How Long Will Blu-ray Discs Be Around?
When it comes to archiving important files and information, it’s a wise idea to choose a format that will be around well into the future. As we know, there are many media formats which have not survived the test of time. The Betamax tape, the MiniDisc, and the ill-fated HD-DVD format all died out after a relatively short period of time. The question can be asked about today’s media formats: how long will Blu-ray discs be around?
To answer that, we need to take a look at some of the preceding home movie formats and see what can be learned from them. The home video revolution kicked off in 1977 with the introduction of the Video Home System, or VHS.
A Video Cassette Recorder and a compatible blank VHS tape allowed home users to record video on to 1/2″ magnetic tapes encased in plastic. This became the dominant format for home movies and entertainment for the next twenty years.
When the first replicated DVD movies came out in 1997, they offered several significant advantages over VHS tapes. First, DVDs supported video playback in a much higher quality format. Second, discs did not lose quality over time, as was the case with magnetic tape. Finally, DVD discs did not need to be rewound whereas VHS tapes did. Given these advantages, it didn’t take long for the DVD to displace the VHS tape as the new standard format for home entertainment.
DVD enjoyed a good run as king of the home media world from 1997 to 2006, when the first Blu-ray discs came out. After a two-year format war, HD-DVD finally threw in the towel in 2008 and conceded to Blu-ray. Toshiba and the other backers of the HD-DVD format officially discontinued the format, giving Blu-ray the green light to take over the home movie industry.
Since 2008, Blu-ray has been gaining a lot of ground in the industry. Everything from retail movies to blank BD-R discs have come down dramatically in price from just a few short years ago. As we have often reported here, Blu-ray sales continue to increase with each new report and study that is published.
Equipment such as Blu-ray duplicator towers and discs are also becoming more affordable for people to own, especially those in the independent production scene.
With that in mind, how long will it be until something comes along and displaces the Blu-ray disc? Industry experts and analysts are quick to point out that new technologies such as streaming and on-demand will effectively be the end of disc-based media as we know it, but I still disagree with that.
When it comes to high storage capacity and low cost, nothing beats the value of a polycarbonate disc. I think it is safe to say that the Blu-ray format will be around for quite a while yet. In the meantime, Blu-ray is a great platform for backing up and archiving large amounts of data at a low cost.