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Data Storage Media Sony Hardware

30 Blu-ray Discs In a 1.5TB MiniDisc-Like Cassette 247

MrSeb writes "Hot on the heels of the most successful storage mediums of all time — MiniDisc and Zip disks — Sony has announced the Optical Disc Archive, a system that seems to cram up to 30 Blu-ray discs into a single, one-inch-thick plastic cassette, which will have a capacity of between 300GB and 1.5TB. As far as I can tell, the main selling point of the Optical Disc Archive is, just like MiniDisc, the ruggedness of the cassettes. Optical discs themselves are fairly resistant to changes in temperature and humidity, and the cassettes are dust and water resistant. What is the use case for these 1.5TB MiniDiscs, though? In terms of pure storage capacity, tape drives are still far superior (you can store up to 5TB on a tape!) In terms of speed and flexibility, hard drives are better. If you're looking for ruggedness, flash-based storage is smaller, lighter, and can easily survive a dip in the ocean. The Optical Disc Archive might be good as extensible storage for TV PVRs, like TiVo and Sky+ — but as yet, we don't even know the cost of the system or the cassettes, and I doubt either will be cheap."
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30 Blu-ray Discs In a 1.5TB MiniDisc-Like Cassette

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  • by slaker ( 53818 ) on Monday April 16, 2012 @03:59PM (#39703365)

    I think this is just Sony trying once again to replicate its success with the Compact Disc format. It has a long history of making new formats, just to see if they'll catch on. I'm sure it's quite lucrative if one does, but the other aspect of that is the proliferation of bizarre Sony formats that aren't even supported by Sony after some production period. How many versions of the Memory Stick did Sony wind up making? Six? Seven?

    Anyway, this is just more of that and I'm sure it will fail and be forgotten soon enough.

  • by vlm ( 69642 ) on Monday April 16, 2012 @04:05PM (#39703461)

    From TFA:

    "Unless Sony can get other companies to make and sell ODA drives, though, it will probably just go the way of the MiniDisc."

    Hugely popular in Asia?

    This is true. Got rid of my father's minidisc hardware and discs, all to .jp and local asian sounding names. Crazy popular little things over there, locally no one wants them.

    Somehow, I was never quite certain how, their encoding and/or internal design was so much more energy efficient than early mp3 players, that you'd get like 4 times the playtime, despite the storage technology being a rotating disk.

  • Re:Sony? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BStroms ( 1875462 ) on Monday April 16, 2012 @04:34PM (#39703803)

    Sure, Sony has done plenty to legitimately earn the scorn of its customers. Still, I myself am one of those who would readily spend money for the right Sony product. I've bought exactly four pieces of hardware from Sony. The PS1, PS2, PS3, and PSP. I don't regret any of those purchases, and I fully expect to buy the PS4 when it comes out. I'll probably get the PS Vita eventually as well.

    There are two reasons I won't shy away from those purchases. First, I can hardly imagine a feasible scenario where I would withhold money from a company as punishment for a past action. Perhaps in protest an ongoing action such as "I won't buy anything from this company until they stop donating money to terrorist organization X every month." Other than that, I'll take how trustworthy I consider a company into consideration, but ultimately choose the option that provides me the greatest benefit.

    There are games exclusive to Sony's system that more than justify buying those gaming consoles in my eyes. It doesn't hurt that I don't believe I've ever actually been harmed by any of Sony's actions, which makes it easier to take a logical rather than emotional approach.

    The second reason I'll buy from them is that, whatever laws are in place, I don't consider a corporation a person. Kaz Hirai became the new President and CEO of Sony two weeks ago. What kind of turnover have other executives had? Who was actually responsible for the decisions you loathe, and how many of them even still work for Sony?

  • by langelgjm ( 860756 ) on Monday April 16, 2012 @05:03PM (#39704133) Journal

    Back before USB flash drives were widely and cheaply available, the only way to easily move around more than a few floppy's worth of data was the Zip drive.

    100 MB was a lot back then. Even though the drive itself was not ubiquitous, the parallel port model could be easily transported, and it was supported on multiple operating systems. Macs were supported with SCSI. In some institutional environments, you'd find internal IDE zip drives. My local library branch had computers with internal drives, and for a few years it was the primary way I was able to download anything more than about 20 MB off the internet (hi-speed internet unavailable at home).

    CD writers were expensive (my original 2X writer was $300), and came with all the problems of read-only media. Of course Zip had its problems - the drive itself wasn't very cheap, nor the disks, and of course there was the click of death... but all in all, it was IMO the most versatile portable storage medium we had between floppy disks and USB flash drives. Lugging around an IDE drive and opening up whatever you wanted to attach it to wasn't always an option :-)

  • Re:Sony? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Dogtanian ( 588974 ) on Monday April 16, 2012 @05:33PM (#39704443) Homepage

    I am willing to give them a new chance now that they're rid of Howard Stringer and are restructuring.

    Bear in mind that Stringer became CEO in 2005, and from what I understand Sony's perceived decline (in Slashdotters' view) began during the 1990s, so I doubt he's solely to blame.

    Also bear in mind that- as others pointed out in the recent Sony jobs cut thread- the bits of Sony where the "evil" is occurring are actually doing quite well [slashdot.org] so this is "not Sony getting what _should_ be coming to them".

    Sorry, but this is another example of Slashdotters' tunnel vision, forgetting that though such issues might matter to them, they're a much smaller and less influential (if somewhat atypical) part of the market than they'd like to think, and the great unwashed in general really do not give a toss about rootkit CDs, the loss of Linux on the PS3, and other such behaviours- even if they ought to.

  • Re:Sony? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by thetoadwarrior ( 1268702 ) on Monday April 16, 2012 @05:34PM (#39704453) Homepage
    You don't even know what you're talking about. Sony was not the only seller of minidisc players and media. It was an excellent format that is still around. The walkman was only discontinued in 2011. That's almost 20 years for MD walkmans and it had no pre-recorded media so I'm certainly not the only one that was buying them.

    JVC, Sharp, Pioneer, Panasonic all made MD players. They were all easy to find in the UK too. Apparently they weren't too popular in the US but I guess that just goes to show that people valued Sony's brand more. That's not their fault or a bad thing (for them).

    Aside from Betamax and their memory sticks (which should have died straight away) they don't actually have that many proprietary formats. CDs, blu-ray, DVD, and blu-ray have all been developed with at least Phillips. Along with the hardware, minidisc software produced by numerous companies and the the PS3 uses standard hard drives and USB connections unlike the 360 with its over priced proprietary drives.

    Sony has done some stupid things, like every other company but people still talk about shit that's not even that true and the fact people still seem to be so butt-hurt over memory sticks just goes to show there isn't actually that many instances of closed formats to complain about.
  • Re:Zip discs (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mlts ( 1038732 ) * on Monday April 16, 2012 @06:00PM (#39704765)

    Sounds crazy, but ZIP disks offered two other advantages:

    1: The ability to be set read-only with a password. This was useful back in the day if one wanted a FTP server that an intruder couldn't trash the distributed files on, especially if a SCSI ZIP drive was used which had decent performance at the time.

    2: The ability to use a password for protecting data which was hardware enforced. The ZIP 100 was bypassable by the hardware sleep trick, but the ZIP 250 and 750 were not, so other than LEOs with drives which ignored that bit, it was a pretty secure mechanism, especially when combined with a backup utility that did encryption.

    ZIP drives were useful... of course, their time is since long gone since a USB flash drive is far more reliable and cheaper for small capacities.

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