New Pioneer Blu-Rays are guaranteed to last 100 years

New Pioneer Blu-Rays are guaranteed to last 100 years

Pioneer recently introduced its new “DM for Archive” Blu-ray recorder along with BD-R discs designed to last at least a century. The need to securely archive large amounts of digital data has led the industry to develop different types of media, including NAND flash memories, tapes and optical discs. However, all of these devices can degrade over time, and most recordable Blu-rays aren't designed to last beyond 100 years.

According to the Canadian Conservation Institute, BD-R discs are expected to last between 5 and 20 years, depending on the material used. BD-REs, or erasable Blu-rays, are estimated to last between 20 and 50 years, while DVD-Rs and CD-Rs can last anywhere from 50 to 100 years. If properly stored, the tapes can last 30 to 50 years.

Data security is a priority, so much so that in Japan there is the "Electronic Books Preservation Act", which requires that certain types of fiscal data are kept electronically for at least 100 years. To ensure that this requirement is met, the Japanese government has developed the JIS X6257 quality standard for optical discs and recording methods. Optical discs recorded in accordance with the X6257 standard that pass the tests of the Japan Document Information Management Association (JIIMA), conducted in accordance with the international standard ISO/IEC 16963:2017 , are marked as DM for Archive.

Photo Credit: Pioneer The strength of Pioneer BDR-WX01DM is the ability to record data according to X6257 supported by the DM Archiver application, which not only burns data with a certified technique, but can also encrypt files and check the quality of the recording. The drive connects to the PC via a USB 3.0 Type-A interface: maximum write speed is 12x for BD-R, 16x for DVD-R and 40x for CD-R.

Storing data for a century is certainly not cheap: Pioneer BDR-WX01DM is priced at ¥59,800 (about 420 euros), while a pack of three 25GB IPS-BD11J03P BD-Rs retails for ¥2,340 (€16.44) . However, both the drive and the media are primarily intended for use by government agencies and individuals interested in long-term data retention, which makes the price appropriate for their needs. In addition, DM for Archive disks must be stored in special environments to ensure their security, which incurs additional costs. It is recommended that the facilities are located in earthquake-resistant buildings equipped with fire-fighting equipment, and that the discs are stored at a temperature between 10°C and 25°C with a humidity between 40% and 60%.

Although the realization of BD-R destined to last at least 100 years represents an important achievement, it is legitimate to wonder if someone will still produce optical disc drives in more than a century and if there will still be PCs able to connect to them.