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Optical Media - Your time is up

Optical media - who needs it?

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Optical media - it must be nearing the end game for that mustn’t it? Except for maybe Playstation/Xbox games and the like Looking at my usage patterns, I rarely use DVD or CDs anymore. If people want stuff from me I more often than not point them at my FTP server or upload the item somewhere for them to grab. Beyond that it’ll be a USB pen - and if push comes to shove…maybe a DVD. They just take so
long to burn.

What about movies? All of my movies I tend to download (legally I would add, mostly via iTunes) as it’s easier. I don’t often buy physical DVD or CDs for music. When I do, they get ripped into my library pretty quickly and then filed away somewhere. I can’t remember the last time I actually purchased a traditional DVD? I think it may have been one of my dive DVDs.

What about recordable? Well what do I/you use recordable media for? Would you trust a writable CD or DVD with your backups? I wouldn’t - and don’t. I use fast disk storage for localised backups (currently a Drobo) and then for more important stuff I upload to Backblaze.

I wouldn’t trust a writable DVD or CD disk with my valuable data unless it was short term or to get it to somebody. How many times have you tried to read back something you did a small while ago only to find it doesn’t work? Not good - you back something up, you don’t want to have to be testing it every few months, or re-writing.

The only place I do tend to use the odd piece of DVD or CD stuff is for machine builds - which are now (thankfully) pretty rare for me. It’s a quick way to build a HP Server or to start up and re-install some old workstation I want for testing. Even those are being supplanted by USB-stick boot.

In the virtualisation word I rarely use anything other than ISO images. If I do ever purchase software that comes on CD/DVD of course it then gets copied or ripped to an ISO and then filed away.

CD/DVDs are not practical in my opinion. Writable media deteriorates too quickly to want you to use it for valuable stuff, and pre-written stuff is bulk and takes up room, although to be fair it is a quick and easy way for distribution.

Even Sony have said they see Blu-Ray as the end of the road for optical media.

It’s an interesting one isn’t it? A lot of machines have the ability to boot from USB keys now - if I had the time and inclination (I.e. I needed to do it more often) I’d make one for server builds and the like - save having to burn out DVDs which then get filed in the bin. Most of the stuff I build now is probably 90%+ virtual…and they always use ISOs.

My guess is that content will move to online delivery as it’s started to already, and that users will move away from smaller and unreliable optical storage toward such technology as SDCards and the like.

Sure, costs don’t stack up at the minute directly. By my reckoning SDCards are about 10 times the price of equivalent DVD media. On the other hand, they’re faster, reusable, and more importantly more reliable.

Apple have dropped the optical drives from their Retina units now, and from their iMacs. To be fair, I think everyone saw that coming.

There’s technical ways around practically everything you can do with a physical drive. Wouldn’t it be nice to reclaim that space from the optical, or of course lessen the power drain on your laptop?

I guess there’s the issue of high-definition media distribution to think of - or in other words Blu-Ray... Considering the ‘other’ format has pretty much gone. How long does it take to write out Blu-Ray disks I wonder? I bet it’s faster for an SDCard, although at this point the storage capacities are not comparable.

I’m convinced. I think we’re hearing the death bells for optical media, and I don’t think that’s a sad thing. Thank you Mr. Progress.


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