Blu-ray discs might have thought it had won the format wars when HD-DVD conceded the fight in 2008 but little did it know that was only a battle in a larger war for the survival of optical discs. Optical media’s less obvious opponent? Streaming. The durability of optical media has often been criticized – prone to scratches and breaking, the media can also lose data in extreme temperatures or over time. In addition, it’s a physical media so it requires further transport instead of the “almighty cloud” that benefits streaming. Optical media is receiving reinforcements that will certainly help the war effort from a startup company called Millenniata and its new product, the M-Disc.
The M-DISC is the first ever permanent file backup disc that lasts forever. Unlike computer hard-drives and optical discs (CD and DVD) that suffer from decay, destroying the files you were trying to preserve and protect, the M-DISC cannot be overwritten, erased, or corrupted by natural processes. Best of all, you can access your data anywhere and anytime. It is the new standard in digital storage.
Millenniata, as ComputerWorld reports, is planning to release its new optical media soon. The beauty of the product is its durability but the consumer-friendly point is that its still producing DVDs. M-Discs are compatible with current DVD players, only burners require special hardware. The new M-Disc does have its drawbacks though, write speed is currently limited to 4x and the discs are more expensive than regular DVDs – whether that’s due to the mystery material (obsidian rock-like material) used in their production or just the current market demand. These trade-offs are made in exchange for the discs’ durability. Watch this quick video (laughably using the Inception soundtrack…) as a few discs get tortured:
In addition to being slammed against a cutting board, the Department of Defense has tested the M-Disc with good results.
In 2009, the Defense Department’s Naval Air Warfare Weapon’s Division facility at China Lake, Calif. was interested in digitizing and permanently storing information. So it tested Millenniata’s M-Disc against five other optical disc vendors: Delkin Devices, Mitsubishi, JVC, Verbatim and MAM-A.
“None of the Millenniata media suffered any data degradation at all. Every other brand tested showed large increases in data errors after the stress period. Many of the discs were so damaged that they could not be recognized as DVDs by the disc analyzer,” the department’s report states.
DVDs at 4x are the current plans for now but work is being done to get the burning process up to the DVD norm of 8x and Blu-ray versions are planned for future iterations.
Millenniata partnered with Hitachi-LG Data Storage to provide M-Ready technology in most of its DVD and Blu-ray drives. Shumway said the products will begin shipping next month and should be in stores in the beginning of October.
Look for the M-Disc in October. Would you like to see this used for movies, software, and video games? Would you be willing to pay an extra cost in order to have longer lasting optical media with your purchases in addition to it being used for archiving files?