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Data Storage Technology

New DVDs For 1,000-Year Digital Storage 274

Posted by kdawson
from the you-must-remember-this dept.
anonymous cowpie sends word of a Utah startup that is about to introduce technology for writing DVDs that can be read for 1,000 years after being stored at room temperature. (Ordinary DVDs last anywhere from 3 to 12 years, on average.) The company, Millenniata, is said to be in the final stages of negotiation with Phillips over patent licensing and plans to begin manufacture in September. 1,000-year "M-ARC Discs" are expected to retail for $25-$30 at first, with the price coming down with volume. "Dubbed the Millennial Disk, it looks virtually identical to a regular DVD, but it's special. Layers of hard, 'persistent' materials (the exact composition is a trade secret) are laid down on a plastic carrier, and digital information is literally carved in with an enhanced laser using the company's Millennial Writer, a sort of beefed-up DVD burner. Once cut, the disk can be read by an ordinary DVD reader on your computer."
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New DVDs For 1,000-Year Digital Storage

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  • by AHuxley (892839) on Friday July 17, 2009 @09:01AM (#28728421) Homepage Journal
    A lifetime estimation study would be done.
    Extended incubation tests, at ~ 80ÂC, 85%RH ect.
    Accelerated ageing should give the user some idea, not that many of us will get to ask for a 'return' for faulty goods.
  • Disc Lifespan (Score:5, Informative)

    by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@gmFREEBSDail.com minus bsd> on Friday July 17, 2009 @09:08AM (#28728487) Journal

    (Ordinary DVDs last anywhere from 3 to 12 years, on average.)

    For those of you really concerned about optical media in your possession, check out NIST's "Care and Handling of CDs and DVDs - A Guide for Librarians and Archivists" [nist.gov] [1.24 MB PDF warning]. That guide is extremely thorough.

    While it is a longer span for pressed DVDs, I'm sure the RIAA/MPAA know that the media we purchase songs and movies on has a limited lifespan that may very well be shorter than the consumer's remaining years. And it kind of upsets me that creating backups for your own personal use of DVDs or CDs is illegal (although not typically prosecuted unless copyright infringement ensues). Personally, I rip all my CDs and some DVDs upon purchase and simply never use the disc again. It goes into storage and I create digital backups and hard copy backups of the discs. It's a bit pricier and not as instant as other ways of purchasing media but it ensures I'll always have it. When I purchased the latest Cloud Cult album, I bought the CDs and was able to download unencrypted MP3s immediately after purchase. When I purchased the vinyl record of She & Him, I was e-mailed a voucher to download the MP3s. I wish the big distributors would follow what the little guys are doing and offer you the whole package up front. Saves me a lot of work.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 17, 2009 @09:09AM (#28728499)

    "...are laid down on a PLASTIC carrier,..."

    Keyword for failure: plastic.

  • by slo5oh (1375437) on Friday July 17, 2009 @09:10AM (#28728525)
    If this is true then shouldn't new movies come with a date stamp on the case so you know you're buying a "fresh" copy? Sounds strange to me. I've got data and music CD's I made over 10 years ago that still work. Can't say I've been burning DVDs that long though.
  • Only 7-12 years (Score:3, Informative)

    by elrous0 (869638) * on Friday July 17, 2009 @09:14AM (#28728571)
    I have DVD's in my collection now older than 12 years old and they work fine. Maybe they mean recordable discs?
  • Re:Disc Lifespan (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 17, 2009 @09:16AM (#28728585)

    Maybe the fact that software made specifically to back up your movies has been banned and ordered to shut down (I don't remember what the software program was called but it was a big deal at the time). And maybe the fact that simply "copying" your content usually means it won't be playable. For instance, if you want to backup your DVDs you are going to need to use the DSCC code or a variation on it. Which has been classified as a crime (circumventing copy protection). As for videogames... well, it's not always the easiest thign to just copy your XBOX or PC game and start using the backup copy.

    This is part of why I don't understand people who "collect" videogames. Or more, who buy "collectors editions" of videogames. Why!? Your game media is going to be dead and unusuable in as little as 3 years...

