Today I got my brand-new 1-terabyte (1,000 gigabyte) external hard drive in the mail—bought in order to store and edit the Political Justice footage. I paid about $110 for it, including shipping. I remember a few years ago when I was interning at Channel 10 and they got their first terabyte drive, my boss looked up how much a terabyte would have cost in years gone by. I couldn’t remember those numbers, so out of curiosity, I did a little research and calculated the cost of a terabyte in years past (via Cost of Hard Drive Space):
1989: $12 million
1984: $80 million
1956: $10 billion
Granted, the very idea of a terabyte would have been ludicrous in 1956, when only one magnetic hard disk existed, with a storage capacity of 5 megabytes and a production cost of $10,000 (in 1956 dollars). Still, hypothetically, a terabyte would have cost $10 billion 53 years ago. Inflation-adjusted, that’s $78.4 trillion—enough to pay for the federal bailout more than six times over.
And now I’ve got two of ’em in my living room.