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The cheapest Blu-ray BD-R disc per Gigabyte underlines why optical storage is dying out

(Image credit: PlexDisc)

Blank Blu-ray discs have had their heyday and unlike tape, it is unlikely that they will survive the rapid drop in price of solid state drives and hard disk drives as both media close the gap between optical and magnetic/silicon-based technologies.

The cheapest 25GB BD-R right now costs $20.95 for a 50-disc spindle (PlexDisc 633-214); that’s about $0.42 per disc or $16.76 per TB. 

In comparison, a 12TB Seagate Exos hard disk drive has a price of $24 per TB while a Quantum LTO-7 tape, reformatted as an M8 media, costs as little as $6.42 per TB.

PlexDisc 25GB Blank BD-R disc - $20.95 for 50 at BHphotovideo.com 

Optical discs, as a medium, might not be around for long but, for those who trust it, PlexDisc seems to be one of the few offering great value for money. Your mileage will vary based on your individual circumstances, but anecdotal evidence suggests it is a reliable brand. In addition, at $20.95 for 1.25TB, it is one of the cheapest recordable media on the market.

Storing conditions for recordable discs can be a bit of an issue, especially if you plan to store more than one Terabyte, although cloud storage services can mitigate that risk. Quality control can also be an issue, although based on feedback from Amazon most blank media brands seem to have their fair share of issues.

The other problem is the sheer volume occupied by a spindle of say, 100 discs, which accounts for 2.5TB of data and weighs 1.6Kg. Sure you can get 50GB BD-R, but they are more expensive; plans by Sony and Panasonic to develop a 300GB optical disc to replace Blu-ray seem to have gone nowhere near mainstream.

So for now, unless you have under 100GB of data to store or transfer, you might be better off with a cheap USB drive (that doesn’t require a separate reader), a cheap external hard disk drive or a tape.

  • You will need a cloud backup service to keep all your precious data safe