The “Next Big Thing” Nobody is Talking About at CES

This year the electronics industry at the CES show unveiled their “Big” plans for the future, and when I say big – I mean BIG!!

4 inch screens on mobile phones now seem like postage stamps with Huawei’s introduction of a gargantuan six inch OLED android smartphone.  While that phone made quite a splash, it seemed like nobody came to the party without a smartphone with a 5 inch screen capable of HD resolutions.  It looks like the living room is coming to your pocket in a hurry.

The other cannonball dropped by manufacturers across the board was the move from 3D and smart connected televisions to smart connected televisions that capture reality or near reality.  These TV’s feature 4K resolution screens or what they have now branded UltraHD.  Sonys chief executive Kazuo Hirai put it best when he said

” I hope you can see that 4K is not the future, it’s now, and Sony is leading the way”.

But the other “BIG” thing that isn’t discussed much at these launches – BIG DATA. 

These big devices require BIG data, and BIG data isn’t cheap.  Many providers cap your data; a quick search for instance showed that Comcast, Century Link and Mediacom may limit, throttle your connection or charge extra once you reach 250-300 GB per month.  To the average user that seems like an unreachable amount and at current consumption levels it is a healthy level.  But as we move into the future we need to look at the cost of data and how much we may consume – the first 4K movie available for download was 160GB!!  I don’t know about you but I plan to watch more than 1 movie per month.  So what’s the solution?

Well the solution is two fold.

First, compression will shrink the files to more manageable chunks.  Sony claims to have compression available that will shrink the files.  The belief is that 4K or UltraHD will be able to be compressed to somewhere between 25-50GB.  While this is a significant reduction it still would chew through most ISP data limits quite quickly.

Which brings us to the second part of the solution: back to the trusty optical disc.  It just so happens that that 25-50GB is just what will fit on a current Blu-ray disc.  Surely data pipes will expand and compression will improve but we believe that the initial expansion of 4K content will be distributed on optical disk and potentially hard drives/server based solutions.

So while the electronics manufacturers at CES made a lot of BIG splashes this year, we in the optical storage business are excited about the BIG opportunity that these high resolution data hungry devices demand.  Here’s to the future!

The Compact Disc – 30 years and still going strong!

I remember my 30th birthday like it was yesterday – it was a time of reflection and celebration.  Looking back, I suspect I’d accomplished a fair bit less than the compact disc at our respective yardsticks.  Once the king of the castle, the Compact Disc has been shunned as of late for the MP3. But the Compact Disc has and continues to be a strong vehicle for delivering data and music. Sonically superior to the MP3 and infinitely more tangible, the Compact Disc has endured.

Today we celebrate it’s 30th birthday.

More information on the life of the Compact Disc can be found here.

UDO 60gb and 30gb WORM Prices to Increase

Mitsubishi, the lone manufacturer of UDO 60gb and 30gb WORM disc media, has just announced a $3.00 per disc price increase across the board on January 1st, 2012. This price increase will be across the board for all 30gb and 60gb WORM and Re-writable UDO discs.

We recommend that you place any orders for UDO products that you need soon in order to get the existing lower price.

Call us at 1-800-295-0083 with any questions that you have. Or email kevin at techwaredist dot com.

Sony Continues Manufacturing Magneto Optical Disks

I just read an interesting press release from earlier this week from GE Medical and Avnet from the 2011 RSNA show in Chicago.

The press release states that GE will be offering a new DICOM hard disk / Blu-ray appliance into hospitals and imaging centers that currently use magneto optical disc storage. The reason, as stated in the press release, is that magneto optical drives are no longer being manufactured.

It is true that MO drives are no longer being made. But fully functioning Sony, HP, and Maxoptix drives are still widely available from my system integrators as well as niche resellers. However, as I read through the full article I found a miss-statement. There was a quote about half-way into the releases that stated “Current users of the discontinued magneto-optical discs….”

MO discs are still be manufactured by Sony and sold under varies brands names – Sony, HP, Maxoptix, and Medical Grade to name a few. Don’t worry, magneto optical discs will continue to be available for many years to come.

