The DIGISTOR difference: Meeting Blackmagic form factor needs

Video professionals from independent filmmakers to major production crew members have been brimming with excitement regarding Blackmagic Design’s line of high-quality cameras. This equipment enables users to capture raw, uncompressed video at a fraction of the cost presented by alternative products. The manufacturer has quickly established itself as a leading supplier of cost-effective tools that offer a professional-grade functionality and experience.

Blackmagic cameras have also been lauded for their versatility. Production equipment can often be cumbersome and heavy, making it difficult for crews to film in cramped conditions or make changes on the fly. Many Blackmagic offerings feature smaller form factors, enabling cameramen to shoot in a wide variety of conditions. Director Christopher Califano discovered these benefits when shooting his short film, “The Only Choice.”

“The advantages of using the [Blackmagic Cinema Camera] were really apparent,” Califano told Pro Video Coalition. “We got 2.5K raw and all that dynamic range allowed me to play around with the look and feel of the film in post, making my life much easier.”

Form factor concerns persist
Despite the advantages of having a smaller form factor, however, some users may discover that their off-the-shelf solid state drives are not able to fit in Blackmagic cameras without rattling around, potentially resulting in component damage and lost video. Many inferior SSDs were simply not designed with Blackmagic Design hardware – or video production – in mind. Blackmagic cameras support 9.5mm thick SSD drives – a standard that many manufacturers are moving away from in favor of thinner models specified for notebook PCs. Trying to repurpose these SSDs for Blackmagic use will result in functionality issues that could threaten to derail a shoot.

Video crew members who opt for ill-suited storage devices will need to find alternative methods of connecting their SSDs. As cinematographer and RedShark contributor Phil Rhodes noted, there is the possibility that such measures will damage the camera’s components.

“The camera will accommodate either 9.5mm or 7mm thick SSDs, although 7mm types will flop around noisily inside the SSD bay, potentially stressing the SATA connector, unless the plastic spacer supplied with many low-profile SSDs is used,” Rhodes wrote.

There is also the concern that using an ill-fitting SSD drive will affect the storage device itself and the quality of recorded video. Even with a spacer in place, a thin SSD may rattle around when in use, particularly during an extremely active shoot. This movement can shake an SSD drive to the point of hardware failure, resulting in the loss of any video being recorded. An incident like this could set production behind for days, requiring extensive reshoots. For independent filmmakers, that may be financially unfeasible.

DIGISTOR SSDs meet compatibility demands
Instead of taking a risk with an off-the-shelf product, Blackmagic users should entrust their media acquisition needs to a high-quality DIGISTOR SSD drive. DIGISTOR’s Professional Video Series SSD Drives are certified and specifically designed for Blackmagic hardware, ensuring that they meet the form factor demands of the manufacturer’s equipment. Regardless of what Blackmagic model a filmmaker chooses to use, DIGISTOR SSDs will offer the compatibility needed to begin shooting reliably without the need for additional accessories.

The functionality and compatibility offered by DIGISTOR SSDs ensures that production crews avoid costly recording errors and are able to capture uncompressed, raw video. With a DIGISTOR product specifically designed for use with Blackmagic cameras, lost footage, dropped video and other devastating issues can become a thing of the past. DIGISTOR SSD’s tight design and adherence to video production form factors and standards make them the ideal acquisition media accessories for the professional filmmaker.

Many production crews run on a tight budget with little room for error. Why risk losing hours of video because of a faulty solid state drive? Go with a DIGISTOR-brand SSD from the outset and put any fears to rest. The functionality, compatibility and performance offered by DIGISTOR SSD drives make them the ideal solutions for video professionals who want to enjoy the benefits of Blackmagic cameras without having to cope with any ensuing headaches.

The DIGISTOR Difference SSD Infographic

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Using a Blu-ray burner with Windows 8

As more consumers and organizations upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 8, they may find that their old hardware is not compatible with Microsoft's latest operating system. This is particularly troublesome for individuals who rely on their Blu-ray burners for comprehensive data archiving. If their hardware is unable to function properly on a Windows 8 platform, they will be unable to securely store and back up critical files and documents, leaving themselves vulnerable to costly data loss. 

