If you really, really need to make sure those precious photos of yours last virtually forever - or at least longer than the average two- to five-year lifespan of consumer-grade DVDs, then start-up Cranberry LLC has the answer for you: a DVD that literally lasts a millennium.
Cranberry's DiamonDisc product holds a standard 4.7GB of data, which roughly amounts to 2,000 photos, or 1,200 songs, or three hours of video, but the media is unharmed by heat as high as 176 degrees Fahrenheit, ultraviolet rays or normal material deterioration, according to the company. DiamonDiscs contain no dye layers, adhesive layers or reflective materials that could deteriorate.
While only future generations may be able to prove DiamonDisc can last 1,000 years -- never mind that DVD players will probably have been long forgotten by then -- Cranberry claims its technology has been proved by researchers using the ECMA-379 temperature and humidity testing standards to outlast the durability of competitors that claim a 300-year shelf life.
The Ferndale, Wash.-based company this week announced their product, which it says uses the same format as standard DVDs to store data. However, instead of a silver or gold reflective surface, its disc is transparent, with no reflective layer.
According to the company, unlike standard recordable DVDs, which use a 650 nanometer wavelength laser diode to etch a small pit into a disc's media surface, the DiamonDisc uses a higher-intensity laser to more deeply etch data into the "diamond-like" surface of its synthetic stone disc.
The DiamonDisc technology was invented by researchers at Brigham Young University and was first brought to market by Springville, Utah, startup Millenniata .
While Millenniata performs the R&D on the product, Cranberry does the sales and marketing. The company is in talks with the U.S. government and the military, which are looking for archival media.
"For the military, there's no heat, light, magnetic waves or environmental abuse that will have an impact on these discs," said Joe Beaulaurier, Cranberry's chief marketing officer. The company is also working on developing a Blu-ray version of their DVD product, Beaulaurier said.
Photos, videos or other content that consumers want to store can be uploaded directly to Cranberry's Web site or mailed to the company. Cranberry performs the data-write for customers on the DiamonDisc they purchase.
A single DiamonDisc costs $34.95, two or more individual discs go for $29.95, and a five-pack is $149.75. Beaulaurier said prospective customers should factor in not only the longevity of the product, but the services provided. Cranberry checks the burn of each disc to ensure the quality of the finished product.
"So [the consumer doesn't] need to monitor the burn process and make sure it took," he said. "This is also very green technology. You burn a DVD once and it eliminates costs and energy down the road." Of course, the company is also happy to sell you its burner, but that will set you back $4,995. But, for $5,000 you get 150 DiamonDiscs to burn away until to heart's content. The burner plugs into any standard USB port and uses any standard DVD burning software, Beaulaurier said.