I wish Blu-ray discs were cheaper!

Blu-ray burners at $1,000 each isn't as bad as playing $1/1GB for media.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

Having a backup gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling inside, and there's no better backup in my mind than one where I burn my data onto a disc, and verify that the new disc I've created is readable before popping it into the safety of the fire safe.  This is what I like about DVD.  Yes, the storage capacity isn't much given the volume of data that I have, but I can get all my important stuff onto the disc and then lock it away safe.

Given that I have a lot of data to back up, I think that I'm slowly getting to the point where I'd be Blu-ray media currently retails at about $1 per GB, and the difference in price between write-once and re-recordable isn't that greathappy to pay close to $1,000 for a Blu-ray burner.  OK, I wouldn't feel too good about spending that kind of money, but at least I could put it down as money well spent.

Problem is, while I'm mostly sold on the idea of a Blu-ray burner (I'd still try not to look at the price too much and probably close my eyes when I clicked the "buy" button), no matter how hard I try to convince myself I just can't seem to accept the price of the media.  Blu-ray media currently retails at about $1 per GB, and the difference in price between write-once and re-recordable isn't that great.  $1 a GB is a high price to pay for storage, and it's cheaper to simply buy hard drives and a removable bay or an external enclosures and use these.  Blu-ray discs media might have a low error-rate and might be good for thousands of rewrites, but at those prices, I think I'd prefer to trust a hard drive.  Hard drives take up more space than a disc (although not all that much if you store discs in a jewel case) but while the media prices are so high, that wipes out any potential benefits that Blu-ray offers me.

Primera Bravo XR-Blu
There's no doubt that Blu-ray is taking off and that manufacturers are positioning themselves to take advantage of it - take a look at the Bravo XR-Blu from Primera - this is a $5,000 system that allows automated backups to be made using Blu-ray media, just load in 50 blank discs and (that's over $1200 worth of 25GB Blu-ray discs!) and it does the rest.  For companies with a lot of money to spend on a backup solution, then there are going to be some good solutions that come out, but I think that that little guy is going to have to wait a while.  However, that said , if I were willing to spend the money necessary to go down the Blu-ray road, I'd want to do a lot of testing to see just how reliable the media currently is, and how broad the compatible the burned media is with other drives on the market - no point spending money on a fancy, unproven, backup scheme only to find it's unreliable.

I think that the "little guys" (me included) are going to have to wait a year or two before Blu-ray becomes a viable solution for home/SOHO backups.  I think that we're going to need to see drive prices fall to sub-$200 and media that costs around $1 for 2-3GB before it gains any serious traction over recordable DVD (it will be really nice when 200GB Blu-ray media ends up costing around $20).  By which time the drive write speeds will have increased and hopefully any reliability issues will also have been cleared up.

Anyone out there outside of a large company considering making the jump to Blu-ray yet?  If so, what factors influence your decisions?  What features make the technology worth the cost for you?

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