Regular CD’s really only have a shelf life of approx. 10 years…The new disc, called M-DISC, stores data in the same way as CDs and DVDs – as a series of pits – but instead of the pits being burned into organic dyes using a laser as is the case with traditional optical discs, the pits are literally etched into a layer of a “rock-like material” composed of inorganic materials and compounds including metals and metalloids using a higher powered laser. The resultant pits aren’t affected by temperature, humidity or sunlight. Millenniata says it expects this layer would actually remain readable for over 10,000 years, however, the polycarbonate layers it is sandwiched between are the weak links and would only be reliable for at least 1,000 years.
M-DISCs are a write-once technology designed as a cheap permanent backup solution that is still backwards compatible with existing DVD drives, including consumer DVD players. Millenniata says its M-DISCs offer comparable performance to standard DVDs and provide the same 4.7 GB storage capacity as a single-sided, single-layer DVD. The company says it is also currently working on a Blu-Ray version of the M-DISC to provide greater storage capacity.
Millenniata has partnered with Hitachi-LG Data Storage, Inc, which will manufacture M-READY DVD drives and sell them under its DVD brands. There’s no word on what these devices will sell for, but the M-DISCs will be priced at US$2.99 for a single disc, $13.89 for a pack of five, and $26.59 for a pack of ten when they go on sale through the Millenniata website next month.