Sony, Panasonic plan 300GB son of Blu-ray for 4K future

Sony and Panasonic are teaming up to produce a 300GB optical disc to put 4K movies on your bookshelf.

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
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Richard Trenholm
2 min read

Son of Blu-ray! Sony and Panasonic are teaming up to produce a 300GB optical disc to put 4K movies on your bookshelf.

Sony and Panasonic plan to release discs that store 300GB or more by the end of 2015. That's a six-fold increase on current Blu-ray platters, which max out at 50GB -- enough for a high-definition movie, but not for the 4K future.

Sony has already started pushing 4K ultra high definition (UHD) movies, which is four times the resolution of 1080p video, in cinemas and high-end TVs. A 4K film is likely to need more than 100GB of legroom.

Sony and Samsung have already launched UHD TVs, a mere snip at £4,000 for a 65-inch 4K TV.

Do we still need optical discs in the ages of Netflix, Lovefilm and cloud storage? Although this is a successor to Blu-ray, the 300GB won't necessarily be about films and TV shows. Sony and Panasonic are also talking about storage, whether that's businesses storing data or average Joes storing vast amounts of video filmed by your high-definition camera.

Some 179 million discs were sold in the UK last year, according to the British Film Institute. That may be 14 per cent less than the year before that, but at a total of £1.5bn, people selling discs raked in more than six times the moolah made by video-on-demand services.

Sony has remastered selected classic films into 4K for theatrical distribution -- including Ghostbusters, Taxi Driver and not one but two Spider-Man movies -- and released 1080p versions on Blu-ray, but there's still very little to watch in true 4K.

Do we need another Blu-ray? Is the optical disc over and done? Tell me your thoughts in the comments or on our ultra highly-defined Facebook page.