Let me know your thoughts or comments. Also contact Techware at 1-800-295-0083 (952.944.0083 locally) if you need any help sourcing MO drives or MO media.

Sony Will Develop LTO-6 Tape Media – 8 Terabytes

Sony’s Storage Media Division has signed the LTO-6 licensing agreement with Hewlett-Packard, IBM and Quantum. This agreement now allows Sony to start development of its LTO-6 Ultrium tape media. The estimated storage capacity will be 8TB per tape using compression.

The 6th generation (LTO-6) tape technology is designed to support the ever-increasing capacity requirements of today’s data rich storage environments.  Each cartridge will be able to store up to an estimated native 3.2TB (8TB 2.5:1 compressed) of data in one cartridge.  This new generation of the LTO Ultrium format will also deliver a data transfer rate of up to 210MB/s native (525MB/s compressed).

Specific features of Sony’s LTO-6 Ultrium tape cartridge media: 

  •  Increased storage capacity, achieved with a newly developed magnetic particle and advances in manufacturing technology, which allow for higher recording density.
  • LTFS partitioning feature as previously introduced on LTO-5 tapes.

Sony’s development of the LTO-6 format demonstrates its continued commitment to support an impressive range of storage media products that also includes formats such as AIT, AIT-Turbo, 5.25-inch Magneto Optical (MO Disk), DAT 160/320 and others.

Techware will continue to offer tape drive repair and tape library repair services for all of the most popular data tape drive formats – LTO, DLT, SDLT, AIT, 8mm, 4mm, etc.

CD and DVD disc maker CMC Magnetics expects 10% growth in 3rd Quarter revenues

Optical disc (CD, DVD, Blu-ray) maker CMC Magnetics expects its third-quarter revenues to grow 10%.  CMC also expects to turn a profit as second-tier disc makers are gradually phasing out of the optical disc market. First-tier manufacturers like Ritek and CMC have reduced their disc capacity by 30-40%, allowing the supply of optical discs to decrease which has helped to boost optical disc prices.

Optical disc prices have risen by as much as 40% since February of 2011. (Source: DigiTimes)

Our take on the CD-r and DVD-r market is that these increase prices are here to stay for at least the next 2 to 3 quarters as oil prices remain higher, and poly carbonate supplies remain tight. We are seeing these increase prices being passed on to users of CD-r and DVD-r media, as well as customers of disc duplication and printing services.

New Optical Disc Archival Format Unveiled By Sony

Photo courtesy of Sony Corporation


Ahead of IBC Sony shows a new optical disc archiving system that appears reminiscient of the ten disc changers found mostly in automotive applications. The new archive format is aimed at broadcasters and the immense amount of data that they are forced to manage in today’s HD environment.

Sony’s Disk Archive Storage System offers a lower total cost of ownership through the use of long-life media, and includes inter-generational compatibility based on the same optical disc technology used in DVDs and Blu-rays. The archive solution puts 12 media discs in a firm cartridge enabling data to be handled on a per-file basis, by making the operating device recognise the system as a “single large volume storage unit” rather than by each individual disc. The cartridges are available in both a write-once format and a rewriteable format, with various capacity options from 300GB capacity up to 1.5TB available according to the customer’s requirements.

Whenever a heavyweight like Sony shows off new technology it’s best to at least keep a keen eye on it. At Techware Dist we constantly monitor the optical archival marketplace to bring the best solutions to our customers.

To find out more about this exciting new product or read the entire press release please visit Sony Corporation’s website. To learn more about the solutions that might benefit your business please visit our website at


Akayna Studios launches new online store –

After weeks of image gathering and search engine optimization surrounding the new store, the new store was finally launched this summer. In using BigCommerce we have found a great foundation for a new e-commerce solution that is robust enough to handle any amount of products while giving nearly complete access to all aspects of the website and product display.

As a one stop shop for Sony MO Media and as well as other Magneto Optical Disks, provided our marketing and design team with a tool that has allowed steady growth both in sales and user traffic. BigCommerce can be a wise choice for any company wanting to launch an online store.

