SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Hollywood could ship its first exabyte-sized digital movie to theaters within 10 years. That's one data point from a new report on the growing need for digital storage in the entertainment industry.
Today's stereoscopic digital movies shown at 4K resolution can require several petabytes of storage. Some studios have movies in production at 8K resolutions, Tom Coughlin, founder of the data storage consulting firm Coughlin Associates, wrote in the "The 2013 Digital Storage for Media and Entertainment Report."
"Activity to create capture and display devices for 8K X 4K content is occurring with planned implementation in common media systems by the next decade," the report said. "The development of 4K TV and other high resolution venues in the home and in mobile devices will drive the demand for digital content especially enabled by HEVC (H.265) compression." (See: Will Your UHDTV Chip Decode Every HEVC Bit Stream?)
The report forecasts a 5.8-fold increase in digital storage capacity requirements for the entertainment industry between 2013 and 2018. In that time, storage capacity shipped will rise 3.8-fold to 102,661PB per year. Total media and entertainment storage revenue will grow more than 90 percent to $11.9 billion.
Hard drives continue to dominate digital Hollywood, the report said. In 2013, HDDs made up 43.9 percent of the total storage media capacity shipped for the digital entertainment industry. That figure will grow to 60 percent by 2018.
Hard drive storage is on the rise in entertainment.
Hard drives are increasingly used for archiving digital content. The report says 61 percent of archived content will be in so-called near-line storage using HDDs by 2018, versus 43 percent in 2013. More than 99 exabytes of digital storage will be used for digital archiving and content conversion and preservation by 2018.
Growth in local near-line storage will drive hard drive use.
Digital tape's share of the digital entertainment storage market will thrink from 42.3 percent in 2013 to 37.1 percent in 2018. Optical disks' share will plummet from 13.6 to 1.6 percent, while flash's share will remain constant at 0.3 percent.
In professional video cameras, flash memory appears to be reaching a tipping point, "with survey results showing about 59% utilization in 2013," Coughlin wrote. Flash memory is also playing a role in content distribution and post-production, and "storage in remote 'clouds' is beginning to play an important role in enabling collaborative workflows."