Optical disc

Updated: 04/12/2021 by Computer Hope
Blu-ray blue laser

Alternatively referred to as a disc drive, optical media, optical storage, Optical disc drive, and optical disk, an optical disc is any media read using a laser assembly. The most common types of optical media are Blu-ray, CDs, and DVDs. Computers can read and write to CDs and DVDs using a CD writer or DVD writer drive, and a Blu-ray is read with a Blu-ray drive. Drives such as a CD-R and DVD-R drive that read and write information to discs are known as MO (magneto-optic).

There are three main types of optical media: CD, DVD, and Blu-ray disc. CDs can store up to 700 MB (megabytes) of data, and DVDs can store up to 8.4 GB (gigabytes) of data. Blu-ray discs, which are the newest type of optical media, can store up to 50 GB of data. This storage capacity is a clear advantage over the floppy disk storage media (a magnetic media), which only has a capacity of 1.44 MB. Another advantage that optical media have over the floppy disk is that it can last up to seven times longer due to its improved durability.

Note

A CD drive can only read CDs, a DVD drive can only read DVDs and CDs, and a Blu-ray drive can read CDs, DVDs, and Blu-ray discs. In other words, newer drives can read older optical discs, but older drives cannot read newer optical discs.

Tip

Because these discs are read by light (optical), they should be referred to as an optical disc, not an optical disk.

What optical disc can hold the most?

Blu-ray discs are capable of holding the most and can hold up to 50 GB of data. BD-R (Blu-ray recordable) are most often available in sizes as either 25 GB or 50 GB.

Why is optical media not as popular today?

With the popularity of streaming content and downloading content from the Internet, the popularity of all optical media has greatly reduced. Also, the reduced price of USB flash drives that store a lot more data have made optical media a less popular storage solution.

CD terms, Disc, Magnetic media, Magneto-optic