Where we have been and where we are going
Well let’s start at the beginning. First there were floppy disks which had a capacity ranging from 160 kb to 1.2mb, followed shortly by stiffy disks which held more than double the data of a floppy – a whopping 2.8mb.
CDs were the next exciting innovation which could hold an incredible 700mb. In 1997 DVDs came out and their capacity was more than six times that of a CD – a massive 4.7Gb. When DVDs first came out, they cost in the region of R300 each, so an incorrect burn was an expensive mistake, which made rewriteables a godsend.
Just three years later flash drives were developed with the inaugural thumb drive. Flash drives have gone from strength to strength with their size and speed increasing exponentially over the years and now can even hold up to 1Tb.
So, if flash drives are a better storage medium, why has it taken 20 years for them to replace DVDs? This is because DVDs could be played in a DVD player and watched on a TV. That of course all changed with the development of USB ports and smart TVs.
So the question remains, are DVD drives and DVD players becoming obsolete? The short answer is yes. Size is the main reason they have essentially disappeared in modern computers. A CD/DVD drive takes up a lot of space, especially in laptops which are made to be portable devices and where space is of paramount importance. DVD Roms have largely been excluded in favour of reducing size and weight. With streaming services, such as Netflix and ShowMax, DVD players are also no longer required.
The reality is that in the not too distant future, you will not be able to get DVD drives at all. That is why it is really important to get all your DVDs transferred to a flash disk, hard drive or uploaded to a server before all the data or footage is lost forever.