CES 2019, Part 3

While large 8K displays, 4K with HDR and the odd intelligent toilet seemed to capture all the attention at CES, if you took the time you could find something special.

To capture footage for 8K and 4K that can be displayed in HDR, cinematographers often shoot in raw. (Shooting with log works, too.) Those raw files can take up a lot of hard drive space. I repeat: a lot of hard drive space. Fortunately, there’s some good news on that front.

I stopped by a special Seagate display to see their new HAMR technology. HAMR stands for Heat-Assisted Magnetic Recording, which increases the amount of data that can be stored on a hard drive. By using a laser to heat up a redesigned recording medium, the system allows for higher-density recording.

When you hear “laser,” you may be reminded of DVDs or Blu-ray, but this technology isn’t the same. I asked Seagate if HAMR was as big a breakthrough as the perpendicular recording that was first commercially available in 2005, tripling the capacity of current drives. Their answer was a resounding yes!

Drives are expected to start at greater than 20 terabytes in the same form factor as current drives. Read/write performance should be improved. The rest of the drive’s design and its manufacturing process are similar to current drives, so this technology isn’t years away. In fact, test drives were shipped last year.

20+ TB drives are expected to ship this year, with 40 TB drives expected in 2023. Price hasn’t been disclosed although it seemed like the cost per terabyte would be close to current drives. While these drives may be geared toward data centers, I hope they may be a good fit for video RAID use.

8K, 4K, HDR and HAMR. Just a few of the acronyms that made up CES 2019.

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