Sony and Panasonic have announced that they want to develop an optical disc that can hold at least 300 gigabytes of data by 2015. This is to be a successor to the Blu-ray discs, which can only hold up to 50 GB.

In the past Sony has said that 4K ultra-high-definition films were likely to take up more than 100GB of space. It recently launched a device that allows 4K movies to be streamed over the internet but it is not much use for users who have a slow internet connection or have data-use limits.

Blu-ray disc laser

In their press release, the firms indicate that the primary market for this new technology will be business wishing to copy and preserve their data. It is also likely that there will be a demand within the consumer market for higher capacity discs.

There has been a decline in the sales of disc-based television box set and movie sales, which is thought to be caused by the rise in streaming services like Amazon’s Lovefilm and Netflix. However, last year there were 179 million disc-based videos sold in the UK, according to figures published by the British Film Institute (BFI).

“For the foreseeable future, even with more advances in streaming, there will be a niche for discs,” Russ Crupnick, a media analyst at consultants NPD told the BBC.

“But how large that is going to be is hard to say because it is going to be more about the collector and less about every day usage.”

4K Camcorders

An increase in demand for extra storage is also likely to be generated by the public’s ability to create its own ultra-high-definition footage.

JVC, Sony and Panasonic have all produced prototype camcorders which they say will be aimed at the “prosumer” market.

“The cheapest way to store lots of this material long term is going to be on an optical disc rather than a solid state drive in your laptop or tablet, or on SD cards,” said Paul O’Donovan, digital video expert at the tech advisory firm Gartner.

“And they are more convenient if you want to send the video you shot to somebody.

“Imagine trying to send a 300 gigabyte file over the internet – it would take ages.”

Until we see this new 4K technology, there is an interim solution as Panasonic already make a 100GB Blu-ray disc, but it needs a special player.

[Image via vhsdvdfilmtransfer]