Go with DIGISTOR for complete compatibility
For those who want to make sure that they can reliably copy information to disc on their Windows 8-based computers, DIGISTOR's line of Blu-ray burners has the answer. DIGISTOR drives fully support Windows 8, eliminating any concerns about compatibility. Both consumers and business operators can use the REWIND software that comes bundled with every Blu-ray burner to quickly and easily back up their important and irreplaceable files and documents to a permanent personal archive on Blu-ray disc. This way, any crucial data can be safely stored in the event that it needs to be retrieved at a later date. Organizations ranging from Amazon to Facebook have begun to recognize Blu-ray as a cost-effective, durable and scalable format for data archiving. Smaller operations and individuals can similarly use the media format for their long-term storage needs.

DIGISTOR also has users covered for their video playback needs. Most DIGISTOR Blu-ray burners also come equipped with ArcSoft software, enabling users to not only burn media files to disc, but to play them on their computers as well. By choosing a DIGISTOR device with both multimedia and archive software packages, customers can enjoy a full range of high-end features, including video playback and data archiving. Even those individuals who have a preferred software package for their disc-burning needs won't be left in the cold. As long as the program is compatible with Windows 8, it will work flawlessly with a DIGISTOR device. No off-the-shelf product will be able to provide the full range of features, compatibility and performance benefits offered by DIGISTOR external Blu-ray burners.

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How to connect a DIGISTOR SSD to your Mac for video editing

Given Mac’s popularity with professionals with high-end video editing needs, it’s important that production crews successfully establish a bridge between their computers and their acquisition media devices. In order to ensure that they are able to capture clear, high-quality video without losing a single frame, many filmmakers supplement their high-end video cameras with a stable and trusted storage device like DIGISTOR’s Professional Video Series SSD. These powerful SSDs are especially popular among users who prefer to shoot video with Blackmagic Design cameras as they are specifically designed with the manufacturer’s preferred format and form factors in mind.

DIGISTOR SSDs, Thunderbolt adapters offer unmatched speed
When connecting a DIGISTOR SSD to a Mac computer, production crews may want to include an adapter to take full advantage of the solid state drive’s speed and transfer video without delay. The Seagate Backup Plus Portable Thunderbolt Adapter offers the fastest connection speeds possible for video professionals using Mac-based editing software. Like DIGISTOR products, the Thunderbolt adapter has been designed specifically with these individuals in mind, enabling them to transfer data 20 times faster than with a standard USB 2.0 connection.

Seagate-Thunderbolt-Digistor-SSD

Even considerably more sophisticated USB 3.0 ports can’t match the speed offered by Thunderbolt. Mac users may believe that a USB 3.0 connection will net the data transfer rates they need to ensure reliable, high-quality recording and editing capabilities when working with raw, uncompressed video. The truth is these ports are not up to the task of wringing the full performance out of a top-of-the-line SSD. Thunderbolt offers the only Mac-based connection fast enough to read and write data at full speed on an SSD drive. Furthermore, with its easy-to-use interface, Thunderbolt allows users to simply plug in their SSD drive and connect directly with Mac hardware.

By harnessing the speed and performance of both DIGISTOR’s SSDs and the Thunderbolt adapter, production crews can harness lightning-fast data transfers, migrating raw uncompressed video to their Macs for editing. Furthermore, because Thunderbolt accentuates the speed of Professional Video Series SSDs, filmmakers can edit their work right on the drive itself, eliminating potential headaches and costly delays.

Given the many rigors and stresses associated with professional film shoots, it’s important that industry members eliminate complications whenever possible. By pairing high-performance DIGISTOR SSDs with a Thunderbolt adapter, they can maximize their data connection speeds when working with Macs, drastically improving and streamlining the editing process. This combination ensures that production crews are able to capture clear, uncompressed video without losing an iota of quality.

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Optical media continues to win over end users

Consumers and businesses alike have far more data storage options than in years past. From the cloud to solid state drives, there's likely a medium that will meet the specific needs of an individual or organization. With so many available potential solutions, however, it's important that users consider the various attributes of each before investing in a particular storage device. The most high-tech and advanced options on the market may not be the most optimal solutions for a given situation. For instance, optical media – despite being used for decades – can easily outshine newer storage formats in many cases.