UDO Disk logo

E-commerce tip: Building an online store does not mean you will attract customers. There are many other marketing tools and processes required to be successful selling online. Google Adwords, article writing, blogging, traditional marketing efforts and social media are just a few things to be considered when launching any web-based project.

Time it Takes to Burn a DVD-r or DVD Dual Layer Disc

Have you ever looked at the packaging on a new spindle of blank recordable DVD-r discs and wondered what the numbers “8X” or “16X” mean?

Those numbers indicate the maximum recordable or “write” speed of the discs. But the numbers do not tell you how many seconds or minutes it will take to burn your DVD disc.

Two Factors Affect Burning Time

First, is amount of data to be written in megabytes or gigabytes. And Secondly, the maximum speed of the discs themselves as well as the speed you choose in your burning software (4x, 8x, 12x, 16x, etc).

Editing and Rendering

For most people, creating a master DVD means editing their video. Using either a PC or a Mac, the process is essentially the same: edit the video, export to MPEG-2, and burn to a disc. Editing and rendering can add hours to a project such as a training video or a highlight film.

But we are interested in the actual burn time once your DVD is edited and rendered. DVD-r and DVD+r discs carry speed ratings designated by a number followed by the letter “X,” the “X” represents speed of the burning. An 8X rated DVD disc can be burned at twice the speed as a 4X rated disc, and a 16X disc can reach twice the speed of an 8X disc.

DVD-R & DVD+r Discs

In general, a regular single-layer 4.7GB DVD-R disc with a 16X speed rating (that is full = 4.6gb) will take about 6 minutes to copy in a duplicator machine such as Microboards HCL-8000. These machines are equipped with drives that can write discs at up to 22X, but DVD recordable discs with such a high speed rating are currently not available.

Reducing the write speed from 16x to 8X does not double the time needed to record your disc. In reality it only adds about 2 minutes for a total recording time of around 8 minutes. This is because DVD writers are not recording at maximum speed during the entire burn. They ramp up starting with a slower speed in the beginning of the burn and increasing until it hits your maximum selected speed or the disc maximum of 16x.

We recommend lowering the burn speed to 8x in order to give the laser more time to make a good impression on the organic dye recordable layer of the disc, resulting in a burn with fewer errors compared to a disc written at a higher speed. This does not affect the picture or sound quality of the DVD disc, but it will reduce the amount of error correction the DVD drive or DVD player has to do when the DVD is being viewed.

Dual Layer Recordable DVDs

When burning dual-layer DVDs, the write speed makes a significant difference in the overall burn time. Recording a dual layer DVD at 2.4X will takes 30 to 40 minutes depending on the amount of information or data being burned. When the burn speed is increased to 8X, the time drops to 15 to 20 minutes.

An important point – we have found time and time again that burning dual layer DVDs above 4x causes a much higher yield which means more bad or failed burns.

Please contact (800-295-0083 or 952-944-0083) with any questions as we are committed to this industry and are here to help our current and new prospective customers in any way that we can.

Good Demand, Increased Prices Make CD / DVD Recordable Discs a Sellers Market

Thanks to higher demand, profit margins for optical disc makers have increased so far in 2011. CD-R and DVD-r disc prices are expected to rise by 20% in the second half of this year, according to CMC Magnetics chairman Robert Wong, quoted in

Ritek, another major optical disc maker in Taiwan, also says that disc prices have been rising this year due to rising material prices. CD-r and DVD-r disc prices are expected to rise further in the third quarter.

Wong said that many Chinese and Taiwanese optical disc makers have been withdrawing from the business, while some Japanese (JVC / Taiyo Yuden) disc makers also stopped production after the massive earthquake in March.

CMC has raised all its disc prices by an average 30% since March.

The supply shortage of CD-R discs has pushed up prices by about 40% since early this year, the first since 2009, Wong said, pointing out that the optical-disc sector has turned into a sellers’ market, a move that will benefit CMC’s future operation.

“Flooding orders are filling production lines throughout the year-end. Fourth quarter operations will turn profitable.”

This is big news for CD-r and DVD-r disc manufacturers like CMC which have posted losses the past couple of years.