Panasonic and Sony have jointly announced a new standard for professional-use, next-generation optical discs, with the objective of expanding the market for long-term digital data storage.


The published roadmap for the development of Archival Discs. (Source: Sony.)

The new ‘Archival Disc’ standard will be launched with a minimum capacity of 300GB in 2015. Its developers have forecast a steady increase in capacity, initially to 500GB, and later up to 1TB. This will equal the capacity of popular hard disk drives but without the issues associated with a mechanical device. Specifications released so far state the discs will be double-sided  with three layers/side in Land and Groove Format. The Track pitch will be 0.225μm (micrometers) with a data bit length of 79.5nm (nanometers) and wavelength of 405 nm (nanometers) plus numerical aperture (NA) of 0.85. Error correction is based on the Reed-Solomon Code. Crosstalk cancellation technology and high-order Partial Response Maximum Likelihood (PRML) signal processing technology have been employed to achieve both larger capacity and higher playback signal quality.

We’ve been unable to discover the physical dimensions of the new discs but assume them to be the same as existing optical discs. No details have been provided on whether existing players will be able to handle them. A statement on the announcement page in Sony’s Press Centre says: Both Sony and Panasonic have successful experience working on the development of Blu-ray Discâ„¢ technology. The two companies plan to actively promote this next-generation high-capacity optical disc standard in the professional field in order to offer an effective solution for protecting valuable data into the future.