Some industry observers have been predicting the death of optical media for years, given the increasing popularity of alternatives like the cloud and streaming media. As Columbia Daily Tribune contributor Scott May noted, people continue to use CDs, DVDs and – in particular – Blu-ray discs for their various data, video and music needs. Software developers have taken note of optical media's perennial relevance, releasing high-powered programs designed to wring the most value out of storage discs. The development community's continued support for this medium demonstrates its lasting power.

"Despite the popularity of online multimedia streaming to devices such as smartphones, tablets and Internet-ready televisions, the age of the optical disc is not quite over," May wrote.

Connected alternatives present major concerns
Blu-ray and other forms of optical media landed one of their biggest blows against streaming media and Internet-based resources when Microsoft was forced to take back its vow to launch a disc-less video game system. The tech giant received an outpouring of criticism from gamers who were not ready to give up on physical media and held some major concerns about the performance of an Internet-only platform. When the Xbox One was ultimately released in November 2013, it came equipped with an disc drive, and its games were released on Blu-ray media.

IT News Africa contributor Ruben Naicker explained that optical media such as Blu-ray continues to provide a great deal of value to the average user. The format presents a happy middle ground between technological sophistication and widespread availability, making it an ideal solution in many instances.

"While it is true that Hard Disk Drives (HDD) and flash drives are a lot cheaper than they used to be, for mass reproduction and dissemination of information, optical media, specifically CDs and DVDs, remain very popular," Naicker stated.

Naicker noted that despite the cloud's growing popularity, it has not completely saturated every market. Because the cloud remains a foreign concept to many users, it does not always present the most efficient way to distribute content to every relevant party. Meanwhile, many people have a Blu-ray drive installed on their work and personal computers, simplifying the delivery of materials to a large number of individuals who may not otherwise have access to a hosted service.

Echoing the concerns of countless Xbox users, Naicker also questioned the reliability of streaming media as a wholesale alternative to optical media. Due to the widespread popularity of streaming services and websites such as Netflix and YouTube, some industry observers have predicted that disc-based formats would fall out of favor among consumers. However, the rampant performance issues associated with streaming services, including those related to limited bandwidth and outages, have raised legitimate fears that this format lacks the capacity to fully meet quality standards. Blu-ray discs, on the other hand, offer the same consistent, high-definition playback every time they are used.

Blu-ray soldiers on as an archiving medium
Perhaps the most useful application for Blu-ray and other optical media formats is data storage and archiving. Standard data security best practices suggest that individuals keep backups on hand in the event that critical files are either lost or corrupted. These events are a nuisance for consumers, but they present a much greater threat to small business owners. Information such as sales records, financial statements and client profiles can be lost in an instant, significantly impairing normal business operations. By saving copies of this content on a physical drive, organizations can quickly and easily restore it without skipping a beat.

"[D]ata protection best practice recommends keeping more than one backup of critical information, and many small businesses and even home users still use optical media for this purpose," Naicker wrote.

Traditional disk-based hard drives may not be ideal data archiving solutions. As Naicker noted, purchasing multiple devices is a very expensive proposition, and the stored information cannot be readily shared with all relevant parties. Blu-ray discs address these concerns by offering an easy and cost-effective method of archiving and sharing critical company records.

Blu-ray beats out HDDs in another critical area of performance: durability. The magnetic plates and read/write heads within HDDs are extremely fragile and vulnerable to impact or other trauma. If these internal components are damaged, the information stored on a drive could be lost forever. Meanwhile, Blu-ray discs are sturdy and – more importantly – easy to replicate. If users are concerned about losing or breaking a disc and potentially losing its data, they can simply create multiple copies. This offers a level of security that traditional, disk-based devices cannot begin to approach.

Although streaming media and hosted solutions are quickly picking up steam with consumers and business users, optical media still holds a crucial position in various markets. Beyond media playback, Blu-ray has solidified itself as a major force within the data archiving sector, offering a reliable, repeatable and cost-effective method of storing important information for later use. For consumers and small businesses that want put their data loss fears to bed, a Blu-ray data archiving solution may be the answer.

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​DIGISTOR SSD wows professional filmmaker

Blackmagic cameras have earned rave reviews from both professional and aspiring filmmakers in recent years. Few brands have offered the capability to capture raw, uncompressed video without requiring users to break the bank. Blackmagic Design’s combination of high-quality performance and a low cost point have solidified its place in the video production market.