  • by bheer (633842) <rbheer&gmail,com> on Friday July 17, 2009 @09:21AM (#28728651)

    That's a quote from Idiocracy, not flamebait.

  • Re:Sure. 1000 years. (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 17, 2009 @09:27AM (#28728729)

    and if you're wrong and we don't archive stuff for them?

    No real harm in doing it. Just sayin' ...

  • Re:Only 7-12 years (Score:2, Informative)

    by jgardner100 (559892) on Friday July 17, 2009 @09:33AM (#28728789) Homepage
    I have 13 year old recordable cd's in my collection (I can date them based on the birth of my daughter) and dvds that aren't that much younger. The article doesn't specify where is got that time scale from so I have to put it down to they made it up.
  • Re:Sure. 1000 years. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Ihlosi (895663) on Friday July 17, 2009 @09:33AM (#28728805)

    1. a player to play the damn thing

    Just stick it in the molecular scanner. This is 1000 years into the future, isn't it?

    2. the resources to build a player to play the damn thing.

    3. a screen to view it on
    4. the resources to build a screen to view it on

    Oh, you want to full old-school experience? I'm sure you can replicate a player, then. Or incorporate the molecular scan from 1. in a holodeck program that simulates a player and a screen.

    5. the cultural interest in such behaviour (sitting and watching a screen)

    Maybe you're interested in ancient history? Or maybe that's several orders of magnitude more exciting than what people usually do in their spare time 1000 years from now?

  • Re:players? (Score:4, Informative)

    by RDW (41497) on Friday July 17, 2009 @09:42AM (#28728915)

    'As if DVD players will be around for 1000 years?'

    Or even 20 years:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2002/mar/03/research.elearning [guardian.co.uk]

    The situation won't be as extreme as it was with this proprietary system, of course (the number of number of DVD readers in circulation is very large, and the software that interacts with them is well documented), but in the long run the only thing that really makes sense is to make multiple copies that are shifted to new storage media as they become available.

  • Re:Sure. 1000 years. (Score:5, Informative)

    by jeffb (2.718) (1189693) on Friday July 17, 2009 @09:47AM (#28729007)

    8. Reverse engineering NTSC (SD or HD - just getting 29.97fps with rectangular pixels is fucked up enough) from a disc filled with microscopic pits strikes me as impossible and or pointless.

    If Things Fall Apart, it'll be impossible and pointless, because people probably won't even be able to discern that there are pits. A DVD will just be another piece of godtrash, desirable because it makes pretty rainbows, but with only legends about its function.

    If This Goes On, it'll be trivial, whether or not players still exist. I'm pretty sure that with a consumer digicam, ImageJ, a simple audio package and some ambition, I could recover an Edison cylinder recording without any sort of physical "player"; doing the same for a vinyl disc would be a stretch at present, but probably not ten years from now. A physical artifact with gross topographic features (as opposed to subtle patterns of charge or spin) just won't be able to retain that much mystery. The software it represents can be a bit more mysterious, but I don't think the ability to analyze a digital video stream is likely to be lost unless we lose most everything else.

    Of course, if the RIAA and its minions come up with truly strong encryption and DRM, information could be lost irretrievably. But gods have always had demons to contend with.

  • Re:Sure. 1000 years. (Score:3, Informative)

    by HertzaHaeon (1164143) on Friday July 17, 2009 @09:59AM (#28729159) Homepage

    We have archeologists who dig up the most mundane objects from more than 1000 years ago and make a big deal out of it. I'm sure the guy who wrote his diary on stone tablets back in the day didn't worry about us being interested in his day, or having a way to read it. And yet we do.

    As for your other predictions of the future, I'm sure they have about the same level of accuracy as that of a man living 1000 years ago.

  • Re:Sure. 1000 years. (Score:3, Informative)

    by xigxag (167441) on Friday July 17, 2009 @10:12AM (#28729363)

    The point of a "thousand year DVD" is not to archive something for literally one thousand years. Very few if any companies would have any possible business need for such a thing. The point is that if you have a 'large enough' number of DVDs with a 50 year MTTF, some of them will fail well within the time frame that they might be called into use, whereas a 1,000 year DVD is much less likely to have a catastrophic failure within its useful lifespan. Theoretically.

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