New Blu-ray Disc offers 'lifetime of storage'

The disc uses a proprietary storage layer so data doesn't go bad

A new Blu-ray Disc promises to keep data fresh long after it might have decayed on other discs.

The MDisc, developed by Utah-based Millenniata, will be available from June this year in a 25 gigabyte capacity and will join a long-lasting DVD already offered by the company.

While DVD and Blu-ray Disc are a popular archiving format for consumers, many don't realize that the discs can become unreliable overtime. The effects of lights, humidity and chemical change inside the disc structure means that the data on discs can eventually become unreadable.

"Most CDs and DVDs use an optical dye to record data, which mean the dye changes color a little bit and that change is then read back to get your data back, and that works for five years or so," said Douglas Hansen [cq], chief technology officer at Millenniata.

"Over longer periods of times it starts to become suspect and eventually will fail. We record data by actually melting and moving material around, so you get a hard mark, a bit more like having written in stone," he said.

The Millenniata discs use a proprietary storage layer to record data -- one that won't degrade over time, according to the company.

The company points to a data archiving test conducted in 2009 by the U.S. Department of Defense Naval Air Warfare Weapons Division, which included an MDisc DVD and five other archive-quality DVDs.

The test found no degradation at all on the MDisc discs versus large data degradation and errors in many of the other discs after prolonged stress testing, according to Millenniata.

For the company's DVDs, the proprietary storage layer means a higher laser power is required to burn data. LG disc burners have firmware support for this and will increase the power when an MDisc DVD is loaded. All DVD drives can read the discs.

"Our Blu-ray product, which is coming out later this year will not require a special firmware change. All of the Blu-ray burners out there should work with it and they'll be able to read it back just fine," said Hansen.

The DVD discs are currently available in the U.S. in a 10 pack for $30 and a 20 pack for $58. Pricing for the Blu-ray Discs was not announced.

Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

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