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Sony announces next-gen 'Archival Disc' format

New CDs capable of storing up to 1TB of data, launching Summer 2015

Sony has announced its 'next-generation' optical disc, which it says will be capable of storing up to 1TB of data.

It has named the format 'Archival Disc', and it's the result of a joint effort between Sony and Panasonic described as a "professional-use next-generation optical disc standard" designed specifically "for long-term digital data storage".

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The earliest versions of the next-generation format, planned for launch in summer 2015, will carry a capacity of 300GB - six times more than the current-generation Blu-Ray capacity of 50GB.

But Sony says that both firms will "leverage their respective technologies" to increase that capacity over time, first to 500GB and then up to 1TB, which equates to around 1024GB - or more than 20 times the capacity of the current dual-layer Blu-Rays used for HD movies along with PS3, PS4 and Xbox One games.

"Optical discs have excellent properties to protect themselves against the environment, such as dust-resistance and water-resistance, and can also withstand changes in temperature and humidity when stored. They also allow inter-generational compatibility between different formats, ensuring that data can continue to be read even as formats evolve. This makes them robust media for long-term storage of content," said Sony.

"[Panasonic and Sony] 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," it added.

While the announcement offers a good insight into the future of physical digital storage, the firm makes no mention of plans for commercial use.

The PS4 is the first new PlayStation to use the same generation of optical disc format as its predecessor, Blu-Ray.

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