Some filmmakers have found, however, that despite Blackmagic’s adherence to excellence, there is still one component that could derail an entire shoot. When looking for opportunities to cut costs on a shoot, crew members may look to short change their acquisition media, thinking that performance will remain steady regardless of the device they use. As award-winning cinematographer Frank Glencairn can attest, investing in a low-cost but ineffective solid state drive can easily blow up in a video crew’s face.


“If you ever paid more (out of your own pocket) than you make in two months, just because you cheapskated on acquisition media, lost all of your data and now reshoot a whole day, maybe it’s time to think about the quality and reliability of SSD drives,” he wrote in a recent blog post.

Glencairn has worked on a wide range of productions such as television commercials and feature films. He’s seen it all, including the disastrous effects of ignoring acquisition media. Many off-the-shelf solid state drives have only been rated for compressed video transfers, leading potential adopters to believe they’re getting a level of performance that may never be reached. From his own experience, Glencairn has found that in the long-run, it’s more cost-effective to invest in a high-quality SSD drive instead of purchasing the cheapest option available.

With the recent push for high-definition video, more production crews are opting to capture raw, uncompressed feeds so they record every detail and image. An SSD that has not been designed and rated to handle these workloads will not be able to hit the transfer speeds that they advertise, struggling to keep up with the workload of an entire shot. This will inevitably lead to dropped frames, a reduction in video quality and potentially costly reshoots.

DIGISTOR emerges as clear solution
Because of the nuances of high-level video capture, Glencairn relied on SanDisk products for his acquisition media need – that is, until he encountered form factor problems when using a Blackmagic camera. He found that they were too thin to snuggly fit in his Blackmagic equipment, raising concerns that they may come detached at the most inopportune time. When looking for an alternative solution, Glencairn knew his ideal SSD drive had to contain certain features: reliable, durable, capable of handling 2.5K and 4.5K formats and containing a form factor compatible with Blackmagic hardware.

Glencairn’s answer was DIGISTOR’s Professional Video Series SSD drives. As he discovered, these devices are specifically designed to work with Blackmagic cameras and recording equipment, enabling users to consistently capture the highest quality video possible. That specialization has distinguished DIGISTOR products for Blackmagic use.

Glencairn hasn’t looked back since making the jump from SanDisk to DIGISTOR. His SSD drive offers excellent performance regardless of the shoot’s requirements, enabling him to capture uncompressed video without losing a single frame. For the foreseeable future, the filmmaker intends to continue using DIGISTOR SSDs on his shoots – particularly those where the stakes have been raised. When production crews need an acquisition media device that will guarantee performance, usability and durability, they should look no further than DIGISTOR.

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Scientists use Blu-ray discs to find microorganisms

For years, consumers have used Blu-ray discs to watch their favorite movies in high-quality video transfer and play the latest and most advanced video games. Recently, numerous alternative applications for the format have emerged, re-energizing interest in Blu-ray. For instance, Facebook has pursued a data archiving solution that is supported entirely by thousands of Blu-ray discs. Given the durability, cost-effectiveness and high-performance of Blu-ray, it's no wonder that organizations from disparate fields have found new ways to take advantage of this technology. Researchers at Spain's Polytechnic University of Valencia have discovered an entirely unique application for Blu-ray discs that could change the way that certain types of biomatter are collected and analyzed.

According to Plataforma SINC, those researchers found that optical media – and Blu-ray discs, in particular – can be leveraged to detect various types of life-forms and substances in their lab samples. A study published in the scientific journal "Biosensors and Bioelectronics" casts more light on the process, noting that Blu-ray offers a more cost-effective alternative to traditional methods of data collection. The surface of a disc acts as an analysis platform upon which lab workers can conduct tests. Afterward, they use a Blu-ray player's laser reader to spot different forms of bacteria and other materials in the sample, including toxins, allergens and tumoral biomarkers.

Blu-ray structure supports lab analysis needs
The process involves placing microarray and two-dimensional array samples on the discs. Because Blu-ray discs feature hydrophobic surfaces, tiny protein-based samples can be locked into place like beads of water on a waxy leaf. Researchers found that using Blu-ray media in this matter achieved results similar to what could be gained through standard procedures. One of the primary benefits of this method is the ability to quickly and easily eliminate samples from scientific consideration before lab workers put more time and effort into conducting further analysis.

