There is no doubt that data storage has been one of man’s most sought after and applied techniques for remembering and passing along learned information; it dates back to the beginning of time. Many agree that ancient cave paintings were a way to store and transmit information. And still today, we continue to search for new ways to harness and hold everything we can in faster, larger capacity and more efficient formats such as the Blu-ray Disc, the big brother of the DVD.
The ancient Egyptians used hieroglyphs as a formal script on stone monuments and in tombs to archive important events. Fast-forward to the 1950s, the time when data storage on the computer started becoming more significant. IBM was able to eliminate the low-volume-storing punch cards of the day and switch to magnetic tape, which was able to store as much as 10,000 of the cards on a single role.
And although there were a number of types of data storage devices to come to the masses, (the cassette tape, the floppy disk, and most notably the hard drive) it wasn’t until the appearance of compact discs and their successor, the DVD, when consumers and businesses really began storing large amounts of data on removable media cheaply and conveniently.
So it’s only fitting that in the 21st century man’s insatiable quest to save and store data has moved to a much larger scale. You may associate Blu-ray with high-definition video, but a Blu-ray Disc is much more than that. Jointly developed by some of the leading consumer electronics, personal computer, and media manufactures known as the Blu-ray Disc Association, a single-layer Blu-ray Disc has a capacity of 25GB, and a dual-layer disc can hold up to 50GB, compared to a dual-layer DVD, which holds less than 20GB of data. Electronics maker Pioneer has announced it has developed a way to increase Blu-ray Disc capacity by adding multiple layers for a total data storage capacity of 500GB.
If that’s not reason enough to incorporate a Blu-ray Disc drive into your current hardware, here are a few more things to consider when selecting your next-generation storage solution:
- Popularity: With some of the world’s largest electronic, media, and computer companies backing the format, including Apple, Dell, Hitachi, Hewlett-Packard, Mitsubishi, Panasonic, Phillips, Samsung, Sharp, and Sony, it’s safe to assume that Blu-ray hardware will be incorporated into the products you buy as the format gains in popularity and matures.
- Capacity: Not only does a Blu-ray Disc hold the crown for data storage capabilities, the technology behind its namesake, a blue-violet laser, allows it to focus with greater precision, giving it the ability to read tightly packaged data in a smaller space. And companies such as Pioneer are able to experiment and “layer” the disc for extreme data storing capabilities because the laser’s wavelength is shorter.
- Backward-compatibility: Allowing input generated by older devices has always been an issue with every new medium that has surfaced over the years. However, because of Blu-ray’s industry-wide backing, many of the world’s leading electronic manufacturers have already begun releasing optical head players that are read/write CD, DVD, and Blu-ray Disc compatible, so you don’t have to worry about choosing one or the other.
- Software: Software companies have begun cranking out all kinds of burning tools to store and create Blu-ray Discs. Roxio Toast 10 for Mac users allows you to store your data on Blu-ray and allows you to convert standard DVDs to high-definition discs for optimal playback. PC users can grab a copy of Nero 9 with the same easy-to-use features.