Optical disc

Is Blu-ray on the brink of death? Innovative 1TB optical drive could be the future of physical media

Ohio-based start-up Folio Photonics has announced new innovations in the world of data storage, promising to pave the way for affordable optical drives that can store up to 1TB per drive.

By comparison, a 4K Blu-ray disc can store up to 100 GB, while a theoretical 8K Blu-ray disc that doesn’t even exist yet should hold 200 GB or 250 GB. Folio plans to release 10 TB containing 1TB disks in 2024.

Moreover, this is not developed with the intention of creating a high-capacity, ultra-expensive storage format that only the largest companies in the world with the most pressing data storage needs can afford. Currently, a 1TB hard drive costs around $25, while Folio development should cost less than $5 per TB.

How exactly does Folio manage to massively increase capacity and simultaneously reduce costs, you ask? Of course, the secret sauce is, well, secret — and now inevitably patented. But Folio says it has made breakthroughs in optical disc layering, being able to create discs with eight or even sixteen discrete layers. This contrasts with today’s traditional three-layer optical discs.

Discs have been cheap for a long time, and we’ve relied on them heavily for a long time, but increasing disc limitation in today’s media-hungry world has become a capability. Typically, for mainstream media, we’re limited to 4K Blu-rays with 100GB of storage, and those are pricey enough already. 8K Blu-ray may never be a thing, and even if it is, it will be expensive and limited to around 250GB max.

If Folio can really create high capacity, low cost discs, it could be a true successor to Blu-ray and the saving grace of physical media which right now is being phased out as storage needs cease. to increase. Of course, enterprise data archive storage technology is not the same as a Blu-ray disc. However, if Folio’s new drive is as high capacity and as affordable as the company claims at launch, and if it box If used effectively for consumer media, it could breathe new life into physical media, becoming perhaps the best and latest storage format of our time.

According to Folio, 1TB per disc is not even the ceiling for this new optical disc technology either. Further developments will be carried out in order to allow even After layers per disc to further increase storage capacity. Theoretically, then, we could see drives with multiple terabytes of storage materialize in the next few years.

Folio won’t ship this technology until 2024, and if all goes according to plan, it will initially be aimed at the enterprise storage market. Don’t expect it to hit store shelves and revolutionize mainstream physical media anytime soon, but be sure to keep an eye out for it. Because that might just be the future.


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