As technology advances, the supply and demand of large audio and video files is increasing. Portable music and video players, digital home entertainment systems, cameras and even cell phones all require memory now for the storage of this digital media. The wide variety of media storage devices available makes choosing the best option difficult. Some devices, such as microSD cards, are designed for optimal portability, while others maximise storage space.
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USB Flash Drives
USB drives, also known as flash drives, are a popular choice for digital media storage if compatibility and portability are important to you. USB drives are usually capable of holding between 1 GB and 32 GB, as of 2011. One gigabyte is roughly enough storage space for 300 songs or an hour of digital video. Most computers have USB ports, so the drives are handy for file transfers and home or office usage.
Many cameras and cell phones use SD memory cards to store digital media files. SD cards are small, thin and capable of holding over 2GB of information. Many home and commercial printers even have SD slots for the quick and convenient printing of pictures. MicroSD cards are about a quarter the size of regular SD cards, so they can be installed in even smaller devices. MicroSD cards often come with SD converters that allow their use in SD card slots.
External Hard Drives
External hard drives offer massive storage potential, often containing upwards of 500 GB of file storage space. Digital media that is intended to be played on televisions or home entertainment systems may be best suited for an external hard drive. Newer hard drives connect to computers and entertainment systems through USB or FireWire ports. Many external hard drives use solid-state technology, meaning they have no moving parts and are less prone to physical failure than typical internal computer hard drives.
Optical discs may be losing market share to other media storage devices, but they still can be beneficial. DVD-Rs and other writable discs often are cheap enough to be considered disposable and a frequent choice for temporary media storage. Some optical discs, such as the Blu-ray discs, can hold upwards of 16 GB of data and can be read by many computers and stand-alone Blu-ray players.
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