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High def in entertainment will mean a 7X data storage increase

SSD use is on the rise, but mainly for portable video systems

As image resolution increases and 3D video becomes a more common format, digital data storage requirements for the entertainment industry are predicted to grow quickly over the next five years.

According to a new report from IT consultancy Coughlin Associates ( download PDF ), the creation, distribution and conversion of video content is creating a market for storage device manufacturers.

The 159-page report was compiled from information provided by industry end users and vendors, as well as a survey of members of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, an international standards organization for the motion-imaging field.

The report said that storage systems sales for the entertainment and media industry will grow from $3.8 billion this year to $6.4 billion through 2016.

Active archiving of digital video content is driving increased use of hard drives instead of tape drives for long term archives, the report states. Flash memory will also find wider use in cameras and content distribution.

About 57% of the total storage capacity will be used for content archiving and preservation in 2011. "We believe that this will increase to 60% of total capacity by 2016 due to more efficient and cost-effective conversion services... (and) lower overall storage costs," the report states.

From 2011 to 2016, the media and entertainment industry will see about a 7.7-fold increase in the required digital storage capacity and a more than five-fold increase in storage capacity shipments per year from 11.2 exabytes to 62.7 exabytes. An exabyte is 1,000 petabytes or one million terabytes.

This year, Coughlin estimated that about 43.6% of the total storage media shipped for all the digital entertainment content segments will be tape; about 39.1% will be hard disk drives, 17.1% for optical and 0.2% for flash memory (mostly in digital cameras and some media distribution servers).

Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed . His e-mail address is lmearian@computerworld.com .

Read more about storage in Computerworld's Storage Topic Center.


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