Sony and Panasonic have announced that they're developing a new 300GB optical disc format to be launched by the end of 2015.
Sony and Panasonic, the joint originators of the current Blu-ray disc format, have revealed that they're working on a high-capactiy optical disc follow-up.
In a joint statement, the two companies revealed an agreement to develop "a next-generation standard for professional-use optical discs" with a recording capacity of at least 300GB. The new format will be ready by the end of 2015.
The two tech giants claim that this as-yet-unnamed new format is intended for professional archiving usage. They say that optical discs are still the preferred format for long term data storage owing to their dust and water resistant properties, as well as their "inter-generational compatibility."
However, it's easy to see this new standard finding its way into general consumer usage thanks to a standard that's already on the market, albeit in limited fashion: 4K.
Blu-ray discs currently hold a maximum of 50GB of data. The first 4K or UHD film available to buy - a documentary called Timescapes - takes up 160GB of data. Considering this film is just 52 minutes in length, the unsuitability of current dual-layer Blu-ray format to carry 4K content is clear.
Even BDXL quad-layer Blu-rays, which can hold as much as 128GB of data, would be unable to hold a full-length 4K feature film - not to mention its attendant bonus material.
It's perhaps no coincidence that both Sony and Panasonic have revealed large, expensive 4K UHD TV sets in 2013. It's in both companies' interest to develop a viable format to carry 4K content to consumers if it's to sell the Ultra High Definition format as the future of home entertainment.
Next read our Sony BDP-S3100 budget Blu-ray player review.