Researchers stated that there are numerous applications for this technology such as identifying potentially harmful bacteria located in breast milk or determining the concentration levels of toxins in drinking water. The university's team has already achieved some encouraging results utilizing Blu-ray discs to detect pathogenic bacteria in their materials. Using Blu-ray in this fashion, scientists can leverage a low-cost method to analyze large volumes of samples.

Sergi Morais, the research team's associate principal investigator, provided further details on the study to optics.org. He explained that other practical applications for this technology include ascertaining the health and well-being of livestock and enhancing in vitro tests for allergens. Morais also noted that this method does not require a great deal of additional equipment beyond a Blu-ray player and discs, making the process all the more cost-effective. Because many organizations have difficulty acquiring public funding for the technology's applicable fields, Morais and his team hope that their breakthrough can facilitate this kind of research.

"Our team has been working with this type of technology for 10 years," Morais told optics.org. "We started working with regular CDs then DVDs. Then we realized that Blu-ray was even more sensitive than the previous formats."

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Blackmagic Design has major presence at NAB 2014

Every year, thousands of media professionals descend on the NAB Show to discover the latest and best developments in their various industries, including broadcasting and filmmaking. This conference places a great deal of focus on the strides being made in the creation of high-performance camera equipment which can aid everyone from videographers to independent movie directors. At the 2014 NAB Show in Las Vegas, Blackmagic Design threatened to steal the show by introducing two major forthcoming products.

The cameras unveiled by Blackmagic offer benefits for broadcasters with both large and small operations, further expanding its reach into the video capture market and solidifying its place as a leading provider of camera equipment. First, the company showcased its latest offering for users that require smaller hardware for their video capturing needs. The Blackmagic Design Studio Camera has been described as the smallest camera on the market that has been specifically designed for live broadcasting.

As TV Technology reported, the product offers several features aimed at supporting live shoots, including an optical fiber signal transport, 10-inch color LCD viewfinder, tally indicators and SDI connections for use with live production switchers. Officials from Blackmagic have touted the product's high-performance capabilities that are housed within its smaller-than-normal frame.

"When we looked at how we would design a camera for live production, what really surprised us was how small we could make it, but then the viewfinder would also become small," said Blackmagic Design CEO Grant Perry, according to the source. "It's really a dream to operate a camera with such a large viewfinder and it's amazing the detail in focus and framing that's available to the operator."

URSA targets large productions 
Next, the manufacturer announced its latest product focused on handling the rigors of larger productions. The Blackmagic URSA camera has been crafted for use on complex and high-stakes shoots, including episodic television shows, commercials and major motion pictures. Some of the camera's more eye-popping features include a 10-inch fold-out on-set monitor, built-in scopes and dual RAW and Apple ProRes recorders to facilitate uncompressed video capture.

One of the primary concerns Blackmagic engineers faced when designing URSA was accounting for the rapid pace of product evolution in the market. Film crews' equipment needs are constantly changing, forcing them to swap out old hardware on a regular basis. This is an expensive proposition, particularly given the cost of high-end, professional-quality video cameras. The manufacturer addressed this issue by ensuring that various URSA components can be upgraded with the latest and most advanced products on the market. This way, users can get more value out of their investment.

Quality components needed
Ultimately, the 2014 NAB Show proved to be another high-water moment for Blackmagic Design. The company has grown significantly in esteem over the years, largely due to its quality products and support for uncompressed video capture. Blackmagic's dedication to equipment performance and longevity should extend to the accessories and components that support their hardware. Many of the company's existing cameras require solid state drives in order to properly shoot and record RAW video. Without the processing power of a flash-based storage device, Blackmagic equipment would be unable to provide the crisp video transfer that solidified its place in the industry. However, not all SSDs are properly configured for use with Blackmagic's preferred formats. Many off-the-shelf products are not optimized from the outset to seamlessly interact with Blackmagic cameras, requiring users to go through an arduous setup process that could delay shoots.

To eliminate such headaches and ensure that their equipment runs properly, media professionals should deploy a high-quality DIGISTOR SSD drive whenever one is required for Blackmagic use. The DIGISTOR Professional Video Series SSD has been specifically designed to make deployment a breeze and help film crews capture the best and crispest video possible.

