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Archive for January, 2018

Plasmon’s UDO and Blu -Ray: top shelf technologies in optical data storage

Friday, January 26th, 2018
Phase Change technology of writing data optimises the write time and allows for more efficient data storage

Phase Change technology of writing data optimises the write time and allows for more efficient data storage

It’s commonly known that technology used for storage purposes must be characterized by its huge data capacity in order to make the whole enterprise economically viable. Using this one criterion only, there are only two suitable technologies left: UDO (Ulttra Density Optical) and Blu-Ray disc.

Since they offer similar benefits in general, the question which technology has bigger chances to stay on the market will be determined by the investment costs of its implementation and by the size of the existing installed base. The answer may be obvious already…

The UDO technology was developed by Plasmon as a replacement for MO (Magneto Optical) technology in the beginning of this century with long term archiving in mind. UDO -1 holds 30 GB per disc and the newly developed UDO – 2 can hold up to 60 GB per disc, 30 GB per each side. It’s double sided which requires a rotation mechanism to turn the media over. It uses Phase Change technology to write data. The data can be read/written at 8 MG/sec. using Reed Solomon error correction.  The laser is applied at two heat levels what provides faster write times, higher storage densities and higher life cycle (the number of writes that a spot can whitstand at its full capacity). Its estimated archive life exceeds 50 years. The medium is housed in a rugged dust proof caddy.

Unfortunately, high costs of UDO’s implementation and proprietary issues, plus a few extra drawbacks, like the fact that a special software is required to read UDO media or the lack of a native format, made Plasmon went into administration at the end of 2008. The technology was sold and it’s now manufactured by Alliance Storage Technologies. Similar fate was shared by InPhase Technology, which also attempted to develop holographic storage and failed due to same reasons.

With UDO’s experience in mind, it’s now clear why it is Blu – Ray that prevails as a widely used archiving medium. It is supported by hundreds of companies globally and shares many of the features with UDO, like high reliability and low maintenance costs. Its main benefit over UDO is huge installed base and the universal format of the written data. Of course, Blu- Ray ‘naturally’ evolved from CD and DVD which makes it backward compatible. It is also not as ruggedised as UDO and is housed in slim jukeboxes (some marketing specialists dare to label them even as ‘sexy’).

And what is the moral of that story? Maybe something like: no matter how advanced and sophisticated the technologie is, it’s always up to the market to determine its overall life span by verifying all its aspects  with scrutiny.

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1st Message

Friday, January 19th, 2018

Dear Friends,
It’s snowing outside as I write the 1st message for Replication Centre. We are feeling our way with the Replication Market – having built a solid business in CD Duplication. It’s somewhat confusing that nearly all the companies who offer Replication try and pass themselves as the companies actually doing the work. The Replication market place works almost entirely by brokers.

This means that the company you are dealing with aren’t doing the work – they farm it out to one of many plants they will have a relationship with.

This doesn’t matter of course – as long as the broker has integrity. We decided to present ourselves in this market clearly and frankly. See our homepage for the way we describe our service. We deal with a great company in the Czech Republic and following a visit out there last year our relationship has gone from strength to strength.

Till next time
God Bless
Martin

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Replication vs Downloads

Friday, January 12th, 2018

It is still by no means certain whether mass-market consumers will embrace the concept of buying all their entertainment digitally rather than on disc – the music sector is undoubtedly undergoing a huge transformation with the majority of singles now sold digitally, whereas most albums are still physical sales.

It is clear that most manufacturers and distributors would want to avoid the cost and effort of maintaining a large inventory, but they would be foolish to ignore the very real attractions of packaged media to the casual customer.

Even in today’s climate of price-deflation and stagnant physical sales, entertainment content still has the power to grab consumers in a way other product cannot, and retailers are putting a lot of effort into enticing impulse-buyers.

Browsing through a display of attractively-packaged boxes is the quickest way to secure a sale, but it does mean that the retailer has to maintain and constantly update their inventory. This does, however, leave the way open to having point-of-sale machines that can burn discs on demand as well as digitally printing the packaging and artwork. The retailer would then simply have a display of lifesize empty boxes for the customer to handle and make his choice from, without having to guess at stock-levels etc.

The technology for this is still some way off, so the market for replicated packaged media is set to thrive for a good while yet, as pure downloads can never re-create the experience of buying and handling a quality retail product.

Piracy

New technology has always been viewed with suspicion when it came to the stealing of copyrighted material, but none of these predictions have ever really emerged as a serious problem:

“Home taping will kill record sales” warned the record companies in the 1970s when copying LPs to cassette had become the norm, but once the Sony Walkman made tapes more popular, the record companies simply sold more pre-recorded tapes.

Copying CDs is also possible, but most people can’t be bothered and, provided the price is acceptable, would much rather buy a nice-looking finished product than waste time making an unappealing copy.

How much material will be electronically “shoplifted” if online sales become the norm is also down to price and convenience – if it’s easy to buy appealing product at attractive prices, and tiresome to steal, customers will pay.

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The International Digital Media Alliance

Friday, January 5th, 2018

The International Digital Media Alliance – and it’s ever changing name

Ever wondered how or who helps govern a fair and independent assessment and education of all the digital media that is being developed and released.
Formally known as The DVD Association, the now known International Digital Media Alliance (IDMA), is committed to providing expertise in DVD, Blu-ray Disc, and interactive media.

The International Digital Media Alliance (IDMA) is dedicated to ensuring that multimedia is uncomplicated, reliable and dependable for users. IDMA exists as a not-for-profit organisation which is solely supported through membership and sponsorships from corporations.

Digital Media
Originally IDMA was established in 1990 as the Compact Disc Interactive Association (CDIA) and was formed to help creators of disc-based television programs. CDIA also helped provide information to the general public and hosted annual educational workshops and conferences as well as producing many publications. CDIA intended to educate the public about then-new video disc options like CD-I and Laserdisc.

With the dawn of the DVD, CDIA changed its name and became the DVD Association, before recently re-settling on its current name, the International Digital Media Alliance. The latest name change has come about because of HD-DVD and the advent of Blu-ray. It is clear that the DVD was never going to remain the only video disc on the market. It however would not make sense for an organization to change to another name focused on a single medium. In this ever changing frontier of digital media technology, there is no doubt that there will be more mediums in the future. Just as apparent as the death of HD-DVDs, however it would appear that DVD’s are still going strong even in the Blu-Ray era.

The official website, located at http://www.theidma.org/, offers plenty of history and public files, as well as news on the organization.

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Address: Replication Centre, Gleniffer House, 2 Hall Road, Rochford, Essex, SS4 1NN.    Tel: 01702 530 357    Email: info@replicationcentre.co.uk