials and innovative technologies, including patented polymer extrusion. Where storage discs today offer up to three optical layers per side, the upcoming Folio Photonics discs promise up to 16 layers. A number that the company plans to increase to further expand the storage capacity of a physical disc.
Possible commercialization in 2024
By 2024, the U.S. company plans to make this new technology available to businesses. The brand is expected to initially assemble 10 units to create 10TB hard drives. If Folio Photonics’ technology takes off, it could become the next standard and will hopefully finally democratize Ultra High Definition with future 8K UHD Blu-rays.