With high definition, digital media becoming ever more prevalent, it's only a matter of time before DVDs become obsolete. When they first started appearing in 1997, the possibility of storing over eight gigabytes of data onto a single disc was almost overwhelming. Now, eight years later, the Digital Versatile Disc is painfully inadequate for the high bandwidth requirements of high definition.
Enter Blu-ray, the latest and currently highest capacity storage disc available. Introduced onto the market in early 2003, a single-layer Blu-ray disc is capable of holding up to 27 gigabytes of data, or over two hours of high definition video with audio. The discs work by using a blue-violet laser, which has a shorter wavelength than the current red lasers used in CD and DVD players, allowing for a higher level of precision when writing data.
So what makes this three year old news so exciting? Well, Panasonic have recently announced that their dual-layer, 50 GB Blu-ray discs will be available to the industry by the end of the month. That's over four hours of high definition, 1080p video with audio, or over an entire day's worth (yes, more than twenty-four hours) of standard definition television. If that's not enough for you, TDK have a prototype four-layer disc - over 100 GB of storage. Still not impressed? How about eight-layers, also in development, for a total of over 200 gigabytes of data on a single disc? This might actually be a little excessive, but a fifty gigabyte storage media has definite applications in the Home Entertainment industry, especially with the looming switch over to digital TV (and increased access to HDTV) drawing ever nearer.
Blu-ray disc players and recorders are currently available, although they haven't yet broken into the Australian market. It's only a matter of time before they arrive on our shores, however, and rest assured that when they do, we'll be here to tell you about it!