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Golf Channel turns to optical disc-based archive system

In the face of mounting speculation that it would be usurped by streaming media and cloud storage outlets, Blu-ray media has reestablished itself as a major format by focusing on data archiving solutions. Facebook led the charge earlier this year when it announced an ongoing project to develop an archiving platform based on Blu-ray discs. Now, other organizations are beginning to take notice of this growing trend and investigate the benefits of optical media as a format for large-scale data storage.

Regardless of their industry or sector, businesses across the globe are faced with an irrefutable fact: The amount of data they collect, store and leverage is increasing at a monumental rate. According to a December 2012 IDC study, the amount of digital data in existence will increase by a factor of 300 between 2005 and 2020, reaching 40 trillion gigabytes. Worldwide, data volumes will approximately double every two years for at least the next six years.

This unparalleled increase in information has already placed a great deal of strain on organization's storage systems. Traditional disk-based mediums lack the scalability needed to keep pace with the rise in data. Furthermore, HDDs are notoriously faulty products, prone to damage and operational disruptions. For archiving means, this sensitivity and fragility has created a great deal of concern for business leaders who need to retain their important records for the long haul. Facebook vice president Frank Frankovsky explained to Ars Technica that in order to account for the possibility of hardware failure, organizations would need to invest in backups for their backups or other supplementary tools, potentially wasting a great deal of revenue in the process.

"You need to have a relatively aggressive erasure encoding environment where you have a lot more physical spinning disks, so you can sustain multiple failures and be able to recreate the file in any situation," he said, according to the source.

Golf Channel makes the jump to Blu-ray
Blu-ray discs and other optical media offer the right combination of scalability, durability and cost-effectiveness to present an ideal solution for businesses' data archiving needs. Since Facebook broke ground on its project, other organizations have followed suit. According to TV Technology, Golf Channel recently announced that it planned to adopt an automated, optical disc-based archival system. As a media operation, Golf Channel has a considerable demand for data archiving tools. With high-definition video becoming the standard for television transmissions, broadcasters are only going to see their storage needs increase in the coming years. A single snippet of video could represent several gigabytes of data that must be archived for later use. This is particularly true for sports broadcasters as old telecasts of football games, golf tournaments and other events will draw a great deal of interest for years to come.

For the past eight years, Golf Channel used a linear tape-open system for its archiving needs. However, magnetic tape did not provide the functionality and performance needed to ensure reliable and streamlined data archiving. Ultimately, the organization found itself going through several iterations of LTO technology to keep pace with its changing demands.

"During that time, we realized that LTO was not the ideal solution," said Ken Botelho, senior director of engineering for Golf Channel. "Mylar tape stretches and LTO lacks backward compatibility. We ended up changing through various LTO formats, from LTO 2 to LTO 5."

The source explained that Blu-ray discs provide numerous benefits over tape-based archiving products. For instance, they are not as susceptible to the quality-diminishing effects of exposure to moisture, humidity, ultraviolet radiation, corrosive gases and magnetism. Furthermore, LTO tapes are only designed for approximately 250 read/write cycles, limiting their long-term viability. Some Blu-ray discs have been rated for more than one million passes. This functionality allows users to confidently access information whenever needed without having to worry that they are eroding the device's operability in the process. For an organization like Golf Channel that will likely have to dive into their video archives on a regular basis, this durability provides considerable advantages over tape-based alternatives.

Amazon may be eyeing Blu-ray system
Golf Channel is just the latest organization to turn to Blu-ray for its archiving needs. Industry analyst Robin Harris suggested that Amazon's long-rumored Glacier archiving service will likely run on high-performance Blu-ray discs. He reasoned that a tape- or disk-based system would not be able to account for the company's massive storage needs. Only optical media could get the job done effectively and without breaking the bank.

What makes Amazon's case so interesting is that if Harris' insights prove to be true, the company is using optical media to support cloud storage tools. Many industry observers once speculated that the cloud and other Internet-based tools would render storage discs obsolete. With Blu-ray becoming a viable solution for data storage and archiving, the hosted services that were once believed to eliminate optical media now rely on it to function themselves. Blu-ray will continue to be a major force within this sector, providing large and small organizations alike with the durability and scalability needed to securely store files for later use.

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